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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Kitties & Puppies & Munchkins, OH MY!

Before I was a parent, people would say something a la "You can't imagine how much you'll love them till you have a kid." I thought I certainly could imagine. But, no - I couldn't. 

Likewise, parents told me how my priorities would change. Again, they were correct.

A few examples of things that matter less than my daughter's well-being:
  • Her momentary happiness
  • My momentary happiness
  • My well-being
Fortunately, I've never had to put that last one to the test. And, thus far, we've had few conflicts between either of our happiness and her well-being.

This past week, I got a taste of tough choices to come. Simply put: I wanted a cat. I've wanted a cat since a few months after I gave my year-old kitty to a friend in a fit of post-partum anxiety. (Any friends considering an "I told you so," please take a peek at my FB posts from around that time & don't kick a girl for when she was down.)

I further decided that my daughter wanted a cat. She loves our dog, who tolerates her but by no means loves her back. I thought she should have her own pet. So, we decided to try it out. A lovely group (Ana's Angels) was sharing kitties for adoption at PetCo. We took two home as a two-week foster. If it worked, we could adopt them. If not, we could take them back - no questions asked.

Love them she did. She just didn't quite know how to show it. Turns out 17 months is exactly the wrong age to get a girl a kitty. Mobile enough to catch them easily; little enough understanding to grab them by the paw or tail and try to lift them in the air. Oh, and zero ability (interest?) in listening to mommy & daddy sternly shouting "No, no, no!"

It was on the 5th or 6th such incident, when a simple "no, no, no" became "G*D D*MM*T, NO!" - that I realized this foster should not become an adopt

To the kitties' credit, they never retaliated in the least bit. I just feared terribly that some time that would end.I certainly would get fed up with someone lifting my butt in the air by my tail!  I didn't want her hurt; I didn't want them blamed. 

They are absolutely wonderful cats. They just weren't meant to be our cats.

The truth is: I jumped the gun. I confused what I wanted with what she would want. If a pet is going to be hers, she should be old enough to help take care of it ... or at least to name it ... or heck - even to ask for a kitty!

It was tough taking them back to the original foster mommy tonight. I mean look at their sweet faces looking at me on the drive there! But I know it's the right choice for my family at this time.

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I also know that those other parents are going to be right about something else -- it's not going to get any easier. This time, doing what was best for my daughter meant taking two adorable kitties back to a really nice woman, not to some horrible fate. This time, she was too young to argue with me ... or even realize what I was up to.

Overall, it was a positive experience. She does love kitties. Now I know orange tiger kitties are awesome & laid-back. I know that I really really do want a kitty! I also know about a great organization in my town and will seek them out when we are ready to adopt.

2 comments:

  1. Good for you. Don't ever apologize for what works / doesn't work in your house. Being realistic and honest is endearing. And, it helps remind all of us moms out here trudging the same road that "having it all" is an illusion. I'm ok with "having enough". Don't sweat it too much, you'll have a snuggle kitty soon enough. (Unless you decide more babies are on the way first.) My kids do well with the cats, but they are the norm, not a novelty. There may be room in them middle to squeeze a meow-er in there.

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  2. Ohh, I have a hilarious video of Lily shrieking with happiness as she yanks Marlow's back hair and he snapped back at her. He tolerates a lot but he is a mean, grumpy cat who has bitten all of us several times. I am happy we have pets around but even at nearly 4, Lily wouldn't be able to take care of "her" cat. She does a great job overall - makes sure they have food, lets them in the screened porch...now I'm just waiting for when she can scoop the litter :) Oh wait, I have Adam for that!

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