My daughter knew her father would be a tough sell on getting him convinced she could have a hamster.
We have a cat and a dog and despite my request for a houseful of kittens, he says that we have all the pets we’ll ever have.
Emma is a pretty clever kid.
So she knew that if she left the gate with just, “Dad, can I have a hamster?” the answer would be “NO”.
She decided to come up with a plan.
First- clean your room or bathroom, wherever you plan on keeping the little furry rodent’s dwelling.
Second- don’t ask for anything for awhile and come across as very low maintenance.
Three- have ovary surgery where they rearrange your insides.
Okay, that’s not fair. Not every kid can pull the surgery card, but it does work well if you do have it in your deck.
Find a time when dad isn’t stressed or just came home from work, isn’t distracted by a World Cup game, watching the NBA draft, or finishing his roster for coaching your brother’s soccer game. Yeah, if you understood that sentence, that means there’s very little time dad isn’t stressed or distracted.
Have a whole bunch of your babysitting money saved up so you don’t ask your parents for funding this furry venture.
Once you’ve accomplished all the above, sit down with your dad casually. Probably while he’s chilling with a beer.
And then in your sweetest, yet direct on mature, but not too mature voice, ask, “A lot of my friends have gotten them, and I know it seems weird at first, but I think you’ll consider the idea, can I get a belly button piercing?” Then hold for dramatic pause.
Then when he looks at you in shock, appease his worries with soft laughter,
“Ha ha, I’m just kidding.” “But rather, actually, can I have a hamster?” Then look him squarely in the eye and smile.
Ha! See? It’s the old ‘bait and switch’ tactic!
Once the shock of the thought of his little girl getting some kind of ornamental piercing hanging from a part of her body that he once bathed and applied ointment to the first few days after birth to ensure it healed properly, he can wrap his head around a furry little friend joining your home that pees and poos in a cage of wood shavings.
If at first he gives you the no answer answer, which goes like, “Oh, a hamster, ha ha. I get it. Hmmm…” and then goes back to his beer and laptop, don’t fret. That’s not actually a ‘No’. It’s a non-answer that just hangs in the air. What’s critical here is not to press him. Just go with the flow.
If you’re mom is already on board and supporting you with the decision, then let her do the closing.
Do your research and maybe mention a few people you know who have experience with hamsters as pets. Stress the low maintenance feature. Dad’s appreciate this.
It doesn’t hurt to take a trip to a few pet stores and scope out the one you want to get. Once you find the one you fall in love with, bring back these anecdotes of how you held the cutest, sweetest hamster of the bunch and we wouldn’t want him to get purchased by someone else.
Have your mom approach him casually with, “well, Emma’s gotten all she needs for her hamster and we’ll head to the pet store tomorrow to bring him home. It really was the cutest one and it liked her immediately.”
When your mom helps convince your dad, you’ve hit a home run.
Bring that fur ball home and congratulations! You are now the owner of a tiny rodent.
Oh, and the pee and the bedding do stink. I’m not gonna lie. Be sure to tidy it daily, and clean its shavings weekly. If the smell overwhelms your parents, you’ve failed at the hamster parenting task and they’ll never trust you again.
For part two of this story, stay tuned on how to retrieve your hamster from the floor boards when you lose him behind the bathroom cupboard. That was fun. (sarcasm font)