the life and times of owning pets, and the reason i renamed my cats

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long ago, probably about five, six, maybe seven, eight years ago brad announced he knew someone, or talked to them in passing, or something, and mentioned that the person had told him about a cute, little, itty-bitty, barely-born, newly-arrived kitten.

he wondered if he could have it.

hum.

i have forever been opposed to pets because kids tend to think all they have to do is pretty much nothing. just occasionally (operative word here) engage with their newly obtained hobby. goldfish died due to an overload of food. while on the other hand, hamsters starved to death.

for me, it was too much to handle. little kids running around asking mommy this, mommy that, mommy, mommy mommy, which caused me to forget there was a pet in the house. i had tunnel vision. hence, supervised kids. unsupervised critters.

which meant no more pets. no. never. not on my watch.

until brad showed me, and roberto (a huge pet advocate), an adorable photo of the kitten he had mentioned. he caught me off guard. sly kid. the kitten’s big green eyes and fluffy fur was hard to resist, for all of us, apparently. please, please, please they both whispered, hands clasped into steeples, prayer-mode.

ok, i said.

say what? what did i say? i asked myself.

really?! they both screamed.

really, i mumbled.

as they were walking out the front door, i said, bring home two. (again, what the heck was going on with me?)

two? you sure?

yeah, you know, to play together.

within the hour they brought home Cassandra and Skyler (named later that afternoon by the boys). fraternal twins. one black, one multicolored. both with green eyes.

i was smitten.

still am.

roberto recently moved out and brad is a busy 17 year old. both engaged elsewhere, most of the time. so, aside from brad allowing them to sleep in his room, the girls belong to me. i tend to them 99% of the time, and i even renamed them. (the kids don’t know this, they’d probably think i’ve gone bonkers, but oh well, a caretaker’s got to do what a caretaker’s got to do, right?)

cassandra’s now-name is chicka-chicka-boom-boom (which, ironically, is the title of an adorable kid’s book about the lower case letters of the alphabet climbing a tree, thinking they know what’s what) because of her diva personality and i refer to skyler as skitter. so sweet, yet so nervous. she has never been able to fully relax.

ah, there she is. I can hear chicka-chicka-boom-boom’s deep guttural mew call me.  she wants in the house for a quick nibble of chow and a full-on vigorous back rub. she likes her cheeks gently caressed as well.

spoiled. i know.

 

twirl me a dress

liz, age 3:4Liz was about 4 years old when she discovered she actually had a say in the kinds of clothing she could wear. Not to say I didn’t dress her as cute as a button. I did. But, she realized at some point that all she had to do was simply say no and I’d move on to the next outfit, until we found something that made, not only me happy, but even more so, her excited.

One afternoon, I took her shopping for a dress. A fancy one. We were going to attend my brother’s wedding and I wanted her to fancy it up. Together, we scanned the racks, admiring extremely cute dresses. Yet, each time Liz would say no, no, and no.

I gathered a bundle of appropriate dresses and walked her into the well-lit dressing room. Arms up, dress on. Again and again. Over and over. Liz would look in the mirror, then down at the floor. No. she’d say.

Leaving behind a pile of dresses, we walked out, back into the children’s section, to give it one last go.
And there it was. A beautiful, lacy-collared, cloth buttons up the front, cream colored, flouncy dress. “No,” is all she said when I held it up for her to admire. “Let’s just try it,” I told her, as I slipped my hand into hers, and walked her back into the dressing room. Arms up, dress on. Liz looked at herself. Just looked. Not saying anything.

“Twirl,” I advised her.

That did it.

She twirled and twirled and twirled. Around and around. Watching in the mirror as the dress flew up, and out. So fun! A big smile on her face. “Yes!” she happily said.

From that moment forward, the twirl test was the determining factor for whether a dress was worthy or not. Depending on how far it would flare out. Not how it looked on the hanger. Dress shopping became a bit easier from then on. Just a bit.