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!).

21 September 2016

Another One Bites the Dust...

Or today we mourn the sad passing of Boy9's hamster.
Patch. For twas his name. Our second short-living hamster this year.
<Gives you a look and a sigh...>

On a money-for-value Patch did a lot better than the last hamster. Patch’s predecessor lasted a poultry eighteen days. Patch managed a grand six or seven months. A lot better.
And that’s good from one point of view.
And not so good for Boy9 who had more time to get attached to the little fella.

I had been away for the weekend.
And had returned to find out the washing machine had decided to empty itself on the floor.
Which poor Mrs. Amazing had had had to clean up with all three children bugging her about.
And, once I had given all three kids some Dad playing time, a quiet request from Mrs. Amazing to """"""check"""""" on Patch.
Mrs. Amazing could not remember when he had last moved.

(So... How bad is the tiddly (utility) room?
Mrs. Amazing: ‘Pretty bad…’
Arghhh <Is swept off>

Obv. a check like this needs to be done carefully and as secretly as possible. Any of children could notice and then ask questions. And then it’s being shouted around the house and any potential bad news is delivered badly.
Boy9 was upstairs so I nipped over to Patch's cage and performed the necessary check.
He was curled up asleep and quiet.
Too quiet...

I needed to be sure.
So I shoved the cage a few times. Classily obv.
No response from Patch and he's a light sleeper. BabyBoy2 wakes him pretty much every night with his ‘Nite ‘Atch’.
Last hamster-death there was denial from Boy9 about how dead the hamster actually was (think ‘Monty Python - Dead Parrot Sketch’). It was wishful thinking from Boy9. Sadly.
So I want to be totally sure.
I tried to undo the cage to get in. But it's awkward and I could hear Boy9 moving about upstairs. If he saw me ‘checking’, he'll have questions. He might even want to feed him.
That would be bad.
Short of time and needing a definate answer I give the cage a good hard medical shake.
Nothing from Patch.
Oh dear. Damn you Salazar <Shakes fist at the sky>

It's nearly bedtime.
Boy9 has been getting his jammies on. Which has taken ages, and involved making Miss5 cry (crocodile tears), some lightsaber practice and hanging about about with just a top on. Strange boy.
There is never a good time to tell someone their hamster is an ex-hamster. But I feel in the moment is the best way to go.
I check with Mrs. Amazing and she's cool with it happening now. We could wait until tomorrow, but I cannot see how that would help really.
Best relay news organically as it happens. No one wants to be the last to know.
I walk slowly upstairs to find Boy9 and tell him the bad news.
I expect tears.

I sit on his bed.
And let him natter away at me for a bit. He finally puts his jammy bottoms on and he's no longer half naked. It feels like the right time.
Dude... I just checked on Patch...
He stops bouncing around as he already knows where this is going. He’s learning quick.
His eyes go wide and he holds his breath.
What else would I be saying, sat on his bed, in my best bad-news delivering pose?...
Patch has started tap lessons... I KNOW!!!
Patch has managed to get a gun and is holding Mrs. Amazing to ransom. He wants sawdust, sunflower seeds and two thousand drachma...
You know how the Cat likes to eat small rodents?...
I was wearing DM's and showing Miss5 my ninja leaps, when Patch appeared beneath my feet... and <Does squishing noise>

I tell Boy9 Patch has died.
Probably in his sleep. We don't know why.
I can actually see Boy9 wrestling with his emotions. His smile starts to drop and his arms fall a bit at his side. The bravado and fun in my little boy drain away in about ten seconds.
Then he's got tears in his eyes and doesn't know what to do with himself.
I scoop him into my arms and sit with him on my lap, as he's to heavy to hold up anymore.
We hug it out for a good while and Boy9 has a bit of boo.
Fair enough.

I'm not quite sure what I said.
I said a lot though. I didn't go ‘Circle of Life’ this time, but it was still on that side of things. Things live, things die, that’s the short version of life. That kind of thing.
We all feel sad when they go. It's fine to feel sad.
I think I went with 'he didn’t last long because he burnt so brightly' as I could tell Boy9 didn't understand why he died quite so suddenly.
The burning brightly stuff at least made a bit of sense. As Patch was a very energetic hamster. And loved nothing more than running in his wheel whilst everyone wanted to sleep or watch tele. So much so that a piece of gaffing tape was left next to his wheel to shut it up for noise control.
Poor noisy, fluffy, little dude.

