He plucked his furry brown (rat without a tail) out of the cage, held it up and proclaimed it Ninjy. "Because, you know mom, he's brown like a a Ninja."
Child #1 immediately told him Ninjas wear black but Child #2 remained unmoved, the hamster would be Ninjy.
"Let's put him back in the cage so we can talk about the ground rules," I said.
"Here, you can hold him mom," said Child #2 presenting me with a fat squirming rodent.
"No, no, back in the cage," I demurred. Both kids looked at me suspiciously. I could see ideas forming in their brains.
The ground rules were simple.
1. Ninjy needs to be in his plastic hamster ball, cage or in the kid's hands at all times.
2. Child #2 is responsible for cleaning the cage and feeding Ninjy.
3. Don't let Ninjy bounce down the stairs in his plastic hamster ball.
4. Don't lose him.
We are now a week into life with Ninjy.
The highlights include me being chased through the house by two children shrieking, "Baby Ninjy just wants a kiss!"
It has become altogether ordinary to have a hamster running around the kitchen (encased in his plastic ball) while I make breakfast.
Child #1 sings rock-a-bye-Ninjy on a regular basis before depositing him in the Beyblade stadium. It, not surprisingly, didn't take him long to figure out how to scale the 8 inch plastic walls which is a contributing factor to his being lost three times.
The last time was yesterday. He was missing for thirty minutes accompanied by dire warnings about Ninjy's obsession with our air vents from me and lots of tearful remorse from my children.
Child #2 has classified the sound of Ninjy running on his hamster wheel at night as "noise that lets me know I'm not alone in my bedroom." It also lets everyone else know they're not alone in the house.
At this point I still haven't held Ninjy. But just this morning I brought him a hamster treat and held it out on the palm of my hand. He rodented over to the door of his cage and I was brave enough to let him eat the treat out of my hand.
Who knows, maybe by next week I'll have worked up the nerve to pet the tailess little rat. Maybe by next week it won't be nearly as fun to chase me around the house with hamster in hand.