Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Alternative to Muskrat Love
Not every weekend in The Big Apple involves carriage rides around the park or a trip to the museum. Sometimes it's about finding the easiest way to fill the time between Breakfast and Cocktail Hour...you know... that long stretch of about Four Hours. This explains why, instead of schlepping The Spawn to The Bronx Zoo this weekend-we decided to spend two hours in PetCo. It is a veritable Animal Kingdom there-a great place to see kittens, birds, fish and of course....HAMSTERS.
In the eighties, I made the mistake of getting two hamsters for my Kindergarten classroom. We came in to class one morning to a litter of tiny, pink, hairless babies. That same day, while the children were at recess, the Daddy Hamster beheaded and devoured the entire brood. Try explaining that to twenty innocent five year olds. The Fathers were unusually cold to me that year during Parent Teacher conferences.
Last year, CBoy's teacher asked for a dwarf hamster, which we volunteered to provide. PetCo was all out of the tiny hamsters the day we went--so we decided to buy a Big Ass Hamster instead. This did not thrill Ms. Mathews, who had wanted a hamster of the dwarf variety because their temperament is known to be gentle and friendly, whereas Big Ass Hamsters can sometimes be aggressive. She expressed her trepidation as the children gathered around the glass aquarium, pushing each other and craning their necks to get a view of the new pet in their classroom. In an attempt to allay her fears, I confidently lifted the screen top of the cage and reached down to stroke the creature.
"See?" I said, running my finger over his furry back, "He's as gentle as can be."
And at that moment, Big Ass Hamster turned and bit my index finger DOWN TO THE BONE and blood splattered and splurted against the glass in the aquarium and I began to shake my hand violently to get the Big Ass Hamster to let go, and while the children screamed and blood flew everywhere I began to beat the Big Ass Hamster's head against the side of the cage to get it to release it's teeth from my finger.
When it finally let me go, it took an entire box of Sponge Bob Bandaids to contain the bleeding.
Spooky, as Big Ass Hamster came to be known, eventually outgrew his violent tendencies and settled down to classroom life-gorging himself on carrot and apple sticks and sleeping the day away. He came home with us over Christmas break, and when Sexyhusbandomine placed him in the plastic ball so he could run around, I swear I didn't kick it. Not. Even. Once.