Hi! <Waves>

Funny and honest tales from a made-to-work Dad of three, wobbling, graying, and laughing his way through parenthood. Armed to the teeth with Nerf guns, full of pie, fighting a chocolate addiction, but genuinely honoured to be at least half of Team Parents (yay!).

17 January 2016

Death Comes in Threes (apparently)...

What a week.
First David Bowie, then Alan Rickman. And then someone else passed and there was a little less media coverage about it. But Boy8 felt it just the same.
Bad news does seem to come in threes.

I got the news as I walked in the door the other night.
(From work you understand, we don’t play evening door games, I was returning from work...)
(I probably didn't need to clarify that...)
(Or that...)

'Did you get my message?'
Yes! Shocking, shocking news
I can hardly believe it <Takes of Bat-Cowl after hard day at work>
It's brilliant though, obv.
'Er... What now?'
You send me a message saying you were going to a mad-crazy-hardcore fitness club?
That’s great, I’m happy for you!
<Removes balled up socks from trousers>
'...' <Gives me a look>
'I sent another message after that'
Didn't get it? Did it say you’ve make cake?
'Boy8's hamster has died'
Shiiiiit Ohhhhh...
Where is he? <Rubs off black eye liner>
'Left him in his cage'
Not the hamster
'In our bed… watching cartoons'

I feel a bit cheated to be honest.
I know it's not the hamsters fault for keeling over. These things happen.
Two years was all I was hoping to get out of the little furry guy. A sad faced Boy8 was always going to happen. But he only lasted 18 days. That’s a bit smegging brief isn’t it.
I’ve had hangovers last longer than that.

Team Parents (yay!) did panic for a bit and wonder if we had done something wrong.
Away from Boy8 we had a rapid discussion and stock check of the last few days of the hamsters life...

'Did you feed him last night?'
Yes. Did he have enough water?
'Yes. I think so. How was the bowl last night?'
Empty. But we refilled
Was the Cat in the room doing his Smaug impression?
'No. I don't think he's noticed the hamster'
'Phew. Then not out fault'
Thank chocolate!!
Wait... Did you leave the radio on Boy8's room?
'Yes, why?'
There was a live Justin Bieber gig on
'Oh no! Death by Bieber'
<Both piss ourselves laughing>

The trail of Team Parents (yay!) was brief.
And a bit weird how we put ourselves on trial, quickly put ourselves in the docks, prosecuted ourselves, and found ourselves innocent. Yay!
In fact as the trial showed, there wasn't any blame to given. The cause of death seemed to be of natural causes. Which is good news. For us.
Harder though to explain to an eight year old boy who did nothing but love his hamster, that it’s just one of those things..
Poor Boy8.

He was sad.
He had big puffy red eyes and he was suffering from the same leaky eye problem I get near at the end of most Disney movies. Especially 'Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast' when K.T. Tunstall starts to sing '1000 years'. I mean seriously, does the damn DVD player start spraying out of pepper mist or something...

Why-y-y won't they see Gr-gr-gruff again? <Blinks rapidly due to the pepper in the air>
Miss4: 'Because he has to sleep for a thousand years' <Has a heart of stone>
<Sniffs> That's a l-l-l-l-ong time <Holds back tears>
'Oh come on Dad, we've seen this loads of times...'
<Fast-forwards the sad bit for me>
<Drunks tea and blows nose on Miss4's sleeve>

(Heart breaker)

Boy8 was so sad.
He was so sad that Miss4 noticed how sad he was. She leant her head into his, child close, and asked what was making him sad. Very sweet.
BabyBoy1 didn't notice. He's too little for that. But for Miss4 to notice and worry about her big brother shows just how much Boy8 was feeling the loss.
Poor dude.

Mrs. Amazing put Boy8 into our bed with some cartoons to watch.
Just his little head was visible over the covers as, like us all, he was hiding from the big nasty world under a duvet, whilst watching TV.
He was in my bed so I just got in, fully dressed and hugged the crap out of him. I figure a full Dad hug can last a good 30-40 seconds, he can hold his breath that long, I'm sure.
I stop the hug early, as he’s clearly unable to breath, and mentally prepare myself for the talking bit. You know the talking bit where I help him process his feelings of loss and sadness over his poor departed hamster.
But no words come.

