Saturday, January 31, 2009

My Big Mouth or How NOT to Diagnose a Hamster

Reading up on hamster care is just as addictive to reading blogs and Facebook.

My daughter just bought a Chinese Hamster. We got it Wednesday and have been enamored ever since. Though we are despondent that she has not warmed up to us yet. We've had three round-'em-up sprees already. Whew! She's a FAST little critter and skinny. She's only about the size of my thumb and squirts out of the hand just when I think I've got her.

"Mommy, Kanobi is up past her bedtime."

I smiled. "Is she?"

"Come see."

I investigated and found her lounging in her wheel. It didn't actually look normal to me (but what do I know) and I fairly scared my daughter to tears when I said,

"Oh. I think she's dying. Do you want to hold her as she dies?" (OK. So, I over-reacted here a bit.)

She was not responding. When I touched her, she didn't even care (which is not like her in waking hours). I put a little water on my fingertip and tried to entice her to drink some water. We hadn't actually seen her drink anything and wondered if she were dehydrated into some sort of lethargy. She wouldn't drink. And now her tongue was sort of lolling out. Oh no.

I picked her up and solemnly placed her in Aubrey's hands. She is crying. I feel sad and beastly and inadequate to care for a simple hamster. I'm already thinking of buying her another one.

I think to bring the water bottle to her and try to drip out a water droplet on her tongue. All I manage to do is plop some on her teeny snout. She shakes it off, somewhat revived. I replace the water bottle and take Kanobi from Aubrey.

I am taking back some of my prophecy of doom.

"Look. She's walking a bit in your hand. Let's get her back to her house." Wups. There she goes. I manage to get her back. She nips me, I put her in the cage, she washes her face and furiously runs on her wheel.

"Well." I say to Aubrey. "I guess she's not dying. Look at that!" Aubrey giggles through her tears and I hold her until she stops crying.

Oh brother. Me and my big mouth.

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