Hamster Time (And… Something Else About Animals)

**Updated 27 February 2017; because we live in a city of (mostly) tiny apartments – not exactly pet friendly… So you may want to check out The Secret Life of Pets (more below)

Rewriting the lyrics to that Oldie but Goodie, Hammer Time.. 


Just before this photo, Queen E fell off the piano bench. Twice. She thought the first time was hilarious, so then she tried it again..

But wait. Go back. Around the cacophony and fidgeting…… The hamster fell asleep.

Eyes closed - what's wrong with this thing?

Eyes closed – what’s wrong with this thing?

Rockstar won’t admit he’s a little envious, but well, Queen E worked for it, he was busy with his tech. Interesting, because on the face of it Queen E is probably the most crazy energetic (read: scary) little kid to handle a small delicate animal –

which lil' critter wants to be held by someone who can move like this with no warning (pic from )

which lil’ critter wants to be held by someone who moves like this with no warning (gif from giphy.com)

Seems it's not only hamsters..

Seems it’s not only hamsters..

Me (after seeing this, which is from a Jurassic Garage visit to her Kindergarten): I thought you said it wasn’t very bigIt’s covering half your forearm.

Queen E: It didn’t look very big. They don’t even let you put it on your bare skin. Because…. the legs might be.. scratchy <trails off>. Only on the sleeve <mildly disappointed>    

"Oh, and what d'you have to say about this one?" (Yes she asked to hold him)

“What d’you have to say about this one?” (Yes she asked several times to hold him)

Queen E: Very cold and quite fat. And he’s a boy. There was another skinnier one that they said is female. 

Me: You know this one eats hamsters and other rodents, right?

Queen E: Oh. In the wild? I guess he can’t help it if he’s a predator. Hamsters are prey, aren’t they… <brightens> But he doesn’t have to eat hamsters when he lives here, right? We can feed him chicken nuggets.   

Cue Secret Life –

It’s a computer animated kiddie movie about pets living in New York, i.e. predominantly in small apartments. Some of it is erm, junk (but funny junk) – where the pets mess with the appliances, watch foreign language soap operas or have rave parties all day when their owners are out

giphy-2 giphy-3

– but some of it is useful for talking to the kids, about ageing pets, unwanted pets (cf “A Pet Is For Life”) particularly of the exotic variety who end up on the streets and in city sewers…

This is Tiberius the hunting hawk who has to fight his natural instincts to eat Norman the guinea pig and Gidget the white... Pom? Poodle? Bichon Frisse? yappy little dog. (pic from wikipedia.com)

..and Tiberius the hunting hawk who has to fight his natural instincts to eat Norman the guinea pig and Gidget the white… Poodle? Bichon Frisse? yappy little dog (pic from wikipedia.com)

Anyway. So now it’s not uncommon for Queen E to go about her daily business at home holding Gemma in one hand. You’d think this means the poor ham is totally harassed, but you’d be wrong. When Gemma doesn’t want Queen E to pick her up, she lets out an awful blood-curdling, fingernails-to-chalkboard squeak. More like a screak. We can actually hear the thing from another room.

Hamsters are nocturnal, but when Queen E comes home from school in the middle of the day, if Gemma hears her voice, she’ll often start chewing on the cage bars to be picked up. And so it goes on til bedtime –

IMG_4207 IMG_4208

Gemma The Ham With An Attitude doesn’t do this with anyone else in the family, she appears to be umm, selectively narcoleptic. Even at night.

ps: Also note the keys of our cheap old electronic piano (still haven’t decided if piano is Queen E’s instrument, she does all manner of things with it other than actually play it). Yes she writes on the keyboard with abandon and marker, but is careful not to get the hamster’s paws caught between the keys (a few of us mums also have a designated wall/ piece of furniture that the kids are allowed to doodle or paste any number of stickers on with abandon which is another reason I can’t bring myself to change the thing (New And Pretty Stuff = Way Less Freedom For The Kids)).


Queen E: Are humans prey or predator?

Me: We’re the worst kind of predator, we don’t just kill to eat, we make coats and bags and even kill for entertainment and in the name of a “better-tasting” meal. I figure if you have to eat an animal all of it shouldn’t be wasted and you can stand to give up something in the way of how tasty the meal is, if it’s a more humane way to kill the animal…    

Queen E: What about eggs?