It is weird that I have nothing to say to Boy8.
I can normally talk crap wisness anytime. But I found it quite hard to pull up heartfelt words for a hamster that's only been about for 18 days.
In the global conglomerate, that is, Team Parents (yay!), I tend to do the death talks and related subjects. I know the ways of the Dark side. Either by volunteering, or by losing at thumb wars.
I have a pretty good line in 'death' chats and comforting words. Largely based on the teachings of the Lion King and Bruce Lee movies. Oh and some Karmic / Buddist / Jedi philosophy thrown in for good measure as well.
But really it's Mufasa. (Go on, say it again... Mufasa).

(Bit bloody foggy today! Can 'ardly see the dark lands… Where you must never go...)

Words finally come and I eventually manage to comfort Boy8.
Still he appeared downstairs three times that night, upset. Mrs. Amazing had gone out and I had been tasked with dismantling the cage and preping the hamster for the funeral. I stuffed up the box he came in with sawdust, and gaffing taped it closed.
It felt apt.

Boy8’s first appearance downstairs took a lot of hugs and talking, and I got Boy8 to picture something happy about his hamster to think about.
The second took a huge hug and, as it was getting late, a mild message of stop crying and remember the happy times. Don’t milk it. The crying time has is now done, go to sleep.
The third time he showed what had been bothering him. He sided over to the cage, clearly wanting to see his hamster once more.
So I ignored him a bit and carried on cleaning, when Boy8 said ...

No he didn't... mate <Mentally checks, yeah he definitely was dead>
<Takes off C3-PO washing up gloves and comes over>
<Just a little worried / excited>
‘He's alive!’
I don't think he is <Opens the cage and pokes the hamster>
<We both wait expectantly>
<Shakes head in a sorry way>

I can see that Boy8 is still not convinced.
I realise that I need to convince him right now. This needs to be clear in his head, that the hamster is very much dead. I don't won't him worrying tomorrow morning after we bury it, it's still alive. Or diving him onto the grave and tearing at the ground. Or worse still, never forgiving me for burying his hamster, that he thought was alive, but wasn’t. All bad stuff.
I consider doing the parrot sketch for Boy8, but with a hamster.
I poke the hamster again, good and hard. To be very sure.
The hope in Boy8’s face disappears.

Sorry dude
<More eye duct malfunctions from Boy8>

We held the funeral the next morning.
Before school. So we all had to get up a bit earlier and go faster. Which obviously meant we were running even more late than normal. But still, we all got outside for the funereal, eventually.
I had pre-dug the hole. By coming out at 7am in the dark and cold and digging.
When we all came out later it was clearly too shallow and I had to dig it again with everyone watching. I did my best to maintain the dignity of the moment.

Mrs. Amazing held BabyBoy1.
Who was a bit confused why we were all outside. But he was happy enough.
Miss4 stood next to Mrs. Amazing and the three of them stood on the path and watched me and Boy8 lay the hamster to rest.

I asked Boy8 to say a few words.
But I have no idea what he said. I was too busy trying to think of what I was going to say next. The pressure was immense.
I managed to blabber some stuff about how we all come from atoms, and we’re all parts of each other. But then realised that I was maybe heading towards a horrific image of a rotting hamster with plants growing out of its head. So I changed tack.
And maybe panicked a little. I don’t think it was the best passing speech. I definitely said ‘Circle of life’ a few times, with hand movements, and cringed inwardly at myself, but no one else seemed to notice, so that was cool.

I said goodbye to the hamster from us all and started covering him with earth.
The mud was in huge lumps, and now I realise why at proper funerals they have nice fine mud to pour on. I had to chop the mud up a bit and pat it down a bit just to fill the hole.
The mud was very stuck together and after a while I got quite stuck into it my spade work. With everyone else looking on.
When a horrible thought flashed into my head, that all of a sudden I was just gardening. That felt weird.
I stopped with the spade, jammed it into the earth like a Dad should.
I hugged Boy8 and started walking him back inside.

(That should do it…)

As we walked I glanced over at Mrs. Amazing and she had a big grin on her face.
Oh no I thought, she had the same gardening thought as I had. I was never going to live this down. I can’t even do a hamster funeral without turning it into a comedy sketch.
But it turned out that it wasn't the gardening. No.

It seems that during the service, BabyBoy1 had gotten bored. And sweet, but bored, BabyBoy1 had started leaning over in Mrs. Amazings arms and then, very slowly, and very gently starting stretching out his little index finger… to poke Miss4 in the head. A few times.
I'm glad I didn't notice that. I would have cracked up.

The hamster was called Dynamite and he was proper loved by Boy8.
If only for a short time.
Bye bye Dynamite.