The responses I got led me to believe we were not cut out for life with fuzzy creatures. Best stick to fish and frogs. But then the frogs and fish died and I was staring down the muzzle of Child #2's eighth birthday trying to come up with a creative gift that didn't involve batteries or screen time.
"Maybe we should get him a hamster," I told my husband.
"I thought you said hamsters were cannabilistic rodents," he said.
"I know, but we'll just get one so we can avoid the whole cannibal thing."
He told me to go to the pet store and make sure that I was really okay with having a hamster, which I did. They were cute little furry blondish creatures. Despite my abject fear of all rodents I thought, maybe, just maybe, a hamster would work.
The night before Child #2's birthday my husband was dispatched to the pet store and returned an hour later with all things necessary to hamster life.
We put together the cage. I inspected the little plastic ball and food dish. The hamster was still in a cardboard carton, scrabbling around as we slid the pieces of metal together and filled the bottom with hamster shavings.
"Wanna see him?" he asked me. I nodded and he opened up the box to display this:
"What is that!?!" I said. "It looks like a rat."
My husband looked at me, a little offended. "It's a teddy bear hamster, exactly what you told me to get."
"It's just so brown and ratlike."
My husband rolled his eyes and deposited our ratlike hamster into his new cage where he proceeded to rear up on his back legs, wrinkle up his ratlike nose and wave his ratlike little paw/claws in the air.
We set the hamster on the kid's art table and for the next two hours while I worked and my husband watched T.V. the hamster ran on his little wheel.
That night before I went to bed I double checked the hamster's cage to make sure he was locked in tight. It might seem like overkill but the idea of a ratlike hamster running wild in the house was enough to give me nightmares.
In the morning the hamster had proven not to be Harry Houdini and Child #2 was delighted...really delighted, which has led to it's own set of unforeseen complications.
Hope you can stop by on Wednesday to read part deux of The Hamster Diaries.