When I was pretty little, like maybe five or six, we got some hamsters. I think they were all supposed to be the same gender but somehow that didn't happen and the next thing we knew, the one named Jenny had some babies.
Even before she had babies, Jenny was a bitch. She bit, she fought the other hamsters. She was the meanest one of the bunch and how one of the other hamsters got brave enough and close enough to mount her or however they do it is beyond me. He must have been seriously in need.... enough to risk his life or at the very least, some body parts. That's a horny hamster. She must have been, too, to let one get close. Actually, he probably mounted her to save his own life.... That Jenny bitch needs to get laid... guess since I'm the only guy here I have to be the one to do it before she kills us all.
So Jenny the Bitch Hamster had her little babies. They were so ugly, they were cute. I don't remember how many she had, maybe around five. I loved them, those squirmy little fur-less rat-looking things.
And one day, we found the babies dead. Jenny had suffocated her own babies! And I may have blocked this out, but something is creeping in and out of my memory about her having consumed some of them....
I'm telling you, it was fucking traumatic. Not only because my beloved hamster babies were all dead but they were murdered by their own mother.
I didn't yet understand the primal nature of the animal kingdom, and it shook me to the core. I mean, up until that point in my life, I felt pretty secure in my parent's love for me and that they wanted me around. I was a good kid. I talked too much but I did what they told me to do, except keep my room clean. And so to discover that some moms will actually kill their own kids was quite upsetting. I mean, what the hell did those babies do to make their own mom want to kill them? It was absolutely baffling and completely terrifying. My parents did their best to explain that that's just what hamsters do sometimes, but I still was not comforted.
I knew my mom wasn't a hamster, but you can bet I kept my ass in line for some time after that. And if I forgot and thought about getting mouthy or not listening, all I had to do was walk past my mom's sewing room, where the hamsters were kept, and see Jenny running along in her wheel, staring me down with her psychotic, murderous eyes to remind me and I would snap right back into shape. Right back.
Today, as a mother, I remember that traumatic time but I look at with a different perspective. One, now I actually understand why hamsters murder their young. It's an awful thing to say but in the darkest moments of sleep-deprivation, stress, and angst, I get it. A lot of us get it. We'd never actually do it, but we get it.
And two, I spy an opportunity. Some people use Santa or the Elf on a Shelf to keep their kids in line. I'm thinking hamsters. Specifically, mean-ass, fertile female hamsters with a male roommate. My parents couldn't have asked for a better kid and they probably don't know this, but Mom and Dad, it wasn't from your parenting skills.
It was from Jenny the fucking hamster.