Dear Jack: Your Hamster’s New Aquarium

9 years.

Dear Jack,

It turns out, cages sold for hamsters aren’t truly intended for the type of hamster you have. A teddy bear hamster, or Syrian Hamster, is much happier in an aquarium; as opposed to a cage.

So last week, on a random school night, I took you to the pet store to help me pick out a 20 gallon aquarium for Alpha.

Not only is he clearly much happier in the open space, but it is undeniable that you are much more excited to have a pet hamster now!

You are actively involved and excited each evening when we get him out to play.

Plus, it is much easier to clean his home that he predictably pees in the same corner now! Out with the cage, in with the aquarium.

Love,

Daddy

My 2019 Year in Review: 5 Things That Defined My Life in the Final Year of the 2010s- Existential Crisis, Jeep Wrangler, 20th High School Reunion…

I only recently realized that we are actually coming to the end of another decade. This decade itself has presented several major milestones for me:

2010: I became a parent for the first time when my son Jack was born.

2011: I turned 30 years old. Parents Magazine chose me as their official daddy blogger- a side gig that was last the next 4 years.

2012: I became the manager of the retention department at my employer at the time, which triggered my fascination with emotional intelligence- especially, the concept that being offended is always a person decision.

2013: My wife and I became debt-free, other than our mortgage.

2014: We started building our new house.

2015: We moved into our brand-new house; having previously owned a town home. I also started my first YouTube channel, which currently has over 8K subscribers and earns me an average of $500 per month.

2016: Four days after my 35th birthday, my daughter was born.

2017: The company I had been working for the past 11 years closed down my branch, starting a 6 month stretch of me being a stay-at-home dad.

2018: I made by television debut on the Lifetime Network show, This Time Next Year. I also got a new job, at a Fortune 500 Company, where I have now worked a year and a half.

As for 2019, there are 5 particular events that come to mind…

1- Existential crisis: Having reached all my major life goals before the age 40, I came to a point where I had to re-evaluate my goals and ambitions.

2- Jeep Wrangler: After owning my Honda Element since 2006, I finally got a new” vehicle- a 2010 Jeep Wrangler JK 6 Speed.

3- 20th Year High School Reunion: My wife and I had a great time with the people I grew up with and graduated with in 1999.

4- Releasing Original Songs: So far, my wife and I have released 4 new original songs together on my YouTube channel. Despite both moving to Nashville to start music careers, we had never publicly performed together.

5- 1st Family Pet: Despite our “no pet” policy in our home, my son wanted a teddy bear hamster for his 9th birthday. Ultimately, the hamster quickly became my pet- or at best, the “family” pet.

Now, with the 2020s ahead of me, I shall enter the decade in which I turn 40 and became of the parent of two teenagers. That ought to be fun.

At Age 38, I Am Now the Proud New Owner of a Teddy Bear Hamster (Formerly My 9 Year-Old Son’s Birthday Gift)

Two weeks ago, my wife and I finally cracked on our “no pets in our home, ever” policy, when our son authentically and repeatedly asked for a pet hamster for his 9th birthday.

Being the extremely frugal Jewish-minded parents we are, we cut a deal with our son:

If you buy the cage, we’ll buy the hamster.

So after he went all out and spent $50 on the coolest hamster cage ever, my wife and I dropped the $16 required to purchase a hamster.

Things were off to a shaky start of our son’s pet ownership when as he was attempting to place the hamster in its cage, it bit him on the hand, drawing blood.

I felt bad. So I took it upon myself to hand-tame the 3 month-old hamster.

By Thanksgiving, I had successfully trained the hamster to crawl out of the cage into his hamster ball. Naturally, the rodent and I began to bond.

Throughout the process, I continually invited my son to be a part of the process. He just wasn’t that impressed.

With a 30 day return policy, I began openly talking about returning the hamster. At first, he pleaded against the idea.

But this past weekend, he actually asked if we could return the hamster.

Well… too late.

Because I had already told my wife the day before, “The hamster openly shows me it appreciates me. It depends on me yet I don’t feel taken for granted. I will adopt the hamster as my own.”

I admit, there’s undeniably some psychology in there. I accept that, often, as a parent, you don’t get much verbal appreciation from your kids.

Granted, I’m a grown man. I don’t need confirmation to know I am loved or appreciated.

But the hamster is able to provide something my son is not in this time in his development.

Therefore, the hamster and I now have a symbiotic relationship:

I clean his cage, feed and water him, and provide entertaining exercise for him.

He crawls up to the cage door anytime he is awake and sees me, as if to say, “Hey Buddy, I’m ready to come out so you can take care of me.”

My son named him Alpha. I’m keeping the name. He’s the alpha male of hamsters.

Dear Jack: Your New Pet Teddy Bear Hamster Named Alpha

9 years old.

Dear Jack,

Well, it happened. We did it.

Mommy and I let you get our family’s first ever pet.

You decided on a Teddy Bear Hamster who you named Alpha.

With this being our first week into it, as the nice helpful lady at Petco explained, it’s going to take several days for your hamster to get accustomed to our family.

So each day after school, as a family, we have been letting him out of his cage and so he can get used to us petting his back.

Hopefully soon, we’ll be at the point where you can easily pick him up and hold him.

I think this is a good thing for you!

Love,

Daddy