Sunday, April 20, 2014

A True Story

This story is true.

My daughter threw a tantrum the other day. She's a little old for the kicking and screaming type tantrums, but she likes to argue with us, which I suppose is pretty normal. So, for forty-five minutes, we were treated to her arguments as to why she absolutely MUST have a hamster.

It started out simply enough: "Mom, dad, can I have a hamster?" To which we replied, of course, "No." (I say "of course" because, obviously, if we had said "yes," well: no story.)

We got crying, we got shouting, we got "I'm going to my room because you don't love me!" Of course, when you hear that, you know  the last place the kid is going to stay is in her room. She popped out and stood on the stairs just a few minutes later.

"Why can't I have a hamster?"

Well, you know, as I get older, I find that all the things that my parents did that annoyed the heck out of me are now things that I do that annoy the heck out of my kids. I don't know if my parents did them purposely to annoy me, like their parents did to them, but I know I do it a good portion of the time just to annoy my kids.

"Because I said so."

Well, that set off quite a storm. She asked my wife, "Why do you hate animals?" Of course, my wife DOESN'T hate animals and she noted that she had volunteered at an animal shelter when she was in school as proof. The reply: "Well, then you hate FUN! You're a FUN-HATING ANIMAL-HATER!"

How does one respond to that? One way NOT to is to break out in laughter, which is , of course, exactly what we did.

Never laugh at an angry 10-year-old girl.


"We don't need a hamster."

"We don't NEED a dog, but we HAVE a dog."

"Well, we already have her and we're not going to get rid of her."

"Well then, lets get a hamster, put in in a cage and put it in my room. Then I'll ask if I can have a hamster, you can say 'no' and I'll say 'But WE ALREADY HAVE ONE!'"

It's hard to refute that sort of argument and harder still to stop laughing, especially once you've already started.

So, like I said, this went on for about forty-five minutes. It was all highly entertaining. But it didn't end there. Oh, no.

The next morning, when I got up to go to work, there was a note taped to the bathroom door: "Buy me a hamster. OR ELSE." Which is a lot funnier than it sounds, because in her case, "OR ELSE" usually means "Or I will nag you incessantly until you give in." And she does, in entertaining ways.

So, when I finished in the bathroom, I went to collect my cell phone off the charger and when I checked to make sure it was fully charges, I saw the wallpaper had been changed to a screen shot of a Google search for "Hamster Pictures." So, every time I use my cell phone, she nags me for a hamster.

Then, yesterday, she said, "I can't wait for Easter." I asked her why. "Because that's when the Easter Bunny is bringing my hamster." This time, I looked her straight in the eye and told her "Ain't Happening." She looked a little sad, but then said. "Then maybe he could bring me a guitar." Which made me happy. Because that was, in fact, EXACTLY what the Easter Bunny was bringing her. Also because she's going to learn to play it, write her own songs and become rich and famous and take care of me in my old(er) age.

Anyway, a happy aside to the story is that the day after she argued so forcefully for a hamster, she came home with a report card that had 5 As out of 8 grades, which is pretty good. The other three were A-plusses, which are very hard to get (99-100%). Almost all her grades have gone up over the course of the year, including her math grade (98%), and she is reading 6 years ahead of her grade level.

I don't claim to be able to see the future, but something tells me that there might be a hamster in hers.

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