Wednesday 15 April 2015

Hopeless with hamsters

When I was young I had a weird hamster obsession.  I kept buying them with any spare pocket money I had, knowing full well that I really didn't like them.

They kept dying or escaping, or being rescued by friends, but each time I would come back from town on a Saturday afternoon, proudly wielding my latest rodent replacement, much to my mum's exasperation.

A few weeks ago, desperate to quieten my children about me being 'the worst mum in the whole world' I had a lightbulb moment, and decided we needed a hamster.

So without telling anyone, I went into town on a mission to buy one.  I didn't want my children with me as I wanted the thrill of choosing it myself.  But they didn't have any hamsters for sale in Hereford that day, so I ended up driving to the next town to track one down.

After a nerve-wracking 60 mile round trip, where I was convinced the hamster had broken free from its box and was going to jump on my head and make me crash the car, I arrived home with the newest member of our family. I had such grand plans for our new pet and I was going to try to love it with all my heart.

The children were thrilled on seeing the hamster, and for a while I became the best mum in the world. But then Betty, my eight-year-old, likened it to a mouse, and the first friend who saw it thought it was a rat.  Being a rat/mouse phobic person, my enthusiasm quickly diminished.

Poor old Hetty the hamster has been in residence for six weeks now, and despite some very tense taming sessions in the first few days, which involved heavy duty gardening gloves, Hetty temporarily getting lost under the sofa, and us Buttons all yelling at each other, with half of us ending up in tears, none of us have even attempted to get her out of the cage (apart from when I have to clean the cage, and then she gets poured into a bucket for the duration).

Dolly, my five-year-old, is now completely uninterested in her, and Betty talks to her, and feeds her Shreddies through the bars of the cage when she thinks she's looking a bit sad or upset.  But when an introduction between Pecky (her chicken) and Hetty didn't go well, her interest waned too.

So we now have a Hetty that produces a large amount of poo, and noisily tries to make a bid for freedom every night between 10pm and 2am.  I am sure that one day she will succeed.  And then I'll probably replace her with another one...