The Great Hamster Debate, 2011.

My kids want a hamster.

I do not.

Eight years ago, my wife wouldn’t drop the subject of a cat.  So we got a cat.  Two years ago, my wife and the kids, as one unified voice (and not far from pitchforks and torches), ganged up on me about getting a dog as a pet.  So we got a dog.  Now the idea of a hamster has come up.  Despite my protests, my family’s insistence on getting a hamster rages on.  They’re like cute tiny lobbyists whose tactics include rolling their eyes and saying “please Daddy” a lot.

I respect their determination even if I don’t agree with what they are so determined about.  It is with that thought in mind, and in the spirit of democracy, I thought it would be a good idea to have a debate about the hamster.  No more ridiculous a premise to debate about than most of what the Grand Old Party debates on (“What would you bring to the White House if elected?”… I rest my case) and I thought it would be good to let my kids’ voices be heard.

As a twist, at the end, I invite commenters to vote.  Yea or nay for the hamster. We will take all your votes in to consideration.   Also, as a bonus, any commenters who would like to ask my children a question may do so and I will have them answer your questions in the ‘Reply’.  Scouts’ honor.

So without further ado, I welcome you to the 2011 Hamster Debate.

Welcome to Birdsboro, Pennsylvania and my living room for this historic debate.  Tonight, you will be given a look inside the debate of one family as they try to decide whether or not to purchase a hamster.  Not quite the same as listening to Rick Perry fumble through a response to Mitt Romney but not far off either.

Each participant (me and the kids) will have either 1 minute or until I tell them to be quiet to answer the questions posed by the moderator, their mother.  The debate will last until I say so or it’s bed time.  Let’s meet our debaters.

Hannah is a 9 year old 4th Grader who likes American Girl Dolls, playing with her friends, playing soccer, and reading.  Emma is a 6 year old 1st Grader who likes riding her bike, jumping off of furniture, and drinking my coffee when I’m not looking.  Our moderator is my lovely, smart, understanding wife, Alicia (who told me flattery will get me nowhere but it is worth a shot). And of course, me, dad.

Let’s get started.

A:  “Hannah.  Hamsters are a bit of an investment in the beginning. Cage, exercise wheel, food, etc.  What is your plan to cover these costs?”

H:  “Thanks Mommy.  I have lots of money saved up from my birthday and Christmas. I’ll even use my Tooth Fairy money.”

E: “I have money too!”

D: “I think you’re all forgetting that while you might have the startup money, you don’t have the sustained funds. That means we are going to have to make cuts somewhere. Anyone willing to give? Anyone? No. This means I will have to pay to feed and take care of this rodent. Yeah, it’s a rodent.”

E: “Nu-uh Daddy!”

D: “Yuh-huh!”


A:  “Emma, what would you name your hamster?”

D: “Really?”

E:  “If it’s a girl, I will name it Princess and if it’s a boy I will name it Cookie.”

D:  “Cookie isn’t a boy’s name Em.”

E: “Yes it is!”


A:  “Hannah, if you were to get a hamster, what would you do with it?”

H:  “I would feed him.  I would change out his stuff on the bottom after he goes to the bathroom. I would pet him, let him run around my room and let him sleep with me in my bed.”

A:  “Adorable. Emma?”

E:  “I would hug him. And he could sleep in my bed too.”

D:  “Whoa, no way are you letting a rodent sleep in bed with you. And Hannah, you barely take care of the dog and cat, the animals you said you would take care of.  In fact, none of you take care of those animals outside of petting them and giving them treats. I walk the dog. I pick up poop with Wal-Mart bags and clean out the litter box.”

E:  “Thanks Daddy.”

D:  “You’re welcome Sweetheart.”


A:  “We already have a dog and a cat, so what’s the big deal if we get a hamster you big jerk?”

D:  “Jerk? Really?”

A:  “Answer the question.”

D:  “The big deal is it’s another mouth to feed. Another thing I have to clean up after. When the hamster gets out and runs under the water heater, it’s going to be me who is going to have to risk a dislocated finger trying to get it out. Not to mention what will happen if the dog gets a hold of it. Do I have to remind you about when ‘Puffy met Bugsy’ when I was a kid?”

A:  “Our dog would never do that.”

D:  “She’s licking her mouth even as we speak.”

H:  “Uh, Daddy, I did say I would feed him and clean up his stuff.”

A:  “Hannah, I believe you when you say that but we’re talking about a big commitment.”

E:  “I’ll help too.”

D:  “You’ll all help for a week and then it will be my job. Like the cat. Like the dog.”

