March 22, 2016

Hamsters: It's Complicated

March 22, 2016
Every story has a back story.  Every effect has a cause.  Even when it comes to me agreeing to having hamsters.  Yes, me.  I swore that not one more living, pulsating creature would ever enter this house.  But then the mother of all motherhood cons slapped me in the face. Guilt.

It all started on the night before Valentine's Day.  I'll keep this part short.  Let's just say Big Dog was super generous in keeping my beverage cup full at a dinner party on the eve of V-day.  And, let's just say that I may have had a liiiiiiiitle too much to drink.  Oops!  It happens.  But let me tell you this, ...had I known that my generous intake of a tasty beverage would have led to hamsters I would have stuck with the Smart Water.  

(insert pictures of me that I don't have because I deleted ALL of them)

Fast forward to the next morning, Valentine's Day.  There I was laying practically dead in my bed.  Before I could peel an eye open, my daughter came flying in like Cupid to wish me a Happy Valentine's Day, and immediately demanded heart shaped pancakes, candy, and a day much like Christmas morning.  What?  Since when did we celebrate Valentine's Day as a family?  Sorry, Hallmark.  It's harsh, I know.  You see, for me, Valentine's Day is celebrated at school with conversation hearts exchanged between classmates during an over indulgent class party with white table cloths and extravagant centerpieces. Besides, since Big Dog an I tied the knot, Valentine's Day has been a thing of the courtship past. Hence, why I don't break out the Valentine tree and garland.  But that's just me.  Don't judge.  And don't get me started on Easter.  It's complicated.

Back to little the Cupid hovering over my bed.  

Cupid:  "Moooooooom!  Get up!  It's Valentine's Day!  What did you get me?"  
Corpse: (words coming from my Sahara Desert mouth) "Get you?  What do you mean?  Was I supposed to get you something?  Your dad will get you donuts."
Cupid:  "Ugh!  Seriously!?!?  This is the worst Valentine's Day EVER!"

That is just a small summation of the painful conversation I had with Cupid.  She eventually flew off and as the Motrin kicked in my guilt nearly suffocated me.  

Thank goodness for grandparents who believe Valentine's Day is more than class parties.  I rallied and hydrated and proclaimed that TODAY was the DAY we would take the Valentine cash from Grams and Gramps and buy a pet.  SURPRISE!!!!

We bounced off to the pet store in search of...wait for it...Glow Fish!  But before we could pick out Cupid's favorite three out of a billion candidates,  the disgruntled pet store employee threw down a roadblock and dropped some unsolicited knowledge on me.  In seconds, I was schooled on Glow Fish. Their mortality rate is high, and the meticulous efforts necessary in order for three to survive.  He then went on this rant about corporate America and the lies they tell consumers just to make a buck.  He even started to wring his fists and turn red in the face.  Long story short,  according Mr. Know It All, I would be crazy and cruel to buy into the conspiracy regarding Glow Fish and the two gallon tank they sold with them (because according to sergeant kick-@$s, a FORTY gallon tank is necessary for THREE tiny fish to survive).  It's complicated.  Obviously.

Wait.  Do you you mean they don't come in purple? It was a brief and tragic realization.
With tears rushing down my childrens' faces I straightened my posture and made a beeline towards the little fury creatures because having a hamster(s) is way cooler than having Glow Fish any day.  My littles agreed.  Before the bitter employee could talk us out of  hamster ownership,  and educate us on how corporate America preys on little children and their parents, using small animals, I had three cages, three hamsters, and $100 worth of hamster accessories plopped down on the counter  and paid for.  And that my friends is how you handle Mommy Valentine Guilt.  You buy hamsters.  When Big Dog looked at me as if I had three heads with ten horns each for doing what I did, I looked at him and said, "It's complicated".  Oh, and then I proceeded to make it all his fault for keeping my beverage cup full the night before.  So there!  Nothing is ever my fault.  Nothing!

Henry proudly named his Teddy Bear hamster "Teddy".  You are shocked I'm sure.  Pure originality (like that one time Susie Grace named one of our goats, "Horney" because it had horns).  If you just peed your pants, I'm sorry.  Aaaaaanywaaaaays, Teddy lasted about, hmmmm, two days.  I found Teddy as stiff and round as a golf ball.  Could it have been because I gave him a bath the day before hoping to cure him of his pasty butt?  I'll let you look up pasty butt on your own.  Apparently it's a real thing.  I mean, it is with chickens.  I won't deny that I gave a chicken a sitz bath to cure its pasty butt.  I sure did.  And it lived.  Yeah.  So whatever. Teddy's cause of death must have been delayed drowning.  It's complicated. 

I have to admit, the blow out looked amazing.

I quickly dashed out to the pet store to get a Teddy replacement before Henry came home from school.  Don't all Teddy Bear Hamsters look the same?  You know, like goldfish?  My friend tried to warn me.  She was right.  The only one they had was a short haired Teddy Bear Hamster.  The plus to that is pasty butt is less common in the short haired breed.  Duh.   I mean, the knowledge is endless.  I told Henry of Teddy's death, he cried and cried and then asked to see the burial sight.  Scuse me?  Right.  Of course.  I buried Teddy at the back of the land under a tree by the pond.  NOT!  Bad mommy. Bad lying mommy!  But it worked.  Wink, wink.

Teddy II before rigamortis set it. 
Teddy II settled in and was dead in two days.  Cause of death: dehydration.  The waterer that came with the cage was faulty.  The poor little fella couldn't get a drink.  No problem.  I replaced the hamster and the waterer and brought home Teddy III.  In no time Teddy III was a stiff golf ball like the others.  Cause of death: constipation.  I'm not lying, I promise, when I tell you that the pet store manager carefully combed his cage in search of poop and discovered that there wasn't any.  That was that.  Constipation evidently plagues fragile little fur balls.  It's complicated.  

This is as sad as it is funny.  But mostly funny.
Teddy IV came home in a sanitized cage, with vitamins in his water, and a seal of health approval from the hamster expert.  Teddy IV was the real deal.  Just kidding.  He died three days later.  By this time I was a cause of death expert when it came to hamsters.  I inspected his cage and saw loose hamster stool, AKA: diarrhea.  Yup.  We basically covered all possible causes of rodent death in four hamster fails and called it quits.   Well, we called it quits on Teddy Bear Hamsters.  Susie Grace and Mason's dwarf hamsters are killin' it on their hamster wheels (did you know hamsters are nocturnal and hamsters wheels are super loud at 3am?) and have stellar gastrointestinal systems.  

I know.  Stop it.  So cute.  But so ridonkulously annoying in the middle of the night. 
There you have it.  And I'm back to my uncompromising rule of ABSOLUTELY no more living, breathing, pulsating creature in this house.  I mean what I say.  Or something like that.  It's complicated. 

How Mason hasn't squeezed the guts out of Rascal is forever beyond me.  
Resources on how to properly care for your hamster and ensure optimal health click here
Or better yet, don't buy hamsters.  Stick with the Glow Fish.