I know better than to take my kids to the pet shop dear reader. Especially because I make weekly trips there to purchase crickets for Charles Portis and...there is something so demoralizing about that, about making repeated visits to the bastion of winsome animals, only to leave carrying a plastic container filled with the biblical equivalent of a plague.
So on the last day of the year, while waiting there for someone to fill my order, Caroline approached me holding what could only be described as the world's cutest hamster. I looked into her shining eyes and thought: oh, why not?
Why not spread a little more holiday cheer whilst simultaneously creating strife at home with the harsh disparity and obvious preferential treatment of bestowing a new pet upon just one child??
That's my parenting style, dear reader: grossly unfair. I'm sure you can read about it in a manual somewhere.
Check the cautionary section.
But that's not the half of it. Once Caroline got over the shock of actually being allowed to get a hamster (oh, her sweet little face, dear reader. Remind me of her sweet little face when I hear that hamster wheel whirring in the middle of the night!), we carried our purchases out to the car where I, in some unprecedented moment of lame brainedness, consented to letting her take the hamster out of its travel box.
"You know you have to hold onto it, don't you?," I said.
"Yes," she replied, and promptly let it slip to the floor.
We made our way home and Caroline ran into the house to inform her sisters she'd just gotten a new hamster, or at least all the paraphenalia which goes with one. We searched with flashlights, pulled out carpet, set little food traps...all to no avail.
Do you believe in magic, dear reader? Because I do. I believe in disappearing hamsters. They can actually vanish. It's a great trick until someone plays it on you.
Imagine how excited I was to tell all this to my husband!
And imagine the scenarios which were beginning to play out in my mind: my concern for dear little Cubby was rapidly being replaced with thoughts of an impending foul odor emanating from some irretrievable crevice within the bowels of the car.
But when my husband came home from work he devised a brilliant trap, one which worked within the hour, prompting me to exclaim to my children one of my favorite and oft-quoted literary lines:
Your father...is a fantastic fox!
So, Cubby lives on. Izzy has informed me she may need a hamster of her own if Caroline isn't especially generous in letting her hold him.
I assured her Caroline's generosity would be legendary.
At any rate, Happy New Year, dear reader. Thank you for keeping me in such lovely company through 2013. I wish you much love, peace, and happiness in the months ahead, through the thick and thin...though at this point in life I find myself less interested in whether it will be thick or thin, and more in the pursuit to be happy regardless.