June is busting out all over. That would be a reference to the musical Carousel for those of you who are not gay, Jewish or Broadway inclined. My mother used to belt out that line and just that line and thrust her shoulders back as she sang it to call attention to her own abounding bust providing a visual I can never un-see. It happens to be true, of course. June IS busting out all over in my world with spring blossoms, baby birds and happy milestones in our household.
Levi graduated from preschool. While he was adorable, and Gabriella and I were quite proud, I cried more watching So You Think You Can Dance auditions. I can't help it. There's something about the combination of gymnastics and mime that touches my soul.
Asher completes 2nd grade next week. He had a good year – the only academic year since preschool that he has ever described as good, which means, because I am who I am, that rather than delighting in his satisfaction, I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop. It’ll happen.
In addition to finishing out the school year, we agreed to foster the preschool hamster, Simon, for the summer. Well, I agreed to foster Simon. Gabriella is less than pleased. And when I say less than pleased, I mean to say that she is livid. “I’d rather have a snake in my house than a smelly rodent.”
It has become more than clear that had I asked her for her thoughts about housing a hamster prior to volunteering our home for Simon, we would not currently be in possession of said rodent. Gabriella would have put her foot down…hard… and she would have aimed for the hamster.
I told her that Levi would love having a pet for a short while and that the boys would learn that caring for an animal is a big responsibility.
“First thing we’re going to do is clean the cage,” Gabriella announced in a less-than-friendly tone.
“You can’t use house cleaner,” instructed the preschool teacher.
“What do you mean I can’t use house cleaner?!? Look at that cage! It’s filthy!! And it stinks!!”
“The odor from the house cleaner will kill it,” she explained
Gabriella chose her next words carefully because what she really wanted to say was, “Someone hand me the house cleaner!”
“How about if I use the house cleaner and then rinse it out with water after I disinfect it?”
“It’s a very small animal that is much more sensitive to those vapors than you or I. You know that smell when you walk into a house that has just been doused with Lysol?”
“Yes. I LIKE that smell. It tells me that a place is CLEAN.”
“Kay, well, hamsters don’t like it.”
“But there poop smears all over the, oh God I can’t even look at it!”
“Well, it doesn’t mind the poop smears. I know this because he often defecates in his own food dish.” The preschool teacher and I started snickering, but Gabriella found absolutely no humor in fecal jokes. What a party-pooper!
Simon has been with us for a week and a half now. Mostly, we don’t even know he’s there. Occasionally, I catch Levi sticking a beyblade ripcord launcher in his cage to do what I’m not exactly sure.
In the evenings, however, he takes to the wheel. He jumps on that thing and runs. For hours. Incessantly. And when he does, it sounds like rain is falling – not misting or spitting, mind you – but drumming on our house. For hours. Incessantly. Gabriella wanted him to live in our basement – our unfinished dungeon of a basement that is not inhabitable for man, woman or child. I said that it was not suitable for a hamster either. That was before the monsoon.
A week and a half later, and I’m loathe to confess that when I check on him every morning, I’m disappointed that he’s still breathing.
The boys are still entertained by him. They love watching him climb up Technicolor, plastic tubes that resemble absolutely nothing in nature. They beg me to grab hold of him and put him in a ball so that he can roll himself all over our house. I have yet to do so. I cannot seem to talk myself down from the heightened sense of fear and skeeved-outedness I feel when I put my hand in the cage. I withdraw and breathe easy knowing that I will not have to avoid some sort of hamster interpretation of the Boy in the Plastic Bubble.
He’s up all night running on the friggin wheel. You can’t escape the sound of it. Where does he think he’s going? I’ve got my headphones on listening to white noise on simplynoise.com. It’s the only thing that will drown out the sound of Marathon Ham. I want to shake the cage and yell at him, “No! It’s not safe!! Go hide under your poop-infested shavings and mount your wheel never more!!
The boys are not learning about responsibility. I am learning that I hate hamsters. Anyone got any Lysol? Just kidding. Sort of.