The phone rang early on Monday morning. “Nurse Flemr, please come to the kindergarten when you can. It is not urgent, but we have a situation with the hamster!”
Fueled by curiosity, I walked to the classroom and found 4 and 5-year-olds gathered around the hamster cage. Over the weekend Oliver (who had been sold to the teacher as a male) had given birth to a litter of eleven. That day Oliver became Olive.
Someone familiar with hamster care advised the teacher to separate the male and female babies since hamsters reproduce at a young age. My job—to “sex” the babies.
My knowledge of hamster anatomy was zilch! Nevertheless, I sat down with a nest of eleven, one inch long, pink, wriggling critters on the table in front of me. I immediately became discouraged with their diminutive physical structures and my face must have shown it.
That was when 4-year-old Eleanor joined me at the table. (You might remember her from my first tale). She always brought brightness, energy, and articulate conversation to any situation. Eleanor placed her hand on my arm and said, “Nurse . . . I can help you . . . I know the difference between girls and boys! You see, nurse . . . boys have . . .uhh . . . boys have . . . uhh . . . . well, uhh. . . . Short hair!”