3/25/2011

Mars and hamster moms

Last week on spring break Theo wanted to see "Mars Needs Moms." He rarely asks to see a movie, so we went together one afternoon and settled in with our 3D glasses and popcorn. It's a Disney movie, so you know the plot: a crisis in the parent/child relationship ensues immediately. Ten minutes in the boy says to mom, "I wish I didn't have a mom." The martians come and steal her, and off we go into the plot.

Theo heard that line, took off his 3D glasses, and slumped in his chair. I asked him what was wrong and he said, "This movie isn't funny." We left shortly after, even though I kept reassuring him the boy was going to save him mom from the martians.

Two days later Zane and I were at the pet store to get him a hamster (round 2) for Zane Day. Zane Day is our version of Adoption Day, a day we celebrate becoming a family (on March 24, 2000 at 11:10 a.m. Zane was handed to us in Bogota, Colombia.) We looked at all the hamsters then asked for help. The guy picked each one up and showed us, commenting on the qualities: black, white, small, quick, friendly, etc. He picked one out of a cage high up and it leapt out of his hand and went sploot on the floor. He calmly picked it up and put it back in the cage. I decided we wouldn't get that one.

It came down to two teddy bear hamsters sharing a cage, a mother and child. Zane hesitated, then choose the baby. The guy was busy boxing the hamster up for us and I, with a gnawing in my stomach, looked at Zane. His face was full of emotion. I waited a moment, wondering what to do. This was our adoption day remembrance, after all.

"Doesn't feel right, does it?" I said.
"I don't like taking the baby away from the mom," he said.
Hesitation....
"Do you want to get both of them?" I said.
His face lit up. "Can we?"

Zane told the pet store guy this was his Adoption Day gift. The guy stared at Zane a long moment and said, "I'm adopted, too." Long silence.

Well, we brought two hamsters home.

Kelly immediately asked questions about incest and inbreeding (not the conversation we expected for adoption day) (to which Zane said, "That's nasty") and whether the two could share one cage or not. By the end of the week we had two complete hamster setups. The mom and child (gender unknown) live in an upstairs/downstairs sort of arrangement on Zane's bookshelves.

A lot of money wasted last week, perhaps, and a lot of silliness involved: I paid for two movie tickets (Imax, 3D) and we saw only part of the movie. I went to get one hamster and came home with two, then immediately separated the two hamsters we couldn't part in the store so they wouldn't fight or do anything "nasty." But I was moved by both my tender sons' reactions to the separation of mothers and their children, Disney and pet store style.