Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Holy Small Rodent Batman!

I don't want a pet. I don't, I don't, I don't!! I have cleaned up enough poop to last a lifetime. I have no desire to add a smelly animal to our household. No desire, I tell you!

Yet, it seems I can avoid it no longer.

Of course I can avoid it! What am I saying? I'm the Mom for crying out loud. "Because I said so" is the trump card I guard carefully and use sparingly. I don't have to have an animal in the house if I don't want one.

Unfortunately, in a moment of weakness, I told Ethan that if he did a report on hamsters and kept his room clean for 2 weeks, he could get a hamster. What in the world was I thinking? Maybe that there was no way he could possibly keep his room clean? For someone who loves basketball, he can't seem to "shoot" a single dirty sock into the laundry basket.

So, here it is, 2 weeks later. Ethan has been marginally effective keeping his room clean and I suppose I need to keep my end of this totally crappy bargain. And when I say crappy, I mean I am sick and tired of cleaning up poop!

Ethan jumped off the bus today after school and asked if we could go to the pet store to get his hamster. I told him I would take him the minute he finished his homework. I'm not going to say anything to him, but it seems like he's been distracted and isn't doing his homework at the moment.

Maybe, just maybe, I can put this hamster nightmare off for one more day.


Catherine said...

Oh no. Good luck with the hamster. I hope it doesn't get lost in the laundry.

Marah said...

My kids have been begging for pets. Of course I don't want one. I am caring for children. I don't need something else to take care of. I put them off for a long time, citing the effort and expense animals are and how I had enough to be doing without taking in an animal. Oh, they promised to take care of it, but I didn't believe that for one second. So I finally made the fateful deal: they needed to show me they could handle responsibility by doing all their jobs for 2 months, without reminders. Well, Tamra did it.

So I tried a new strategy: pets come in varying levels of maintenance: fish are at the bottom of the maintenance register, next reptiles, then rodents, cats, and dogs at the top of the list. So Tamra had to show me she could take care of a fish for 2 months. She got a beta fish for Christmas--she had lucky timing. Well, Tamra did it.

So, moving up the pet maintenance list, we had to take care of a reptile. Now, at this point, I had some thinking to do. Did I want to HAVE a reptile in the house? Snakes are most definitely out, and turtles and frogs would have required a financial output greater than I was willing to...ah...put out. So after talking this over with a neighbor, I decided that rodents aren't really THAT much more work than reptiles, and they're actually cute and fuzzy and can hold them. So I decided to skip over reptiles. Now we had to pick a rodent. None, of course, seemed so great that I would actually want one in the house, and there was the financial output thing.

About this time, a family we met on one of our kids' t-ball teams was getting rid of their hamster. They were willing to give me everything, all equipment, nesting material & food for a month, and a complete rundown on how to take care of the thing, including how to catch it when it escaped. Tamra's birthday was coming up, and yet I still agonized over whether to take the hamster into our home. I decided to do it, with strict instructions that Tamra was financially responsible for food, nesting material, toys--everything.

So, Tamra did it. She completely takes care of the hamster, pays for its food and nesting material, changes the cage every week without reminders--everything.

Now she wants a cat.

Afton said...

Oh Marah! Do you still have the beta and the hamster? At least cats bury their waste and wash themselves. But still, the hair!

Marah said...

...and the claws, the litter box, the bigger food bill, the hairballs, the shots...

I did think about it, and Tara Whitehead almost had me convinced it wouldn't be too bad if it was an indoor cat. But Myles put down his builder's foot. There will be no cat.

But in the spirit of positive parenting, we said she can have a cat...when she is 21. (Don't say no when you can say yes to something else.)

However, Tamra brought home a book all about cats from the school library. She read it to me today while we were driving around town.

Seven months ago she brought home several rodent books. And read them to me. (Unfortunately we didn't get one about guinea pigs back to the library, and we now owe 23.95 for it.) I have to say that her doggedness helped her get her hamster.

But I must be strong!

Afton said...

There is a lot to be said for a nice firm"builder's foot." Stay strong. Would she like a "Fur Real Friend?" How about starting a pet sitting business where she goes to other people's homes while they are on vacation and plays with their pets for 30 minutes and feeds them and goes home. A good way to get a pet fix maybe?