My son: A tender soul when it comes to small animals, bugs and worms.
His mother (aka me): Just trying to get through the day like everyone else.
Flashback to June:
We were returning from a lovely vacation to Ecuador when I made The Big Mistake.
Our flight home had left Quito at 1:00 am, landing in Miami at 5:00 am. We had been on the move for almost 24 hours and still had a three hour drive home ahead of us. I won't go into how we thought the car keys were lost and rented a car that would have to be returned to Miami the next day, driving home through Tropical Storm Bonny or Betty or something and lo and behold finding the car keys that night. Those little gems had nothing to do with how I was NOT Mother of the Year that morning.
We were riding in the shuttle bus that would take us to where our car was parked hoping against hope that the keys had accidentally been left in the car (and if so that the car would even still be there) when I decided to turn on my phone to check for messages.
Ding! A text from the neighbor girl who was taking care of the dogs and the hamster. Without even thinking, I read the text aloud and then I got to this part:
The silence in the bus was palpable. A lovely older woman, the only other passenger, stared at the floor. And then came the first sniffle, the second and third sniffles followed by full on bawling! "My hamster! I loved my hamster! He was my best friend! There will never be another hamster like Stripe!" All interspersed with choking sobs.
Being a silver lining kind of girl, I thought, "Oh well, at least this lady has a good story to tell about the lousy mom and her heart broken kid."
Fast forward to today and hamster no. 2:
No school today. Teacher work day. One of m's chores was to get the hamster cage cleaned out. Unlike Stripe who had no desire to go anywhere and was content in a box, Speedy, has to be put in a hamster ball on a track during cage-cleaning time.
I was minding my own business when I heard, "MOM! Come quick! Something's wrong with Speedy! She was in her ball running in circles and then just collapsed! Her nose is bleeding!" Great. Just friggin great.
"She has to go to the vet RIGHT NOW! She's my only friend! There will NEVER be another hamster like Speedy!"
Needless to say, I was not taking a $2.50 hamster to the vet only to get a $100 vet bill AND I'm pretty sure that our vet does not specialize in dwarf hamsters. My initial reaction was a survival of the fittest approach, but thinking back to hamster no. 1 and how that played out, I knew that that approach would only earn me years of therapy bills for my son. "Your problems are all based in a deep rooted resentment of your mother and her emotional detachment to all things small and fluffy...yada, yada, yada...."
The other problem I had was that my truck was in the shop, again, for the third time, for the same problem, but that's another story and my only mode of transportation for the day was my trustly little red scooter. So....
off we went, headed for the pet store to get a 'professional opinion'. Speedy in her little ball (really a glorified cat toy, if you ask me), wrapped in towels in the seat trunk of my little red scooter, Michael on the back in his skull and cross bones motorcycle helmet, sobbing away, "Hurry Mommy, hurry! She's going to dieeeeeeee!" and me, probably looking a bit like Snively Whiplash grinning maniacally at the absurdity of the whole situation.
"Stroke", said pet store guy. "Chemical reaction to the bedding", said pet store gal. "Looks okay now" continued pet store guy. "Mommy, can I get a rabbit?" said the boy formerly known as my son.
$8.00 worth of new, chemical-free, non-allergenic, organic bedding later, we packed the ball which contained one very happy, now nose-bleed-free hamster back into the seat trunk of little red scooter and you'll never guess what happened next.
It started to rain.