My last fall weekend, before my house was introduced to the little mouse-look-a-likes, aka hamsters. My ex husband had our daughters, Michelle (5) and Kimberley (7), for the weekend. They wanted hamsters, and they got hamsters. For MY house. Without my knowledge. They came with cages, water bottles, shavings, and nightmares (for me haha). When they walked in, panic set in from head to toe, which is being relived as I write this. I am petrified of mice and as far as I am concerned, hamsters are mice without tails. My girls were so happy and excited – as a mom, I had to put my fear and uncomfortable feelings aside for their happiness – to their faces, at least. When they went to bed, I called their father and told him he should have checked with me, and this would not happen again…
That evening, my now husband, Greg, came over to visit us and the girls were quick to show him their new furry pets. I could see the love my girls had for these hairy monsters, and knew from the joy it brought them (that I could see from the distance I kept while they were being showcased), that I could get through this. Somehow.
The next day was Monday, and our morning routine continued as usual. I would get up before the kids, so I had some time to myself and could start to get ready for work before I helped them get ready for school and daycare. I took a nice shower, and as I stepped out, this 2-foot long terror of a beast ran right in front of my feet at turbo speed! (this might be a slight exaggeration on size, MIGHT be). I screamed, and everyone was up. They say the animals are more scared of us humans, but I beg to differ. It ran into my closet and I immediately went into my older daughter’s room to see how this thing escaped the confine of it’s cage. Nope. Her hamster was fast asleep. I go into my second daughter’s room, what do I see? The cage wide open!
Let me set the stage so you understand the set up. The cage had a hard plastic bottom that was the base, and a click-in top, which was a complete wire cage, with the opening on the very top. I was thinking, Michelle forgot to latch the cage door shut, first night with her pet, and she is only 5. Innocent mistake. The girls located the hamster before we left the house and put it back in its cage, as I was not about to look for, catch, or touch that thing. And if you thought I forgot to double check the cage door that night before bed, you are wrong. I checked and checked that night.
The next morning I woke to the very same surprise of this furry thing my daughter was so in love with, running across my feet again! I woke up Michelle and she rescued the hamster, again. After a couple more near-heart attacks in the morning with a hamster running loose (probably trying to kill me!), I decided to try and figure out a way to explain to my five year old that this fur ball was freaking me out. I talked to my young daughter and told her that Mommy doesn’t really like hamsters and that she would need to make sure the cage was latched at night so it would not get out. This cute little 5 year old looks up at me and says; “but mommy, how can my hamster breathe if I close the cage door?” She then proceeds to tell me how each night after her and I would say our good nights, she would open the cage top so her hamster could breathe during the night! After assuring Michelle that the hamster could breathe through the bars on the cage, this was no longer an issue, although her cuteness was almost the death of me.
Fast forward to just after Christmas, and Greg was now living with us. Morning routine had not changed, and after getting ready in the morning, it was off to the daycare/work/school. Kimberley and Michelle had gotten over sized teddy bears for Christmas with cute little scarves that matched the hats they wore, and Michelle wanted to bring hers to daycare which I had no problem with until… a phone call came in from the daycare. What do you think Michelle snuck into daycare underneath the teddy bear’s cute little hat? Something the daycare thought I was going to come and PICK UP with my BARE HANDS?? Her hamster!! I didn’t even try to leave work, nope. I called Greg, thank God for him, and told him I couldn’t leave work and that he needed to go collect the fur ball from the daycare and bring it home. *Cringe*
We moved that summer, and as usual, Kimberley and Michelle went to Saskatchewan to visit their grandparents, aunt and uncle from their dad’s side of the family, for a full two weeks. I am not sure if the hamster’s died of loneliness because they weren’t held, or from the big move, but a couple days after the girls left, both hamsters passed away, of natural causes, within 2 days of each other. I still have not convinced my adult daughters that I did not have them done away with while they were on vacation, but I’ll own that. I wasn’t upset that they were gone. Sad for the kids that their rodent friends that brought them joy and happiness every single day were gone, but I did think: RIP hamsters. You will forever be in my thoughts/nightmares. And we got a dog. Michelle hates mice, too and also now relates hamsters to the same family. Guess what has crossed my mind several times to get her two daughters for Christmas… Muahaha (evil laugh)