Tuesday, April 6

A letter from my 7 1/2 year old and some responses.

Early last month my first grader had a writing assignment to write an actual snail mail letter. She wrote it to me:

Dear Mom,

I WANT a hambster. I want a habster because I never had a Pet and I want to know what it fels like to have a Pet. I will feed it and You will clene the cage.

Love So much


Her teacher wrote at the bottom in red pen:

Why do you deserve a pet?

I responded with this:

It's a gerbil, actually, as they are said to be a bit more social and a bit less nocturnal than hamsters.

At last night's salon we talked about what to name her. I want a bloggy name but I was afraid if I named her Jane she might set fire to her own cage, and if I named her Digby she'd just want to write brilliantly all the time and I'd get very very jealous.

Some at the salon suggested Gilly. A heartfelt suggestion, but really, this rodent is small, female, and fair of color. Not a good match.

The kids want to name her "Jessica Awesome." I have no idea where that came from, and it seems a little "Kim Possible"-ish to me, but time will tell.

In the meantime she survived the night, she's eating and chewing the toilet paper roll we gave her, and she hasn't growled once at anyone.

The first grader, to her credit, read aloud to Jessica Awesome for over 45 minutes last night.

I have a little shelf in the dining room where her cage fits, but the kids want her at eye level on the dining room table for now. Will that become her permanent spot? Ya think?


  1. Why do you deserve a pet? Why does that teacher deserve my boot up her ass? (In red pen). Blue Gal you did good!

  2. Ha@ You will clean the cage. Division of labor? Jessica Awesome is perfect (JA, with Jamaican accent?).

  3. Gee, another brilliant teacher writing dumbass comments on kids' papers.

    I think Jessica Awesome is awesome in its very awesomeness.

  4. I once had a white rat named The Amazing Larry. She was a great pet except she chewed the leather patches off the backs of Levis.

    I hope your family gets a lot of pleasure out of sharing space with Jessica Awesome.

  5. Anonymous11:24 AM

    Who needs a hambster when you can have as sanake?

  6. Gerbils are very social - you may wish to consider a same-sex 'mate' for her, the feed bill won't go up much and they can share the same environment peacefully.
    They love grains and seeds, but tend to chew plastic so avoid hamster tunnels, and get them a steel wheel for exercise.


  7. You do know you never actually had naming rights, eh? The kids should call it what ever they want, and change the name if they please - the gerbil won't care. Good for you for letting the beast into your house. My advice; keep it far away from the dining room, if you intend to eat there. You'll understand why in a couple of days.

    I wouldn't be harsh on the teacher. Her comment read to me like a constructive suggestion. If you want people to do something for you, it is generally best to offer at least a token justification.

  8. I also suspect, Graham, in spite of the teacher using the unfortunate word, "deserve", that "why you should get your request" was part of the assignment. That's this particular teacher's M.O.

  9. My niece named her cat "Vincent Donkeyflyer", so Jessica Awesome sounds pretty normal.

  10. I would have gone for the hambster, myself, or better yet Guinna Pig, which of course is a delicacy in Latin America, know down there as Cuy...

    We had hambsters (I love that spelling) when I was a kid. Mine was named Timmy El Magnifico (really!) and my sister's was Plain Jane Weather Vane (I have no idea why). My brother had two parakeets, Oscar and Cleopatra. Take THAT Shakespeare!.

    As for the teacher, well, I cut her some slack. It sounds like it was part of the assignment to persuade. Now why she things adorable little tots need help in this department is beyond me, but I think your response is spot-on.



  11. Cute pet- a lot can be learned from caring for a living creature. The question of naming reminds me of a girl I know who named her pet rat Gandhi- as in "My Ratma Gandhi"... Do you suppose they'll end up calling her Jessie? Or perhaps (on formal occasions) Miss Awesome?

    -Doug in Oakland

  12. StonyPillow8:48 PM

    Why do you deserve a pet?

    My children's teachers have no business hearing my many sins and transgressions for which I ended up deserving my children's pets. Under no circumstances should you fess up, either.

    BTW, progress as quickly as possible on getting the little booger hand trained, and get it to expect treats from your hand. That way it will know what to do when the kids "accidentally" let her loose and she gets lost. Which they are to be instructed not to do, at least until it's hand trained.

    If it ends up giving up the gerbilly ghost between the walls, you may be living with an unpleasant smell for a longish time (bitter experience).

  13. Love the name Jessica Awesome. My brother and I had two hamsters when we were young. I wanted to call them George and Herman. My brother won--he called them Candy and Fluffy. And he's the straight one. Go figure.

  14. Jes' Awesome is good a name as any.
    Good thing the kid did not ask for a Komodo dragon, armadillo, or Orangutan!

  15. ...Miss Awesome if you're nasty! Love the podcast, by the way.

  16. Younger Daughter's "hambsters" in chronological order, starting age 6:

    King Samuel

    Plus two or three others whose names I'm forgetting at the moment. Hambsters don't live long, alas. But these hambsters were well loved while they were here. At the passing of each one there would be genuine grief, and a funeral. And soon after, a shopping trip for a new hambster. She kept hambsters until she went to college.

    Eventually, she learned to clene the cages herself.

  17. So, are you clening the cage yet?


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