The Inconvenient Hamster Truth – Part II
If you read my blog posts with any loyalty at all, youâll know what this is about. If not, Iâll try to catch you up. This event is still fresh in my mind. Please forgive me if I cry a little.
Last Spring, we bought a hamster for our kids. We named her Penny. We immediately noticed that Penny had serious drinking and anger management issues. The hamster would finish a whole water bottle in one day and would bite anyone who dared to reach in the cage.
Like goldfish, hamsters are not known for their longevity and she died within a month. Not prepared to deal with the death an ornery, but still beloved family member, my husband and I concocted a plan to replace Penny with an identical hamster. If you recall, the plan was a complete success. My kidsâ suspicions about her changed appearance were quickly laid to rest after I told them that our little Penny was just going through a âlife change,â? similar to the one of their teenage cousin.
A few weeks later while I was out of town, my husband took it upon himself to tell the kids the truth about Penny. After a day of handling and mishandling, Penny No. 2 was looking a little dazed and confused. He said they needed to be aware of why we had so many rules to protect our hamster. The news was taken pretty well, especially since Penny No. 2 was more agreeable than Penny No. 1.
Fast forward six months. I tucked the kids in bed and looked in Pennyâs cage on top of the bookcase. Thatâs when I noticed her laying on her side. There was no hope of revival and no question of her fate.
I took the cage down to the kitchen. My husband, who I refer to as Secret Agent Man, had left town earlier that day. I was going to have to face this alone. I didnât even consider doing the âPenny Switcherooâ? again. I gathered my kids in my bedroom and told them the news.
They immediately ran downstairs to the kitchen to look death in the eye for themselves. There wasnât really much I had to say or do. Impressively, their coping mechanisms immediately took over.
Mini Me, my 6 year old daughter, became âThe Mourner.â? She shed a few quiet tears for her beloved hamster. I think knowing of the death of the previous hamster prepared her for the inevitability of this one. But, we are still not allowed to say Pennyâs name out loud. That makes the tears well up again.
Boy No. 1, one of my 8 year old twins, became âThe Informer.â? He told me that he thought it would be a good idea if he broke the news to Dad. He called Secret Agent Man the next day. He started off the same way I had told them, âDad, I have some bad newsâ¦.â?
Boy No. 2, my other twin, was the one I appreciated most of all. He became âThe Undertaker.â? I didnât even have to ask – he offered to pick up the body. I prepared a small box full of toilet paper (we all agreed that is what Penny would have wanted) and he carefully lifted her already hardening body and delicately laid her in the box. I taped it shut. Then my son lovingly wrote on the outside of the box, âOur Dear Hamster.â?
(Tears and sniffles.)
My children handled the death and funeral arrangements of their beloved pet with bravery and dignity beyond their years. If their career goals of CIA operative, professional soccer player, and mother donât work out, maybe they can get jobs at the mortuary.