Monday, June 30, 2008

Runaway Rodent

One day Genevieve went over to a friend's house after school. When I picked her up she was very subdued (usually she's screaming and giggling "no, I don't want to go"). She looked very worried as she said, "Mom, we need to talk about something."
We say our goodbyes, go out to the car, and get ready for the big talk. Then she burst out, "Mom, can I have a hamster?!! I really, really want one! PLEASE!"
Apparently Sydney had a hamster, and all of a sudden, Genevieve's life would not be complete another minute without one. John and I said we would have to think about it. So for the next three weeks we were deluged with requests for a hamster, both direct and subtle.
For example:
"I wish I were Sydney." Why? "She has a dog and a hamster and two kittens and a trampoline."
"You know Dad, I hear hamsters are a lot of fun to have around the house."
"Mom, can I have a cat for my birthday?" No, we already have a cat, and I don't think she'd be happy if we got another one. "You're right, a cat would be a lot of work and take a long time to learn the rules. So you can get me a hamster instead."
Anyway, we did end up getting a teddy bear hamster for Genevieve's birthday. She immediately named it Princess, and has been enjoying her new pet ever since.

She loves taking it out of its cage. I keep telling her that if it's ever out of her cage, she needs to keep her bedroom door closed. And that the cat needs to be kept away. Of course, she lost her in her room a couple of times and panicked, but she wasn't too hard to find. Until yesterday.

Yesterday she was playing in her room (with the door open). I was in my bedroom and could hear her chattering away to the hamster, playing some kind of game. Then I heard a lot of banging around, and a few minutes later she came into my room in tears. Apparently she had put the hamster in the doll crib, thinking she was safe there, but Princess immediately climbed out and ran away. So we started searching. Tore the room apart. Moved furniture, picked up a hundred stuffed animals, searched through her dresser drawers. No hamster. Since the door was open, it could be anywhere by now! Could she have gone downstairs? Could she have gone up the steps to my bedroom? My house is too freakin' cluttered!!! So we put out bait (carrots), closed the door and went away. The whole time Genevieve was beside herself, sobbing. "She's lost, she's gone." I'm sure she'll show up eventually. "I'm never going to see her again!" Yes you will. She didn't disappear into thin air. "Yes, she did!" She's got to be in the house somewhere. "It's all my fault! I can't be trusted" I kind of agree with you there, but I hope you learned a lesson. "You should punish me." I think you punished yourself.

When we came home several hours later, no carrots were missing. Bad sign. Finally she had to go to bed without finding her (still crying). But I told her to listen for munching and scratching noises in the night. Eventually John came home and helped search again. He found her under a ton of junk in the closet! Thank goodness! I tried to wake up Genevieve to tell her the good news, but she was out cold. This morning when she woke up she came running in to tell me that the carrots were gone (I had moved them into the cage, of course). She was so thrilled when I explained, that she jumped on John (who was sleeping) and gave him a big kiss. My happy kid is back. Let's not go through that again!

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