Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hamster = Research. Really?

Hams the hamster came into our family on January 31. We all oohed and ahhed over him. Jack, our dog, ignored his existence. I know now that was all an act; we found Jack, front paws posed precariously on the dresser in front of Ham's cage. Luckily we stopped Jack before he could lick the cage open, sending Hams to a certain shaking or swallowing demise.

Originally we bought Hams so that our younger son would feel special and have something of his own to care for. Jack is the entire families, and so are the fish. But J (our youngest son) was feeling a bit out of sorts because of all the time we spend at the hockey rink for N (our older son). Hockey is a whole 'nother post. But back to Hams.

I know nothing about hamsters. They sort of creep me out. But Hams is a Chinese Dwarf hamster, so he's really little and somewhat cute. He does look like a mouse, though. I secretly wonder if the PetSmart people chuckled to themselves as we walked out with this fake mouse and $100 worth of stuff to take care of it. But I digress.

I try to view each new experience as an opportunity for research. Not only am I learning what hamsters are all about (yippea for me), but I'm watching first hand how having this new little thing is changing my nine-year-old's life.

He's suddenly concerned if Hams is eating and drinking enough: "Why do we have to refill the huge water bottle each day, Mom? Hams can't drink all of it." "Quick, Mom, it's time to replace those pellet thingys. My calendar says it's been three days." (sidenote: when we brought Hams home, J filled out each day on his calendar that he had to do something for the hamster. I.e. feeding, changing the bedding, cleaning the cage.)

He thinks the hamster is brain damaged when it drags a bunch of his bedding up to the huge wheel that is supposed to be his source of exercise, and proceeds to sleep in the wheel: "This is the dumbest hamster in the world. We should take him back and get a new one."

Everyone he's met since getting the hamster, my nine-year-old-who-rarely-talks-to-members-of-his-own-extended-family was yaking it up with strangers. J didn't have enough time at our dinner out that night to tell the waitress everything she needed to know about his new hamster.

So I'll look past the stinkiness, the poop pellets racing out of the huge wheel when Hams does decide to use it (maybe he'll sleep there forever, and I won't have to worry about flying poop-we did buy him another small wheel to go inside of the cage), as well as the daily "refreshing" of his bed because this is all research. Someday don't be surprised to read about one of my character's taking care of a hamster. AND, I'll be sure to leave in all the gross and messy things I've learned - because my audience will love it! I know my son does.


Cassy Pickard said...

Kris: I laughed out loud at your description. I can remember well when my older daughter volunteered for us to host the classroom hamster over the Christmas holiday. Okay, I thought, this is community service, right? Well, when I picked my daughter with pet up at school, the teacher took me aside and whispered that since I had been a nurse, all this would be okay. Excuse me? The very old and tired hamster needed "help" in the poop department. So each day of the vacation, I stood in the bathroom "helping" the little guy with his daily business. I confess that was the last hamster we had. Now, another time I'll tell you about the rabbit that lived in our house, but at least my daughter kitty-box trained her.

Congratulations on your blog. Great fun!

Unknown said...

Cassy!! OMGosh! Help the hamster? That's like way above and beyond in my book. I don't think I'll be doing that! If the little guy has a problem - which he is NOT exhibiting at this time (did I mention that before he started snoozing in the big wheel, he'd do his "duty" in there and it would clink-clink-clink every time he spun that wheel?)

You earned top stars that weekend, for sure!

Mary said...

Great blog! I my daughter's family has two hamsters. The kids love them.

At one time we (Papa and Nana) baby sat them, and I believe we had two gold fish (separate bowls, separate grand kids) that week too.

We are so not pet people, and I was very proud I did not kill them (by accident). Just like I kill all plants that enter my home. I'm no longer allowed to have them. Who knew you had to water the dang things more than 'once in a while when they looked droopy'?

Thanks for making me laugh!

Unknown said...

Thanks for stopping by, Mary!

You and your husband are such good grandparents! I'll have to figure out what to do with the hamster now when we're off with hockey tourneys! J suggested we make sure we stay at "pet friendly" hotels. I emphatically told him that Hams would NOT be going along for any vacations. Jack, the dog, doesn't go, so why would Hams? I didn't let him answer because I knew that he'd tell me that Hams's home is mobile. 9yrolds, sheesh!

Cassy Pickard said...

Kris: Remind me sometime to tell you about the time a guinea pig escaped its cage (again a visitor) and lived in our heating ducts for two days. I was so scared I'd have to tell the owners that we'd fried the beast. Hunger saved the day.

Unknown said...

A rabbit and a guinea pig story! Oh my. I will have to definitely remind you tell us all