A, E, and H:  “NU-UH!!”


A:  “So, what if the kids would take care of the hamster full time?”

D:  “I think their track record would suggest they will not.”

H:  “Daaaadddy!! I will!”

D:  “Hannah, I think you mean well, but I don’t think you will.”

H:  “Then you can help Daddy.”

E:  “I’ll help too.”

D:  “But I don’t want to help. I don’t want a hamster.”

A:  “That is just mean.”

D:  “You’re really not helping here.”


A:  “In conclusion, please sum up why you think a hamster would be a good idea. If you’re a jerk, explain why you think a hamster is not a good idea.”

H:  “I think it would be a good idea because Emma and I can take care of it.  I’ll keep it in my room too.  And I really, really, really want a hamster.”

E:  “I really want one too. I want to show him my room.”

D:  “Ahem.  I think a hamster would not be a good idea because I don’t think it is smart for the kids to use their money on something like that…”

A:  “Then why don’t you pay for it?”

D:  “May I finish?  Thank you.  For the girls to use their money on a hamster.  Add in the cost of taking care of the hamster, when the kids forget to feed the hamster or don’t change its, stuff, and it starts to smell, the responsibility will fall on my shoulders.  Also, we have two pets now.  Why do we need a third?  And, I cannot emphasize this enough.  Hamsters are rodents.  Like rats. And further more…”

A:  “TIME! Thank you all.  I think I have my answer.”

D:  “Can I talk to you in the kitchen…alone?”

A:  “No.  Goodnight!”


14 responses to “The Great Hamster Debate, 2011.

  1. One of my flaws as a parent was never being able to win an “Uh-Huh ” “Nu-uh”argument successfully. This resulted in two different attempts at keeping a puppy.The first one was too jumpy and scared the kids so I had to feed, play and clean up after it. After finding a home for the first one, a few years passed and the kids wanted another one.

    Selective memory is a great thing for kids. They swore it would be better. As John Belushi used to say on SNL,” But, NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”. This didn’t turn out any better than the first one.

    So, as a dad, I understand your dilemma and I know you know there is no chance you will not end up with a hamster.


  2. We had a hamster, and it got out of the cage. The dog actually did eat it. You’re right. The end. Plus, they smell.


  3. Love it! Laughed the whole way through. winning is losing. :0)


  4. First, my father had a dog that visited friends with a hamster … and then they didn’t have a hamster any more. It was sudden and savage and, from what I’ve told, a little awesome.

    To his credit, the newly bereaved owner of the hamster thought so as well and immediately said to his parents: “Can we get a dog?”

    Second, I hear your pain. My son came into this world with two cats already in the house. Jake and Elwood were a left-over from my bachelor days and thus they did not see any reason why they should change their habits just because their house had been invaded by something that pulled their tails. But the boy eventually grew to love at least one of them (Elwood).

    Having been toughened up by living a life tended by bachelors who were also furniture movers, Jake and Elwood both defied the odds and lived into their 20s with little or no care from a veterinarian. Thus, when Jake finally died, I vowed we would not get more cats (even as the lad begged and continues to beg) until he would commit to cleaning the cat box.

    He committed but hedged when I said the penalty for failing to do so would be the removal of the PlayStation 2 from the house. (Wish I’d thought of that when I agreed to pay him allowance if he took out the recycling, which he “totally” said he would do).

    But I digress.

    My question to you both, Hannah and Emma, is this: “What will you be willing to live without among your many things if you fail to live up to the promise to clean out the hamster cage regularly (without complaint. Very important)?”

    The Internet eagerly awaits your response.


    • I will make sure they respond tomorrow. Thanks Evan. “First, my father had a dog that visited friends with a hamster … and then they didn’t have a hamster any more. It was sudden and savage and, from what I’ve told, a little awesome.” – Classic.


    • Dear Evan,
      From Hannah: That’s tough because I have a lot of good things. Does it have to be something I use? I would give up my gourmet cupcake maker.
      From Emma: My Dad’s phone (no Emma, it has to be something that is yours, not mine)…then my Nintendo DS.


  5. Wow, they’re actually willing.

    Perhaps they should do without now, you know, to test how it will feel when they fail to keep their hamster promises.


  6. Well, we both knew you were going to lose this debate, what counts is how valiantly you fought it.

    Well done sir!


  7. I’m on your side. I guess that makes me a jerk too. It always falls to the daddy to do when everyone else gets tired of it. Just make sure you get extra beer for yourself out of the bargin. That is, if you like beer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s