Gemma is sliding down a ramp because I couldn’t find the staircase attachment of Queen E’s old Sylvanian Families doll house.
pic from toysrus.co.uk
These things can be found in the “educational” sections of some toy stores in HK because of the “role play” element. Periodically they go on sale, during which
the whole of Hong Kong will swarm Sogo in Causeway Bay we once happened to be in the area (never again) and so after biting of the apple (and buying a house) I would check out gilt.com and amazon.com for bargains.
But back to how we now have a hamster.
Well the lobsters died. One kept crawling out of the tank (the filter and thermostat lines meant the plastic top wasn’t as secure as it otherwise would be, and the more vicarious of the two lobsters loved to squeeze its way out) and we finally didn’t find it before its gills dried out. It was dried up under the tv cabinet one morning. The other one… simply passed away for no apparent reason (we still had fish in there that survived and lobsters are supposed to be hardier than fish so it doesn’t seem to have been a problem with the tank itself…)
Not too long ago, Queen E wished for a frog. But then…
Gemma (formerly “Fatty” because apparently at the prerequisite vet checkup when they found her on the street and brought her in she was overweight) was HKD 20 to adopt, and they deduct it against any purchases of supplies at the in-house SPCA pet store downstairs. Wait – they found her on the street? This is one lucky hamster ok, she’s only 2-3 inches long and she didn’t get eaten by crows or cats or rats.
I had to fill in forms, including sign a waiver after submitting my residence address and HKID for records that says I will allow authorities to inspect whether the animal is being taken care of properly. They have a separate form if you want them to hold the animal so you can think about it, and I think they said for dogs or cats there’s a 3 day waiting period.
Queen E perks up.
Rockstar: No, we are NOT getting a cat. (Staff are playing with feline inmates by waving those flexible wands with feathery things on the ends)
That was how we got the idea to look for a hamster here though – another mum friend adopted a beautiful big glossy black cat with white markings whom we all affectionately refer to as “Wan Chai”. Queen E gets wistful at Rockstar’s SEN friend…… who is the cat’s favourite person
So anyway –
These two get to know ‘Fatty’ on the floor of the small animals cell… I warn them repeatedly they are not getting the hamster if she’s jumpy, or they can’t handle her properly…
Kings texts, “So cute, is it a rat?”
The “rat” keeps them pretty occupied. Especially the Miss.
Remember Guinea from a year ago?
The Safari Kid school pet got adopted permanently, Queen E got bigger and rowdier (ok she was always a tomboy but very gentle with animals), but she never outgrew her love of animals, particularly small ones.
And well, she was always quite alright about cleanup (because she wanted to get to keep the critter).
I think child labour is awesome 😛 They have so much energy anyway, and they want to keep rats, spiders, worms, the 10 billion bugs you come across on a Peak hike (or is that just my kids). Queen E’s famous last words when she comes across a strange critter are, Does It Bite? One day she is going to find a rattlesnake Look Mummy! Musical Snake! Dussit Bite?
Of course having the thing comes with cleaning up after it, the kids may need help but they have to do as much as they can themselves. (For real though, our domestic helper of about a year doesn’t touch the rodent cage because I almost expect to get a call from her agent saying we never said when we hired her that there would be a hamster in the home.) And this Gemma the Russian Dwarf is (touch wood) even easier than I thought – we only need to change her bedding like, twice a week, and that’s just me emptying the stuff in a trash bag, after which the kids lay everything out… She keeps the kids occupied (bonus: no screen time!) when we’re at home, and the SPCA lady was amazed that I used to let my 16 hamsters run around my bedroom and then take hours to find all of them and put them back in their cages (sometimes they were gone for days) – apparently you don’t even need to do that. There are umpteen cage attachments and things so Rockstar’s keeping his fingers crossed – he assembled Gemma’s current gear too. “Like Legos”.
Heck, I don’t know who the hamster is for – them or me. I love animals. Animals love you if you’re not an @hole to them. They don’t care what you look like. If you’re patient, gentle, kind, they love you. It’s the greatest reward when you have a pet, to be loved unconditionally; I loved it and I wanted the kids to enjoy it too.
So this is Gemma looking for a snack in her toy kitchen
And grooming at her dresser
Queen E sleeps next to the cage, and sometimes in the wee hours of the morning I’ll peek at them and Gemma’ll be running silently on her hamster wheel. Or, she’ll be watching the hamster sleeping. (No, those two never get to wake the animals in this house; sometimes they wake the humans but that’s another story).
All because a little wish for a frog didn’t come true.
Next time you don’t get your frog, don’t forget your hamster.
Have a good week ahead, dears…
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