by Marie Goodwin
My daughter loves animals. Her room is awash in the stuffed variety, but we haven't been able to have live pets of our own in our house because of my husband's allergies.. No dogs or cats. We do have four guinea pigs, but they can't live with us; so we house them in a friend's basement. Sadie is filled with remorse over our animal-free home, and she is on a mission to correct it.
A hamster... how allergic could daddy be to a hamster?
She has, for months, worn us down. Yesterday, Chris begrudgingly agreed provided that the hamster stay in her room and the cage is kept fastidiously clean. Today, she woke up and started the "Great Hamster Habitat Project."
She pulled boxes out of the garage and, all day long, cut and taped and glued and marked and cut some more until she had created a multi-level home of hamster complexity. Nevermind that the hamster will chew through the box in a nanno-second; she is undeterred in her imagining and creating of the home that she wants to provide for the new addition to our house when the time comes. She cares not one whit that the hamster will live in a plastic habitat like all the other hamsters of the world, because THIS house has a chair and table for her new sister, Ms. Star Hamster (formerly known as Cupcake Hamster.) This house has chutes (and ladders), hiding holes, and secret entrances. This house is fit for a hamster princess.
At one point this evening she looked up from her cutting and taping and said, "I know you love this project I'm working on, mom. You know why I know? I'm not even a LITTLE interested in screen time while I'm creating this....", thinking that is the only reason I would be happy with a day filled with cardboard creativity.
It helps, I'll admit. But it isn't the only reason. What I find important in this work is her ability to delve into something with every ounce of her being and stick with it for 12 hours. Not many kids I know can or will do that... and certainly not for the idea of a pet, the reality of which has yet to be realized.