I cleaned the hamster cage last night, which, as I’m sure you can all well imagine, filled me with a warm fuzzy glow of disgust. When we originally got Princess, I carefully explained to little one that she would be required to clean his cage, change his water, and otherwise make his life a happy one. Puddin’ solemnly promised that she would remain forever devoted to this little rodent, frequently reminding me that she adored Princess and would sacrifice her first born if it would contribute to his happiness. Since that time, a strange ailment has descended upon our household. It’s called the “novelty has worn off so now the pet is your problem, Mom” disease, and its plaguing families from all walks of life.
Symptoms of the illness are usually spotted roughly two weeks following the arrival of the pet your child said they’d spontaneously combust without, into your once peaceful and stink-free household. The beginning stages of the malady present as general disinterest in said pet and associated lack of care-taking on your child’s part. Parents usually attempted to combat this disease in the early stages by administering a moderate dose of nagging. Often, this treatment will produce temporary positive results, and despite the unpleasant side effect of rolled eyes and heavy sighs, effectively retards the disease’s full progression. Unfortunately, findings indicate that the positive effects of this particular treatment method are temporary at best, and normally the child will almost always revert back to a non-caring state within minutes of the nagging dose being administered. As the malady progresses, parents will find themselves in the difficult position of having to either clean up after and feed the animal, or allow it to perish from neglect. The final stages of the ailment present as parents fully caring for the animal while the child plays on their game cube. At this point, the disease is in the advanced stages, and unfortunately once the illness has progressed to this level, it is irreversible.
Now, given that I have a firm belief that all animals in my home have the right to proper care, love and attention, I’m unable to simply allow Princess to die due to Puddin’s lack of interest in her. HOWEVER, I’m also not willing to be the sole care provider for the little beast. Given that nagging had negligible results at best, I have resorted to the one tool Mom’s have in their arsenal that is guaranteed to trump any card their children play…GUILT! After somberly explaining to Puddin’ that Princess loved her dearly, and couldn’t understand why she was no longer loved back, Puddin’ immediately began fussing the hamster up. I, however, am still in charge of feeding, cleaning and generally ensuring the little rodent is healthy, while Puddin’ has appointed herself Chief in Charge of Petting, Loving and Playing. Why, I ask you, do we parents always seem to get the short end of the stick?? If I have to see one more teeny, tiny turd, I’m going to throw myself down the stairs.