About a year and a half ago, i was persuaded to buy a hamster for a pet, the boys were desperate for a pet, i love cats but as i'm allergic to cats, dogs, rabbits and i think birds, and as a hamster was the only creature I hadn't allergy tested, it started to seem like a reasonable request, after all, they are small, don't take up too much room and look cute.
We have the BEST neighbours, they're the type of neighbours you can knock on the door, say, 'fancy a gin?' And the answer is yes, unfortunately this is also how hamster-gate started.
We were having some (a lot) of drinks with the neighbours, they have kids too and a hamster and some other pets, my boys had been badgering me for a few weeks prior to this night for a pet, I kept pushing back as you do, 'you wont look after it', 'i'm not cleaning it out', 'who will take care of it?' 'i'm allergic, so its a definite no!' On the night in question my youngest approached me, knowing I had had a few gins already and said, 'mum, why don't you see if you are not allergic to their hamster, then if you aren't, we can get one and I PROMISEEEEE that we will look after it'. 'Ok, lets see if I am allergic first', I wondered what the best way of finding out if you are allergic to a hamster, then I had a great idea to just pick it up and rub its back all over my face, itch my eyes a little bit, rub a bit on my neck, basically using the hamster as a sponge. Turned out I wasn't allergic, great.
The next morning I was woken by said child whispering, 'mum, you said we can get a hamster today, can we go now?' I peeked through my hungover eyes and sighed, 'oh, did I?', 'yes, yes you did, can we go now?' You know as a parent that once you have promised something, there really is no going back without a massive meltdown and fight, so in my hungover state, I agreed.
2 hours later we are in Pets at Home choosing a bloody hamster, (its a black one with a white stripe down its belly and its a boy if you are interested, it is actually quite cute but that isn't the point) its not just the hamster you have to buy, its the cage, bedding, cleaning stuff, treats and toys - £60 lighter we were on our way home with our new family addition.
A year down the line and our neighbours very kindly look after the hamster-Alfie, whilst we go away for a weekend, when we get back they suggest that Alfie may not be a boy... 'what makes you think that, the Pets at Home people said he was', 'well you see our hamster is a boy and, well, he has balls, to put it bluntly, Alfie doesnt'. Hmmm, so he's either been castrated at a very young age or Pets at Home mis-sexed him/her.
Either way, Alfie / Alfieah is well settled into the family, I have checked and he/she definitely doesn't have balls, well at least i'm not the only female in the house now, hurrah, just a shame she cant do the washing.