He was quite a weird hamster.
There was the crazy running for hours. Which he did so much he had to moved out of Boy9’s bedroom and downstairs. So Boy9 could fail to sleep.
He liked to stuff his metre long tunnel with sawdust every now and then. Really jam it up. Mainly when the Cat scared the crap out of him. And then he’ld empty the tunnel again later that day. Strange fella.
He escaped once and we found the Cat 'playing' with him. So a lucky hamster too.
He peed in his tunnel a lot. Which was annoying as the tunnel was full of air holes.
He bit me and Boy9 hard enough to draw blood.
And Boy9 (and me) had handled him enough that he would sit on our hands for a bit.
Good times.

Boy9 asks to see the late hamster.
We go look. Had Patch been on his back legs in the air. We would have skipped this. No need to give Boy9 nightmares. But as it was, Patch was curled up looking asleep.
I felt it would help Boy9 process his feelings. And as I already said, last time we did this Boy9 refused to believe the hamster was dead and I had to do more prodding.
Thankfully that wasn't needed this time.

Then we all sat to watch some cartoons.
Tears still in Boy9's eyes. I tell Miss5 the news too. She wants to see too. I'm not quite sure how she is going to take this. It’s not her hamster. But you never know…
We visit the deceased and I ask her how she feels.
She says sad. And then in the next breath she is showing me a new dance move / pose / attack.
I figure she's fine.

We don't tell Boy2.
As he won't really care. And it’s definitely not a good idea before putting a little one down for sleep.
This <Points> Is dead… <Does throat cutting action>

(The rainbow unicorn is called Ubercorn, and he’s a disco
loving DJ that gives you geographic facts. Really. I swear todger...)

Boy9 has a few more tears whilst we all watch Go Jetters as a family (love that cartoon).
Then bedtime is pretty normal.
Miss5: 'NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!' <Starts kicking the wall>
Go brush your teeth!
Boy9: 'I have' <Shifty eyes>
I've sat here with you watching cartoons, you bloody haven't!
Boy9: 'Fine!' <Goes>
Boy9: <Returns three seconds later> 'Done them!'
You bloody haven't!
BabyBoy2: <From his cot, not sleeping> 'Ooh Eeh Ooh Ah Aah Ting Tang Walla Walla Bing etc...'

Much later.
As Team Parents (yay!) peel themselves off the sofa and stagger to bed. I have the very awesome idea of sorting out Patch’s funeral casket before the morning.
I don’t work very well in the morning. And picking a coffin appropriate cardboard box before the second cuppa has kicked in. Was well... traumatic last time.
I carefully pick one. A lightbulb box. Remove all the sellotape to aid with decomposing. Line it with toilet paper. Pop in Patch and some saw dust. Cover Patch with more loo roll.
And then because I don’t trust the Cat an inch. I put the cardboard box high out of reach in a cupboard.
Then I warn Mrs. Amazing what’s in the cupboard and in the box.
However funny it would definitely be. I don’t want Mrs. Amazing looking for light bulbs in the middle of the night and finding this box. Unless I can film it.
Team Parent (yay!) agree on a funeral the next morning and collapse into bed.

(I was quite proud of my efforts...)

Next morning.
I do the lunch boxes, tidy up a bit and then quietly head out with a spade to dig.
Between two plants I figure so it can 'disappear' over time. Don't want a permanant marker of where each hamster is in the garden. Might get a bit morbid.
I can't remember exactly where the last one end up. But I'm sure it's not where I am digging.
So that’s fine.
BabyBoy2 was very excited to see 'Diggin'' is going on. And very much wanted to join in.
He was not allowed.

Job done.
I head upstairs and help dress any child I see.
My hands are sore from digging and Mrs. Amazing gives me a bit sympathy and then asks where the hole is.
Long story short.
I head back down stairs and dig another hole AWAY from the area some plants are soon to be planted. I may have muttered a bit whilst I did.
Hands hurting and all...

Once everyone is ready for school.
The five of us line up outside and put Patch into his final destination. I say a few things about lights burning brightly and how much fun we had with him.
I mention last week when we had Patch out and he seemed to be standing on his legs for Boy9. I try to leave a good happy memory in his mind.
Boy9 declines saying a few words. As his eyes have started leaking again. He's hugged and we all troop in.
Miss5 is fine and soon running off to play.
BabyBoy2 asks ''Atch Gone?' for the tenth time and is then distracted to another topic.
Boy9 sobs a bit more, but seems to bounce back pretty quickly.
Hopefully his emotions mostly processed over Patch.

I realise I've probably just cemented my role as pastor and undertaker in the family now. By being able to do it reasonably well. And by being the one that does it.
I'll add them to my job titles list.
Just below ‘King Drunken fool’, ‘Captain Bins’, ‘Mr. Plumber’ and ‘He of the guffiest Guffs’
I’m quite proud of that one to be honest…

I’ll leave you with Queen’s very excellent song ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ (One of Boy9’s favourites).

Right? Ready Freddy? A-one, a-two and AWESOME-ROCK…