The thing about having several children is that you invariably end up with lots of pets. At our busiest we had 7 dogs (2, plus 5 puppies), 2 bunnies, 3 cats and 3 chickens. We are now down to 1 dog, 3 cats and a bunny, with 2 guinea pigs on order.
One of the consequences of having so many pets is that sooner or later one of them will die and you will have a distraught child on your hands. Phyllis went through a hamster phase. Her first hamster was lovely, really tame and friendly, but when that one "shed it's coat" she had a horrible vicious thing which bit everyone with its tiny hamster fangs. But like Emily with Bagpuss, Phyllis loved it. When it died, I asked hubby to go and get another one (only £5- bargain!) and tell her once again that it had "shed its coat." Hubby however thought she should be told the truth, as dealing with death is part of life.
That evening I heard the whole story of what had happened...
Hubby had broken the news to Phyllis that Demon Hamster had gone to the great hamster wheel in the sky*
Phyllis was adamant it was just asleep in its house, so to prove that Demon Hamster was in fact dead, hubby shook the hamster house and out thudded a very dead hamster onto the floor in front of Phyllis. Phyllis screamed hysterically and refused to be comforted.
By the time I got home from work, a red-eyed yet much cheerier Phyllis bounded into my arms and excitedly cried, "Mummy, my hamster's dead. It's sad but guess what... DADDY'S BUYING ME A KITTEN!!!" And not just any kitten, oh no. A £50 rescue kitten. £45 more than a new hamster.
So the moral of today's tale? All pets shed their skin from time to time, children. It may make them look different, but they're still the same £5 pet you know and love...
*Code for "It's burning on Beelzebub's barbecue as we speak"
Today: Where does milk come from?
Teaching my kids where food comes from...
Me: What do we get from cows, Phyllis?
Phyllis: Burgers, roast beef and milk.
Me: And what do we get from pigs?
Phyllis (thinks): Pink milk!