Becki and Teddy: A Love Story
“Nathan wanted a hamster so badly, and after about a month of talking about it, we decided to get him one for his 10th birthday. I was more sold than my husband. His arguments were:
a) They smell
b) They’re up at night so the wheel would drive us all crazy and
c) see “b.”
Wanting to make his boy happy, Matt went along with the idea. So, after school on his birthday, Nathan and I set out for the pet store to choose the hamster that he promised to love honor and cherish until next Thursday when the job would fall squarely into my lap. Teddy (my new hamster) bit Nathan, drew blood, and that was that. But we were $100 into this thing by now so, doggone it, we were going to push through. I was, however, not going to clean the cage. This was Nathan’s hamster and he promised to do that job. I told him I’d help him the first few times until he was comfortable doing it himself.
(Lorilee: I think we all know how that turned out.)
Fast forward about six months. When I get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night I usually make my rounds and make sure all is well. I checked on my daughter and re-covered her and then went into Nathan’s room and did the same for him. I looked in Teddy’s cage. Teddy is nocturnal so he’s usually swinging from the bars, running on his “quiet” wheel, or just enjoying hamster nightlife.
I didn’t see Teddy.
Teddy had popped the top open on his little “loft” and he wasn’t in his cage. I grabbed the little flashlight my son has next to his bed and frantically shined it all over the room. No rodent.
“Matt,” I whisper. “Teddy’s out of his cage.”
(Grumbly sleepy sounds.)
“Matt! Teddy’s not in his cage. Help me.”
“MATT! Get up! Teddy’s out!”
I went into the kitchen to grab the box of Honey Nut Cheerios, Teddy’s favorite. (I’m so embarrassed right now. Please don’t judge.)
(Lorilee: I’m not gonna judge you, Becki. Honey Nut Cheerios are also my favorite!)
As I opened the pantry I heard the following (edited) words coming from the bedroom:
“There you are you little (so and so)! Becki, I found him!”
Teddy was under our bed, and Matt was reaching underneath trying to grab him. I threw some Cheerios under the bed to lure him out. I also fetched the hamster ball, and threw some Cheerios in there too. Was Teddy scared? Poor Teddy!
Matt continued to say bad words, while I began to laugh, because I laugh at inappropriate moments, and it was the middle of the night.
I began to wonder how Teddy made it to our bed in spite of our 80-pound Labrador Retriever, who slept right by our bed. Did Teddy crawl over the dog? Amazing.
We finally contained Teddy, returned him to his cage and duct taped the loft shut. I was still giggling when I climbed into bed with Matt. He expressed a desire to duct tape my mouth shut, too.
Months later, I still love Teddy through thick and thin. Just today, I cuddled with him a little before putting him in his hamster ball so I could clean his cage. He smiled at me real pretty, as if he knew how much I adored him. And then he peed on me.”
Okay, I laughed. Hard. Her face! If you want to hear more from the funny Becki, you’ll want to check out her blog, in which she has promised me she will tell more Pet Stories Gone Wrong.
As for me and my house, we’ve had just about every kind of pet you can imagine (though not snakes. Neverrrrrrrr snakes). Cats. Dogs. Hamsters. Rats. And The Bird.
The bird was the worst.
Those of you who have read my 2011 book “Money Secrets of the Amish” know about The Bird already, but for those of you who have delayed picking up MSOTA for some reason (such as chasing a loose hamster around the house in the middle of the night), here’s a recap:
“The five-year-old accidentally stepped on the pet bird, a yappy cockatiel named Pip, belonging to the nine-year-
You know how some people are unflappable? I am the opposite, completely flappable, especially when faced with a half-squished pet bird.
We immediately hauled off in the minivan, toting poor Pip to the vet and praying for divine intervention. (I did not want to have to tell my son his bird was dead, or how he got that way.)
The vet did a series of tests and pronounced that Pip would probably live to squawk another day.
“We won’t know for twenty-four hours if his guts are squished,” he said. (He really said “guts” and “squished”!)
At home, I was on red alert bird death watch, examining Pip for any signs of squished guts.
The next day, I was hugely relieved to see the bird was upright, but something was drastically wrong with his eye. The best I could figure, it got irritated in the melee, and despite the ointment we had applied very bravely to his eye the night before (this involved capture in a towel, extreme squawking and writhing, and the deep fear I would accidentally mash the bird some more in an effort to keep him still), appeared to be much, much worse.
In fact, Pip has scratched all the feathers off the side of his face and neck, and—horrors–there was a hole in the side of his head!
“Bring him in right away,” the kind vet’s receptionist said. “If he doesn’t stop scratching himself, we’ll have to put an Elizabethan collar on him.”
I zoomed to the vet for the second time in twenty-four hours, ready to pay any amount of money to just keep the bird alive. A few hours later, the vet called with news. “He’s doing much better,” the receptionist said soothingly. “That ointment you gave him was irritating him, so he kept scratching the area.”
(Wait just a little minute, lady. ‘The ointment you gave him’….As if I thought up the idea of ointment on my own, and then whipped it up in a secret laboratory under my house????)
Vet shaming is the worst!
“But what about the hole in his head?”
“That’s just his ear, dear.”
Okay, so I’m not an ornithologist.
How does this story tie into Amish money secrets? You’d be surprised. You’d also be surprised (or maybe not) about the lengths we moms go to keep our kids’ pets alive and well. In my next blog, I have some doozy stories all queued up. I’m talking a gecko with gout, a rat with weight loss issues, and one mom’s horrific tale of her son’s snake’s food running amok—inside the fridge. You don’t want to miss it, trust me.
For now, let’s hear from you. To what absurd lengths have you gone to, concerning critters of all kinds, in your mom life?