Friday 27 January 2012

Animal Magic

There have been some more changes.

We have a hamster now. Bubbles. My daughter had been asking for one for a while. I’d been saying no for a while. But in the end I gave in on her birthday. Since she doesn’t have a brother or sister I realised it would be a good thing for her to have a pet to care for. I smuggled a cage into the house in a rubbish bag, then wood shavings, feed, water bottle. Then Bubbles, the night before her birthday.

The next day, when she’d unwrapped the cage and hugged me and said through the smiles that it was the best present she’d ever had, the questions started.
‘What does he eat?’
‘A seed mix,’ I replied, pointing to an as-yet-unwrapped present.
‘How long will he live?’
‘Oh, not that long,’ I told her out of a desire to soften the shock of his eventual death. ‘Just a couple of years probably.’
‘Oh,’ she said, looking thoughtful. ‘And daddy...’
‘Where does he poo?’
I smiled. ‘In the cage. We’ll have to clean it out – you’ll have to clean it out.’
She looked up at me, her nose wrinkled in disgust.

It’s three months later and she does clean the cage now, wearing a clothes-peg on her nose to keep out the smell.
We are at the breakfast table eating cornflakes and she’s telling me about a poem she has written at school.
'What would you say if you were writing a poem about Bubbles?' I ask.
She thinks for a moment. ‘I’d say that every morning when I come downstairs and see him, my heart fills with happiness…’ she says, smiling, ‘… because he’s not dead yet.’
I choke on my spoonful of cornflakes and start laughing.
‘What daddy?’ she asks and I learn something more about the mind of a child.


Paul Toscano said...

Brilliant. I enjoyed that piece. Being a stay at home Dad myself, I can appreciate your writing.

Paul Toscano said...

Brilliant. I can appreciate what you write about as I am a stay at home Dad as well. It makes me think I should get back to writing my blog.

Stay at home dad said...

Thanks Paul. Looks like you're having the time of your life, btw!


Livvy U. said...

Hello again. Yes, we went through the hamster dying thing. It was when the Bim and I were separating - it could even have been the day he moved out - and we just couldn't put her through that as well, so to this day she thinks Molly got out of her cage and made a run for it... Sometimes, just sometimes, you have to bend the truth. x

Elsie Button said...

hellooooo! indeed,the mind of a child - truly fabulous

Stay at home dad said...

Hi Livvy. Good grief, What timing... interesting question though, is an escaped hamster better than a deceased one?!

Hello Elsie. Thanks for dropping by. Yes, the mind of a child. Always under-rated.


Beta mum said...

Our rabbit really did escape and run away - hopefully not into the mouth of a neighbouring dog. We are now left with one guinea pig and 2 children nagging us for a puppy.

Stay at home dad said...

Oh dear, a puppy. Now that realy is a step up. Good luck with that decision.


American in Bath said...

We weren't allowed hamster or anything else that my mother thought might be somewhat like mice. Good to see you writing again.

Stay at home dad said...

Hi and thanks. I see her point, although Bubbles is already getting forgotten about...

Bravery said...

That's awesome. Kids say the funniest things. I am a stay at home dad also and attempting to blog my daily activities. Good Luck. Check out my blog at

Stay at home dad said...

Thanks and good luck with the blog. Will check it out.


Naomi Baltuck said...

Really sweet. Our hamster was named Pandora. When she died my daughter gave the eulogy. After we sang "Hamsters We Have Heard on High," Bea solemnly said, "Mom never knew she could love a rodent. Dad never said so, but he did." Very nice post.

Stay at home dad said...

Thank you Naomi. Aw, that's very sweet. A lovely memory to have.


Ken said...

I am a stay at dad and a blogger. My kids want a puppy, but my wife and I are reluctant. Growing up we had about every type of animal you can think of as pets, but I am just not sure they are ready for a pet, plus some neighbors have lost their pets to coyotes