Rockstar <from his laptop>: She has a point… 


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Bored Panda’s High School Yearbook Quotes

I… know. Everyone’s seen this. But go look at it again. It’s super long – 24 pages, at press time – but if you have a little kid who’s gonna grow up and enter this big bad world, go look at what the older kids stand at the door and say – not just with their name appended at the end but also with their picture attached.

When you see how the “head-covering squad” (one of them signs off “turbansquad” below) wear their cultures and faiths proudly in their yearbook quotes with wit and charm (arguably the best reaction to prejudices) to boot, you’ll understand why I reblogged this.

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Alizeh Raza received the comment, “….what a bright and beautiful face!”

funny-yearbook-quotes-167-589e1c087b76f__605 funny-yearbook-quotes-162-589e124d89644__605

According to urbandictionary.com:

“You Can’t See Me” = Another way of saying that you are untouchable and put everybody else to shame. …because if a person or thing can’t see you they can’t catch and/or attack you. Even though you are entirely visible it is a way of telling somebody that they (can’t mess with you) and they are not on your level.

At a time when growing up is angsty and the world they live in with social media magnifies intolerance a lot of them flaunt honour what makes them different, be they race, religion, sexual orientation or just…. a healthy appetite!

And teamwork.

…And teamwork. (“We know what you’re thinking and no, we’re not related”)

Fine, some of 'em also flaunt their similarities

(Fine, some of ’em also flaunt their similarities)

And deliberate stereotypes…

funny-yearbook-quotes-121-589dce91718d5__605 funny-yearbook-quotes-149-589e0f4dbe0ce__605

Daniel Zhang received the response “Every Asian parent ever”.

funny-yearbook-quotes-34-5899a069121df__605  funny-yearbook-quotes-166-589e166206c19__605

Según Akigbogun received the comment, “…none but he himself may make that joke”

However, my favourite two (because Am I The Only Parent Who Is Already Receiving Smartypants Comments From The Kids About What They Are Named) are these:

funny-yearbook-quotes-309-58a17d8fca75f__605 funny-yearbook-quotes-01-589b2cf1a23cf__605

And these two girls below, just for their whole healthy attitude (not… too many fries right?)

funny-yearbook-quotes-67-589af7cc5322e__605 funny-yearbook-quotes-48-589ad96eae749__605

How many of you guys out there have one like this to show your kids now?

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(I recently went to get more piercings (thanks for that, Queen E!) and ahead of me was this middle-aged man who asked, “which ear is it for straight men, and which for gay men?” ….below, both boys are double-earringed though, go figure…)

funny-yearbook-quotes-110-589db6a5096bc__605 funny-yearbook-quotes-125-589ddd535e77d__605

Lotsa respect, no judgement. (How can there be, from someone who calls herself Christian, who has a best friend in secondary school who is Muslim, whose parents are staunch Buddhist/Taoist, and who has a few gay friends in her history to thank for some big lessons in life?)


Growing up is hard, and then when you’re done with that, you suddenly discover that you have a lot more growing to do. I don’t know which is harder – being friends with no one, or trying to be friends with…. everyone. But don’t throw the first stone this week. And if people you don’t respect hate you…. you must be doin’ somethin’ right 😀

Good week ahead, dears.


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Great Provocations Be A Fuzzy Caterpillar

Queen E has been learning in Kindy about consideration for other living things, the consequences of and being aware of their actions… Following one of her friends bringing in a large burrowing beetle, the kids then had the added option of contributing to the setting up of a beetle habitat, digging up the earth in a designated corner of their outdoor play area and finding (never plucking) leaves, while being reminded not to disturb the immediately adjacent areas that house plant beds and pots. That was how it all started…

One evening we’re walking JD on the beach and lo and behold, a big fuzzy caterpillar is crawling along the open expanse of sand.

This is literally where we found it; none of those sparse trees are exactly caterpillar fodder

Like, where that boy is walking.

