Sunday, September 27, 2009

Suzie the Hamster Killer

I mentioned in my last post that Eric is putty in his girls' hands and even though I'm sure he doesn't want me sharing this with the whole world, he really is. A few months ago he thought Suzie's hair was long enough for sponge curlers, so he embarked on a Saturday night sponge curler session with her. (Raise your hand if you had these sessions on Saturday nights and got to watch "The Love Boat" and "Fantasy Island" during them like me.) Anyway here is physical proof that despite the hard, crunchy shell, Eric is nothing but soft nougat and caramel inside. (Please excuse the candy references. I'm on a no candy diet for a year and it is starting to mess with me especially with all the Halloween candy in stores since August when I started this blasted bet.)
I had told my parents about this and they didn't believe that Suzie's hair was long enough to be curled. So here is the big reveal:

I know its no "Mufasa" like we use to call my sister's mane of curly hair, but it is leaps and bounds for our Suzie who didn't have any hair to shake a stick at when she turned 2.

Our Suzie has numerous nicknames- Suzie-Q, Suz, Suz-a-phone, Snooz, strawberry,etc. But don't let this sweet, innocent face fool you. Her newest nickname is Suzie the Hamster Killer. The incident wherein she earned this name occured a few months ago but I felt the need to "be accurate. It's for posterity- you know." (Name that movie-one of my favorites) and get it written down. We have to go back to June when Annie had her 8th birthday. She got a good chunk of change from her Grandpa and Grandma Christensen and instead of put it in her college account like I'm sure they wanted her to, she decided to flex her "responsibility" muscles in a different way. She took the first step toward child pet ownership and got a hamster. Finn, already having this charge of pet propriety with a hamster of his own, helped her research online the best kind of cage to get. Then Eric took her to Petsmart and got her a Winter White Dwarf hamster with all the gear- cage, ball, food, bedding, toys and water bottle. I tell ya- pet ownership is no small thing which is why you need the wisdom of 8 years and the funds from the celebration of so many years to even think of taking on this kind of obligation. Annie, along with several "helping hands" in Dad, Finn, Katie, Suzie, Kalian- the neighbor and Summer- the friend, got "Chocolate" all settled in its new home. It was given the name Chocolate because Finn's hamster's name is Chip and they thought the two names went well together and I must say I agree. I won't go into the naming process and the conversations that ensued between Finn, Annie and Katie concerning what to name Annie's hamster. But let's just say Eric and I didn't have as hard a time or as heated a discussion in naming our children as those three had in coming up with a name for a rodent.
So fast forward about 6 weeks, Chocolate is acclimatized to its new environment and Annie finds her new responsiblity is like taking candy from a baby. (Sorry- did I mention it is Fast Sunday AND i'm on a no candy diet.) In her fastidious zeal to take care of her pet she put Chocolate in its ball, blocked off the stairs so it won't fall down them, closed all the doors to all the bedrooms upstairs and starts to clean out its cage. And in my apparent not so fastidious zeal in being a parent at that moment, I pay no attention to the hamster or Suzie during this process. I'm more concerned with Annie not getting bedding all over the counter and floor so I tell her to clean it outside and then I go about doing something else. About ten minutes later Annie comes back in and asks where Chocolate is. I tell her I have no idea. She goes around looking for it. A few minutes later she yells out, "Mom, there's something wrong with Chocolate." Now my girls have been known to be a tinsy bit dramatic so the first yell usually doesn't send me running. She senses my apathy and thrusts the yellow hamster ball in my face. I look inside and what I see is kind of disturbing. Chocolate is flat on its back, little paws and feet sprawled out and breathing quite shallow. Now I'm no doctor or veterinarian but I'm pretty sure Chocolate has suffered some kind of violent event and in the throes of death. I think the poor thing has broken its back and no matter how I try to revive it, it won't move. But it is still alive and breathing which is even more disturbing to me and Annie. She starts to get very emotional. Finn was over at a neighbor's house, but Annie seems to think he can do something so I call him and ask him to come home to check out the hamster. Finn comes in and Annie starts wailing, "Chocolate is going to die!" Now Finn has been a brother to his 3 sisters for 8 years and the first wail doesn't send him running either and he responds quite glibly, "Oh he is not." But then like me, his response changes when he sees Chocolate to "Oh, maybe he is." Since Finn couldn't really do anything we call the other man in our life- Dad. Eric says just to put it back in its cage and he will "take care of it" when he gets home. And what he meant by "take care of it" we are not really sure, but we have all agreed to a "don't ask; don't tell" policy when it comes to the euthanasia of an animal.
In the midst of all this Annie and I are trying to figure out what has happened to cause such trauma to a hamster. It hadn't fallen down the stairs since Annie had blocked them off and Katie assured us that she never picked the ball up. As I'm holding the ball with the lifeless, limp form of Chocolate in it, Suzie come up and innocently says, "I kick it." She tries to take the ball from me and again says, "I kick it." And all the puzzle pieces fall into place. Suzie thought the hamster ball was a soccer ball and had been kicking it around while Annie was cleaning the cage and I was "otherwise engaged." Poor Chocolate was no match to the fastidious zeal of a two year old playing with a ball. Chocolate, may he rest in peace, has been replaced by another Dwarf hamster named "Gus-Gus." And now not only does Annie have fastidious zeal when cleaning out its cage, so does her mother by keeping Suzie the Hamster Killer away from that enticing yellow ball that can move on its own until you kick it as hard as you can against the wall.

