Saturday, August 9, 2008

The End of Sneak

Mike and I so rarely go on dates. We ought to because it is such a happy thing, and Mike treats me like . . . I don’t know, like some beautiful girl he gets to be on a date with even when I am all pregnant and worn out and haggard.

It’s just I am always such a wimp about getting babysitters! I don’t know why because in truth my kids aren’t tricky to leave with babysitters – there are no tricks to getting them to bed, they are content with a happy little show, etc. Still, I fret and worry about all being well and even about the babysitter being happy enough.

So, of course, when we headed on a much needed date tonight, I missed the one lone call on my cell phone from our babysitter telling us that she and Abe had discovered that Sneak had died and Abe was desperate to talk with us. Oh sad of all sads. Here is Sneak in case you were wondering just what or who Sneak is:

Sneak is not to be confused with Scratch who died about a year and a half ago while Mike was off on a trip and so I alone had to take Scratch out in the rain with my weeping son to bury him. Here is an excerpt from an email I sent to the family detailing those events:

We got a hamster a few weeks ago. I had bad hamster associations because Megan and I had one for a time and no one ever forced us to clean it's cage. Consequently it was very stinky. Also, it ran on a super squeaky wheel all night long. Nevertheless, we have a hamster. Mike greased the wheel for me (I could hear it squeaking away down the hall from Abe's room the first night), and there have been many assurances about cage cleanliness practices. It has turned out to be a pretty good thing. Abe used to be scared going to bed most nights and would call to us over and over to come reassure him. We haven't heard any word of trouble from him ever since putting him in charge of keeping Scratch happy at night. I sometimes find myself calling him "Old Scratch" . . . but I try to keep that to a minimum because it seems that I remember that name refers to the devil.
And then, the rest:
Several months ago Abe lost his hamster to causes unknown. Dying quickly to causes unknown seems to be the lot of hamsters -- chickens, on the other hand, have never, in my experience died from any unknown cause. There is always a known cause and it is generally a dog. I'd like to hear of just one chicken that died of old age or some such thing. I suppose there is the bird flu, but I haven't seen it in my chickening days and I'm digressing from the point anyway. Back to Abe's hamster. It was a very sad time. Mostly sad for me because Mike was out of town and I was loathe to deal with a dead hamster. I was hesitant to even admit that it was dead and just hoping I could wait til Mike got home, but unfortunately, a dead hamster makes itself clearly known in an unpleasant way related to the olfactory senses. So, we buried the little guy. It was raining and Abe was bravely shoveling as he shed his tears. Happily, for his birthday a month later, Abe got a new hamster. He likes "Sneak" quite a bit, but it hasn't erased all the troubles this boy of mine has. It occurred to him this morning that in several years we might be moving and Scratch and his grave might not be moving with us. He asked me about this -- admitting that he knew it was a long way off and that he could even see the difficulties and possible negative aspects of moving such a thing. Seeing his apparent willingness to reason, I agreed it would be difficult and told him we'd probably just have to take a photo of the grave with us to remember him. In this I failed him. While he'd admitted the difficulty in moving the site, he had apparently been hoping I would resolve those issues. He turned from me and went quickly to his room where I heard him quietly crying. Sigh. That poor kid. I'll probably end up digging up the bones. I guess they could make a nice memory necklace?

Sadly, there was much of the same talk this evening about how Abe could not be at peace unless Sneak could be buried in the yard of our future permanent residence. Even more sadly, I think that Mike is going to figure a way to make this happen for his poor forlorn son.
It really is quite heartbreaking to watch a little boy like mine quietly crying as he looks at his dead little tiny pal. Abe loves his hamsters, and while I am mostly opposed to house animals of any sort, I too grew fond of the little critters because they stopped Abe from being afraid alone in his room at night (as he had his little pals to watch on their little wheel, etc. while he fell asleep). A few times I’d even discover him asleep in a little bed of blankets on the floor right next to his hamster cage. It made Mike and I so sad for our Abe tonight. We let him get out of bed and come eat some ice cream with us. It seemed to help. He made us promise not to tell the girls what had happened yet as he felt it would be much too sad for them. What a good little kid to want to spare his little sisters the grief he was feeling.


jami said...

(ok. that was me removing my post. why i can't seem to type this morning i don't know why..)

anyhoo ... i'm so sad for abe! that's so hard - and i love that he's such a good big brother that he doesn't want to tell the girls and upset them.

i have never had a pet but when i was driving to utah with my sister and her four kids - and the fish - we had a pet mishap too. we came back out to the van from lunch only to find the fish was no longer alive ... yikes. poor little olivia (my neice) picked out a tree at the arby's and we buried "dora" as best we could ... nothing like that to put a damper on the family road trip.

Tia Juana said...

What a thing to ruin the romance at the end of a lovley date! I am sure it is hard to kiss and cuddle when you have been touching a dead rodent and soothing the soul of such a sad child.

We had a hamster. Once. Lois got him for Xmas so I really have no one to blame but myself. She named it Rufus and it was to genius. Truly genius. It was a super clean, OCD hamster just like me, and he would poop and then throw it out of the cage and it would go to the top shelf and lift its leg and pee outside of the cage onto the wall of her bedroom. Nasty of all nasties. I admired his innovative ways but we ended up having to keep his cage in a box which is really no fun to watch at night as you go to sleep.

And then, Lois got bored and sold it to a girl in the ward - hamster, cage and myriad of cool toys and entertainment things that Lois bought with her own money. I knew it was a good thing when she was more happy with getting $25.00 than with losing the hamster to a little girl.

So I have never had to bury a hamster. Remind me sometime to tell you about the fish though.

Tell Abe that I am very sad for him. REally I am despite my typical lack of affect for pets.

And good luck with that bone moving. ICK!

Tash said...

ok this is highly offensive to me...
any type of rodents in the house scare me to death!
I think because I did have a hamster when I was little and it used to get out of its cage and run around the house and sleep in my brothers water bed of all things. Then one day it was just cold dead in its cage. I didn't cry I think I just wanted to throw up but didn't when my parents talked of getting another. I basicly said no thanks (no really, no thanks!!) Don't want one don't need one, can't ever be put through that again. I think I was actually relieved when it died so I would never have to wake up and wonder where it was again or find it dead in its cage again. It was a terrorizing experience for me. I do not allow pets in our house. I know I am so small and cold hearted. A tortoise is the only thing I have ever considered. I won't even do fish.
Anyway about you not me
Congrats for going on a date.
I loved this post even if it did bring up some trauma in me.
Keep these cute liittlle stories coming. I am glad we can be ld buds

Perla said...

sweet little abe. i sure love that boy. how very sad. remember to call and ask me about another very sad yet funny in a sad way story about a kid losing a pet that i heard today.

i love abe and am glad he is such a tenderheart, even if it hurts a lot, because he will be such a fantastic man one day.

Lover of Sweets said...

Oh poor Abe! I don't like to think of him all sad. I know it was probably a while ago now, but still.
I do hope that you will be making a memory necklace out of tiny little Sneak's bones.
Oh how I laugh to think of it! But then I start to cry when I think about your sad sad son:(

Mugsy said...

O my little man....Now I am crying.

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