Friday, August 19, 2011

The Hamster Incident

   I think I was either in Kindergarten or First Grade that my class had a hamster that we all took care of. Now you have to realize that as a child I grew up on farms, in wooded areas etc. I had cats, a dog, saw a ton of wildlife but had no idea what a hamster was or how to take care of one. So, as a 6 year old of course I was a bit curious.

I knew that each kid in my class had to take a turn taking care of the class hamster, it finally was my turn. I was told by my teacher that I needed to change out the cage, water and feed the thing. For whatever reason I didn’t remember or wasn’t shown how to take care of it, so I didn’t know. Granted, I’ve never seen one of these things so I really wasn’t interested in touching it, or holding it for that matter. I didn’t know what to do, so I threw in some food and filled the entire cage up with water. (It was a plastic cage) I could see the hamster inside swimming around which I thought was sort of neat. I was aware enough to not fill the thing up to the top, so the hamster could breathe and all. I told my teacher that I was done and I thought she was going to have a stroke. I remember being surprised when she yelled at me for practically killing the thing, and told me I did it wrong. I don’t remember what she said or how she said it but as a 6 yr old it made me feel stupid and embarrassed. I do remember trying to tell her that I didn’t know what to do, nor did I know what a hamster was, so I wasn’t sure HOW to take care of it. I remember the other little kids looking at me and laughing which added to the embarrassment. My teacher dumped out the cage, dried everything off, including the hamster and had some other kid in my class change out the shavings, feed and water it properly while I was told to watch. I remember my teacher telling me that she was going to inform my parents, which didn’t concern me much, like I said I’d never seen one. That was the same thing my mother told her. I remember my mother having the conversation with my father about how stupid my teacher was to assume that a 6 yr old would know how to take care of or know WHAT a hamster was.

I can’t believe at 41 I still remember that story, still makes me laugh.
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