Today has been a day

That’s for God damn sure.

(I swear, I will actually use this for educational purposes at some point, but right now it’s the only place I can vent about things without dealing with my in-laws)

I don’t know if you’ve ever had a bad mental health day where you just want to scream because you’re so damn nervous for no reason, but that’s how I’ve been. After all of that, I walked into the living room to do a quick check on the small ham-hams. When I smelled it, the reason the rats have been wigging out today: the smell of death.

Now, before anyone goes off on a tangent about how “a responsible pet owner would know right away before the smell came,” let me explain to you a thing.

We have two Robo dwarf hamsters: Mr. Squiggles and Dr. Doofinschmertz. They’re teeny tiny little balls of fluff who refuse to be socialized. Like, REFUSE. They’ve been with us for over a year now and I have tried and tried and tried everything I can find/know/try to do. Every single tutorial, blog post, instructional video, article I could find on socializing stubborn hamsters, I’ve tried it. They were in the shop so long without human interaction they just didn’t know how to handle it. So we let them be. No one but me is allowed to put their hands in the cage (they’re drawn blood before) and cage day is always a bitch because I have to stress the poor things out getting them out of their respective cages (Squiggles is an aggressive little shit) and into separate boxes or exercise balls just to scrub them out.

Both are okay with being spoken to, can handle my presence next to the cage, and love to hear someone singing to them. Just no touching. So, that’s what I do. I talk to them. I sing to them. I hang out with them. I just don’t touch them unless I absolutely have to. So, sometimes, I feel like I’m talking to an empty box because they’ve buried themselves beneath the bedding where I can’t see them.

So, no. I had no idea until I went to fiddle with the bedding and try to draw him out so I could see him. I opened the box and I knew. Mr. Squiggles had passed.

Let me tell you a little bit about Mr. Squiggles (Squiggs for short.) He’s was an aggressive shithead. He hated being handled. He hated hands in his cage. He hated toys. And he hated the bars of his original cage. I say that he hated it, but it was really an incredibly advanced state of cage boredom. And, again, I tried. I gave him plenty of toys to play with, a brand new wheel to run on, delicious food to snack on and hoard away from everything else. I soaked his toys in juice, hoping that it would encourage him to play with them. I made little treat puzzles, hoping he would start to figure out that he can chew on the cardboard. But no, he didn’t want any part of that. He couldn’t be left in a metal bar cage. All he wanted to do was chew and chew and chew on the bars. I put vinegar on them to try and discourage that behavior, but that didn’t help at all. So, we made him a brand new, beautiful bin cage. And it was beautiful. It had a big, open floor for him to run around, a brand new disc, plenty of hiding places, and I even built him a jungle gym to climb. And he seemed so happy with his new home, he even started playing with his toys.

I was so glad that finally, this little guy is starting to come around. He still wanted to chew on hands, but that didn’t matter. He was safe, he was happy, and he had a good home.

And now, he’s gone.

I found him at 1AM. I spent the next 30 minutes scrubbing out the bin, hoping to get rid of the smell before my daughter woke up.

And now, I’m sitting here, writing this. Just trying to get it off of my chest.

I don’t like it when I lose a pet, even if I never really got to hold them or be physically close to them. I don’t like having to explain this to my daughter. I don’t like that now, even as I’m writing this, I’m numb to the whole situation. I love that little guy, even though he was a jerk and the cause for several scars on my fingers. I love him.

I’m slowly coming to terms that I will eventually lose all of my beloved babies. Gerald is getting on in age, now. He’s showing plenty of signs of an elderly Syrian. Dr. Doofinschmertz sleeps all the time and I wonder how much longer he has left.

I wonder how many death posts I’ll have to go through.

How many hearts will stop in my home.

How many times mine will break.

My husband says that he’s done with rodents, that he can’t handle the pain. I can’t live in a home without animals.

I don’t know what will happen.

I’m going to go sing to Doof, now.

How was your day?

Human child stuff

Good afternoon! It’s been a minute since I last had a chance to post. Momming tends to take priority. Speaking of, there are a few etiquette things I want to cover. If you are an aunt, uncle, grandparent, basically anyone who is not the parent, listen up. Because, in my experience, the problem tends to revolve around lack of communication or failure to listen from their part. Just as a disclaimer, this post has no educational value. It’s simply me ranting and getting this off my chest. The names in this story have also been changed to protect my child and myself from my in-laws.

