My three-year-old goes to preschool on a farm and over the weekends, the teachers parcel out the smaller critters. This weekend, it was Ella’s turn to babysit Cinnamon, the hamster. It is no secret to my family that I do not like hamsters. I have enough problems on my property with moles and bats; inviting the enemy to spend the weekend in the heated comfort of my home feels counter-intuitive. Still, the little bugger is here, and the kids enjoy having her, but Cinnamon is completely aloof and ungrateful. Plus she has the creepiest little toes, and when she walks her belly drags on the ground.
Friday, after lunch, Ella was sitting on the floor in the family room holding the sinister fur ball when the rodent leapt, ninja-like, from Ella’s hands, flew across the room super-hero style, and immediately became invisible.
In a panic, Ella began screaming, “I lost Cinn!”
I looked and looked, but couldn’t find her. We placed carrots strategically around the room and sat patiently waiting, nothing. I brought the dog in hoping he would scare the snot out of the hamster and she would come sprinting to us for protection. We could not see Cinnamon, but we could hear her say,
“Screw you, big stupid dog! You’ll never find me.”
I was slightly concerned that if I began moving furniture I might smoosh her under a sofa leg, not that I care one way or the other, but who wants to be the mom who murdered the preschool pet?
Slowly, I pulled one piece of furniture at a time toward the center of the room. And there she was, holding up her skinny middle finger and giving me the stink-eye.
Once Cinnamon was safely back in her cage, Ella and I left to run some errands. Half-way through the parking lot, Ella slid her hand into mine. “Let’s not tell anyone we lost Cinnamon,” she said. “When we bring her back to school, let’s just keep it a secret.”