Always ask for hamsters when Mum is weak

So the toddlers have been on a campaign. Mostly to get a dog. This is where the clever part happens. They lie quietly in wait. See their opportunity and strike. We’ve explained to them that a dog can’t happen right now. It’s not fair on anyone for a big furry to join us. I’d love a dog, but not until the kids (even the bump!) are at school. I’m a realist, for once, and realise that I’d be the one caring for it and walking several times a day, once their enthusiasm had long gone. With 3 kids under 5, I don’t believe that to be realistic for any of us. A hamster, on the other hand, is not quite so taxing and relatives don’t mind babysitting quite so much when the pet won’t chew their carpet (unless she escapes!).

So, yesterday, I made the rookie decision to allow us to go to the pet shop, after the sickness bug had subsided. The boys campaigned pretty hard, even though the eldest was sad that “pet-shops didn’t sell dogs”. We decided to adopt a gorgeous little grey and white syrian hamster, who has been christened Sophie by the eldest even thought that’s what husband wanted to call bump

I’ve had to oil her wheel and there was much excitement last night, when she ventured out of her (already chewed) temporary house from the pet shop. It takes me back to being a kid myself.

I remember once, I’d brought a friend from school home to meet my hamster, Eva. Sadly, after being with us quite a long time, the Eva the hamster chose that very day to pass away to the hamster wheel of the sky. Myself, aged about 8, was devastated. A very helpful Uncle told me she was just hibernating. Unfortunately for him, we had already buried her under a tree in the big garden. Much to my parents’ alarm, I then wanted to perform an exhumation. It led to some important conversations about death.

I think that having a creature to see, care for and understand its life cycle is good for children. Even though it will be me cleaning her tray and looking after her. The kid in me can’t wait.



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