So, this story has a bit of a convoluted back story with all of the people involved. We basically have my daughter (Harley), biological mother (Shannon), Shannon’s ex-step-father (Paul), and paternal grandparents who, for the sake of my sanity, will not have real or fake names included. Now, I’ve never been a fan of Paul. I find him to be creepy as all get out, especially when he is around my daughter. He has a habit of not keeping conversations child appropriate, gives an unusual amount of attention to Harley (and only Harley, she has two other siblings), and like to go cruising around town, looking for his ex-wife. With my child in the car. Because that’s not creepy at all. Yeah, I don’t like him. Not to mention I have an awful gut feeling around him in the first place, like all of my mom instincts are screaming ABORT ABORT REMOVE CHILD FROM THE AREA!!

What has been an issue in the past is that paternal grandparents (who shall remain nameless) have a bad habit of giving people permission to take our daughter without informing or consulting with us. This includes Paul. There has been a time or two that I received a message from my husband asking if I gave permission for Paul to take Harley out to dinner or to the store or whatever. And my answer is always no. I don’t want him around, he does not have my permission to take my kid. And, on one of these occasions, I was on the verge of calling the police because I had no idea where my kid was or what this guy was doing with her. But, he dropped her off and all was well. Being the newest member of this family, I try really hard to make sure that everyone who has been in Harley’s life has a chance to still spend time with her. But, when you’re being creepy, I will tell you to stay away from my child until we can figure out the best way to approach this.

So, to the most recent incident. My husband received a text from Paul asking if he could take Harley out to dinner. I contacted Shannon to see what her thoughts were on the issue, since this is her side of the family. Which resulted in a message that made me panic.

Call me. It’s about Paul and Harley.

Oh sweet Lord. What happened? Did he take my daughter? Did he show up and freak out?

So, I called her. We talked for a good 20 minutes. She explained to me how she found out that he has been taking Harley to the graveyard to visit his dead brother, which he claims Harley knows and misses (she was three when he died), and then took her to stalk his ex-wife. So, the unanimous decision was no. Hell no. Paul has proven to me that he can not be trusted to be alone with my child. So, no. He doesn’t get to take her out to dinner.

And queue the freak out.

This lead to a lot of arguing between myself and my husband, a lot of yelling at Shannon from Paul, and a lot of yelling at my husband from Paul. Here’s the deal: I’m a big believer in being completely and totally honest. Especially when it comes to why you aren’t allowed to be around my family. I had no problem with telling Paul directly that it is NOT okay to take my child to the graveyard, it is not okay to talk for hours about your dead brother and just upset and bring her down. And it is especially not okay to take her to stalk your ex-wife. She’s 10! I’m not sure what makes you think that any of this is a good idea for an empathetic child, but your reasoning and logic are horridly flawed and no. Just no. And come what hell may come. Let me deal with it head on and get it out of the way so we can find a solution. My husband, on the other hand, tries to do as much damage control as possible and avoid the confrontation all together. He makes up an excuse as to why he can not take her and tries to leave it at that… I’m sure you can see why this would cause an argument. But, I recognize that I am not Harley’s biological mother and need to keep my mouth shut sometimes, a skill that I have never fully mastered. So I drop it.

Flash forward to today. Paul messages my husband asking if he can take Harley to dinner since she will be with my family for Thanksgiving. I say no. Husband says no. Husband also explains to me that he explained to Paul that since he has shown that he can’t be trusted to act like Harley is a child, he can’t see her without supervision until this impression of him as been changed and he’s proven that he can act like an adult. And yet, I’m still sitting here, anxious as all hell that he will try to take my child for whatever reason. It’s been decided that if he has any issues with this decision, he can contact me and I will handle it.

My only request to you, dear reader, is that if you have a similar situation or if you have a child in your life that you just adore and want to spend time with, please please please respect the parents’ wishes! If you have been told that no, you can not take the child somewhere and have been given a legitimate reason why, just say okay and drop it. And, if you’re acting creepy around kids, stop. Just stop.

 

Thank you for reading my ranting today. What about you? Do you have any parenting horror stories? Share them with us in the comments!