14 comments:

Lori said...

My sister "squeezed" our hamster to death when we were kids! Never a dull moment at your house.

Paul said...

Tamilisa had one too. She loved it and played with it, but eventually it lost it's appeal. I remember one day her saying "you know my hampster has been in that same spot for a long time." We opened the cage and poked it. Dead as a doornail. Hard as a rock. Who knows how long it had been dead. After that I've always sworn I would never let me kids have one. Your story only reiterates it!

Thelissa

amberjill said...

I just shared your story with Walter and he is ready to vomit now! I had a pet rat once. I dropped an ice pack on it. After a few days a 'tumor' of sorts showed up on it's head. Once it fell off he died. Poor Snickers! Rodents for pets?? Really? We are so gross!

Julie said...

Fastidious Zeal.....your a big nerd.

youreprettytoo said...

Actually julie- it's "You're a big nerd" and thank you for the compliment! :)

Natalie said...

The Suz was fastidious in her efforts to kill the hamster.

Wood Family said...

reading your blog is like "the dictionary word of the day" for me...
so many words added to my vocab...
fodder, fastidious zeal, and monacher (obviously I can't spell that one cause with each try- spell check tells me I'm wrong- but you know what word I mean)

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

This is hilarious, Kari. I'm almost tempted to report you to PETA, just because you could turn it into a great blog post. :)

Amber Ro said...

Her hair is darling. Finn is also the curler specialist at our house. Emma won't sit still for me while I put them in, but she will for Finn. What a good Dad Eric is to do that!

mama missy said...

A"fastidiously" entertaining blog!

jellykelly said...

Have I told you lately that I love you? You are such a great writer. I heard you tell the story in real life, but then to read it with your wit is even better!

I cannot believe how light her hair has gotten. Do you think it will redden with winter?

I miss you.

Hey, do you know what my word verification is. Hahaha! It's shistgun. Ha.

wendy said...

Super funny. I love reading your blog. You tell a great story. Poor chocolate.

Margie said...

I just love reading about your life. I can't believe Eric could get that many curlers in Suzy's hair. It does look much more blond than I remember. Poor Chocolate...the joy of pet ownership.
Love ya!

Allison said...

Why do we even have hamsters for pets? From the other comments, it appears that it all ends in a torturous death. We found our hamster quivering, black and blue in a corner of the garage. It makes me so sad to think about it. Good luck with Chip and Gus Gus.