Hamsters, pups, oh my…


I could offer Maria and Mario a round trip vacation to the Bahamas, a trip to Disney, or a new bike, and they’d still pick a trip to Petland over all of them. They have loved that store since they were toddlers. They find so much joy when they walk in the door between the dwarf hamsters (Mario’s favorite), the pups (Ri’s favorite), kittens, bunnies, and gerbils. We made a trip up there on Sunday morning because we had to buy party supplies for Sarah’s shower at Party City, which is right next door. Ri has a future in party planning, for sure. She worked on invites at the house and when we got to Party City she immediately moved to the decorations aisle to coordinate themes. We would have spent $500 on decor if she had her way. She couldn’t stop herself: “this is adorable; we need these steamers; these games are a must….” Meanwhile, Mario found himself some killer gold glasses. He wanted gold glitter to spray in his hair but I refused.

A piece of bubble gum made up for the glitter. We delivered our bundle of party goods to the car and headed into Petland. Ri darted for the pups and Mario rushed to the dwarf hamsters. He yelled for me to come over to him “mom, there are six of them and they are sooo cute!” He could stand there all day and pick them up, put them in their wheel, pick them up again, put them in their wheel again….I was tempted to buy one but realized I was reliving my childhood and my love for hamsters (supposedly I was allergic and therefore had to give away my hamster after days of nurturing it, and yes, there were years of counseling over that). But now that I’m the one that would have to clean the cage, I don’t have as much of a desire for one. I told Mario he already had fish to love. His response: “As soon as my fish die, I want this hamster.”

Those fish of his need to watch out. Ri found herself a little chow puppy and loved on it. However, when I commented on how cute it was, she promptly replied “not half as cute as our Rocco.” She is loyal to the bone.
She and Mario had a blast with the pups. One little sprite fella wouldn’t stop biting Mario’s shoelaces and jeans. Mario loved it and purposely darted all over the space to play with it. He was belly laughing so hard I thought he’d hyper-ventilate.

It’s great to know that we can find so much happiness in such a tangible trip. And one day, when fish have traveled to another place, we may have a hamster in the house.>

Excited … about poop

Is it utterly pathetic to get excited from an email that states:

“Rocco had a large bowel movement this afternoon.”

I experience the same elation I used to feel when daycare would send me a picture of a smiling Ri or Mario and write “S/he is having a great day today!” Rocco has definitely moved into the third kid bracket. I even find myself buying new doggy toys every time I go shopping. Yikes!


Heaven = A Full Night’s Sleep

I remember when Maria was born and didn’t sleep for more than an hour and a half at a time. Jon and I were so sleep deprived we could barely muster a “hello” in the morning (I’d walk past him with a grunt and a scowl to hand off Ri so I could sleep for two hours and then the reverse would happen when it became Jon’s turn to sleep). I remember looking in the mirror at 3 pm and swearing I was looking at a ninety year old version of me. I experienced every single effect noted in this sleep deprivation article.

My mom came up from Cincy one evening about three weeks after Ri’s birth. She didn’t bring food, toys, diapers or blankets for us like other visitors had done. She brought something much more valuable – sleep. She allowed Jon and I to go up in our room, close the door, and sleep for seven hours straight. At that moment, I would have paid 1 million dollars for such a gift (sorry mom, too late now). We woke the next morning and were actually pleasant with one another. We gave each other a morning kiss and skipped downstairs. Our moods were massively changed after just one full night of sleep.

Fast forward to present. Both kids sleep through the night. They don’t wake to be nursed or held or walked. It’s beautiful. What we’ve been waiting for after years of sleep deprivation torture. So what do our smart selves do? Get a puppy and start the process all over again!

I was seriously sporting all of those sleep deprived “effects” on Tuesday after a weekend of crate training and whining. Jon was out of town for work and it was going to be me and the kids and Rocco for the week. But my sis pulled through and told me she’d come to Columbus for a few days. She arrived Tuesday afternoon and left Thursday afternoon and it was the same renewed and refreshed feeling I had when my mom came up to watch Ri. I went to bed at 10 pm on Tuesday and slept until 6:30 am. Pure Heaven. Sarah stayed up with the puppy and got him out of his kennel to pee in the middle of the night. I was so close to making out with her when I walked downstairs the next morning.

Energy had flowed back into my body and I could actually process a thought. I was ecstatic! Sarah whooped that puppy into shape walking it and playing with it and getting it to stop chewing its leash. She is a born puppy master. I was so sad to see her depart on Thursday afternoon (as was Ri who begged her to stay so they could keep going to Stauf’s and making cookies). But she left me in a much better place – awake and alert, pleasant, beautiful and loving this little butterball of a dog.



Pups, Hamsters, and Guinea Pigs, Oh My…

Maria with her "duster" pup

The other night Maria and Mario and I were brainstorming on what to do for the evening since it was raining and chilly.

“Let’s go to the zoo, mommy” Mario pleaded.

The zoo is closed and it’s raining, nut-ball” I joked back to him.  That led to ten minutes of pummeling from the two monsters who laughed as they tackled me for call ing Mario a “nut-ball.”  They will find any excuse to tackle me or Jon.  They have our rambunctious genes. 

“How about the pet store?” I ask (knowing that the strip mall with the pet store had a Halloween store and bike store – two places I had to get to in order to get costumes for the kids and get my bike geared up to ride them around before winter strikes). 

They were all over it especially because this pet store holds pets in open-aired cages so that you can easily pick them up and hold them.  Hamsters, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, and even rats (which we are told by the pet store supervisor are actually very sweet animals who like to be held – yeah, and Attila the Hun was really a darling sweet guy).  Maria darted straight to the pups when we arrived.  And, oh, were there pups!  Some fluffy and round, others pointy-eared and hyper.  Maria found one that was tiny, fluffy, and white like a little duster, and she cradled that pup in her arms like she was its long-lost momma.  Little did Ri know how much I wanted to take him home – he was about the cutest little pumpkin ever but I knew that Cy (our 12-year-old Chesapeake) would not be too excited about that little pumpkin coming into his abode. 

Mario and his hamster

Mario found a furry, light brown mutt who was just as hyper as Mario, and who dragged him around the entire store.   Mario quickly lost interest in the pup when he saw all of the hamsters scurrying around their cage.  He became fascinated with the little plastic “homes” that the hamsters slept under in their cages.  He tortured these poor hamsters by lifting the plastic home constantly – making the hamsters scurry to the next home – and then lifting that home up.  He begged to take home one of the hamsters.  I firmly believe the hamster would have firmly protested against such an idea because whenever Mario picked one up, he squeezed its belly so tight that I thought the hamster’s eyes may pop out. 

The rabbits were another favorite of Maria’s – she enjoyed trying to pick them up and petting their soft, long ears.  Mario also liked the birds and finally got up the courage to feed one some bird seed.  He beamed with pride as the bird nibbled away from his palm.

So, there you go folks, an inexpensive fun night for the entire family (although you do smell like a combination of rodent waste and dog dander when you walk out of the store….).