Queen E excitedly brings it to school, to the response, “…a great provocation for the children to inquire into…” 

(Yes, Serious Pose Face. Yes, she has a thing for the school fleece, and wears it zipped up whenever it's barely cold enough)

Earnest Serious Face for this picture haha

Queen E’s is not normally such a serious personality (she’s a cheeky monkey at home), so we were quite impressed at how seriously she took this. “Great provocations” – never thought of it that way before – another small step to nurturing a young inquiring mind. She knows it’s a caterpillar. Yet caterpillars don’t belong in the middle of a sandy beach. How did it get there? She came back from school that day saying they had tried to note down the identifying characteristics (horns, markings). The thing was already in a cocoon that morning.)

Because sometimes life throws a big fuzzy caterpillar our way. 

IMG_3840 IMG_3841

When we find One Big Hairy crawling along in the sand, we can:

1) Scream and run the other way. (Lots of people do this)
2) Scream at the dog not to eat it. (I’d do this)
3) Squish it for fun, just because you can. (You don’t do this, do you? The caterpillar’s journey stops there. But so does yours, ever think about that? Because within your selfish of-the-moment gratification of being the squish-er, you have forever snuffed out your own chance to see what emerges from the cocoon), or

4) Put Hairy Opportunity In A Plastic Cup and try your hardest to nudge it into a butterfly/ moth (I later justified to Queen E nabbing it despite having no idea how to care for it (what does it eat?? Nothing nearby looked like what a caterpillar might eat and there were no other cocoons, caterpillars, or butterflies in sight, it’s actually quite cold now) by observing it was probably in trouble anyway, if it was in the middle of the wide expanse of sand.)

I fervently believe you should never be more “cruel” than you absolutely have to be, to other living things on this earth (in the sense that you have to eat something living, be it plants or animals. And you have to smack mosquitos, because they might give you something. But you do not have to salt snails), they are there for a reason and some kind of “greater good,” even if we have no idea why they exist. (I said something like this long ago and a reader commented that being mean to other humans often starts with the capacity to be cruel to animals)

I have a similar (imperfect) argument for say, the difference between loading up on vitamin supplements and eating as many of the foods in their natural form as possible – decades ago, there were only maybe 6 “discovered” vitamins. Nowadays there are…. 20? Wait a few more decades there’s going to be….. 50? Thing is, you cannot artificially manufacture a vitamin that you don’t know exists. So, taking the supplements instead of the natural foods means you’re not getting the potential vitamins that pharmaceutical companies don’t know to manufacture yet. (I like to look in Bumps to Babes and other supermarkets for squeezies with more exotic fruits/veggies mixed in them – squeezies cost a lot more than the regular fruit or veggies, so then squeezies should “work harder” with the exotic veggies.. Of course then I have extra work making sure the kids really eat the whole thing at home :P)

"Goji" appears to be the "gei-jee" we use in chinese soups...

“Goji” appears to be the “gei-jee” we use in chinese soups…

(Other fruits have higher sugar content and when you snack on them in dried form they actually stick to the teeth more than this one)

(Other fruits have higher sugar content and when you snack on them in dried form they actually stick to the teeth more than this one)

On a further aside, around this time Queen E somehow revisited Charlotte’s Web that we’d looked at ages ago, about the spider who spells words on her web (might have started from the spelling because she came home from school one day and asked “what were those words that spider spells?” and so I went to dig it up) to save her friend the piglet from being eaten. It’s also a story about a little girl who refuses to give up on saving the runt of the litter – even if it means winning a livestock competition against all odds.

This is Charlotte

This is Charlotte (pic from wingclips.com)

Actress Julia Roberts, who voices Charlotte, once said that after making the movie she couldn’t kill spiders as readily as she used to.

pic from target.com

That’s the piglet she’s trying to save (pic from target.com)

I liked that Charlotte looks like a real spider (though Rockstar complained that the spider blinks and narrows its eyes in the movie). Also, Charlotte dies at the end of the movie, having lived out the natural life cycle and span of a spider. She does not marry a prince and get whisked off to a castle happily ever after, to be waited on hand and foot by palace maids and drivers and butlers and what-not <snort>. She drinks fly juice (having pointed out to the other farm animals that she does not have her meals brought to her), spins webs, secures her giant egg sac…

One of my favourite scenes is when the farmhands think a spelling spider is miraculous, and are told that the web-weaving spider is already a true miracle – “You know how to knit a doily because someone taught you… No one teaches a spider how to weave a web. Don’t you think that’s a miracle?”

How many miracles can you find with new eyes this week? :) 




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