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4 kittens

I've been waiting for this moment for a long time.

Posted on 2016.11.20 at 22:11
It's birthday week! Also ER week. Also cold, dirty kittens week, and going-away party week.

1. Ace woke us up on Thursday night, and climbed into bed us. She was wheezing and struggling to breathe. "Ace," I asked, "are you having trouble breathing?"
"YES!" she said, as though she knew something was wrong, but hadn't been able put her finger on it. She sat up.

So we packed up for the ER. As soon as she was upright and moving around, the intensity started to subside, so after the initial shock, I wasn't scared for her safety.

On the way to the ER, she had the most curious monologue:
"Princesses don't die when they get old."
"They don't?"
"No. They turn into fruit."


"I tricked you and didn't wear underwear to school," (that part is true), "and my bottom felt SO GOOD. My pants were so soft and comfy! Underwear hurts my bottom."


"Red, this, and green." (I had to clarify that a few times.)
"Tick tock, tick tock, it's forty pm!"


"We don't drink water in my family."
"We don't?"
"No, my other family. We don't drink water, we drink medicine."

and, while sitting on the potty:
"I don't know when I'm going to get my first purse, when I grow up."
Me: "Do you have to poop?"
"No, I'm just organizing my body. I think it's going to be a Frozen purse."

I had to turn on my phone to record the audio, her bon mots were coming so fast and furious. Otherwise I never could have retained all these.

They gave her some prednisone and said it was bronchiolitis, and sent us home by 6:45 am on Rascal's 2nd birthday.

2. Rascal is two! As previously noted, two is a tough birthday around these parts. On your second birthday:

  • you lose your pacifier. (We did this the night before, so that the worst screams would get out of the way.)

  • you have to wait until everyone is sitting at the table to start eating. (This one is easy, you just withhold his plate until everyone is sitting down.)

  • you have to eat your vegetables. (This was a doozy. He went to his crib several times. We showed him the cake and presents that were waiting. He chewed the green beans up and then spit them out. We watched Yo Gabba Gabba's Party in my Tummy. Somehow Brobee singing about the crying green beans did the trick. Rascal ate the pre-chewed green bean finally.)

  • you have to brush your teeth. (This one will mostly be fine, he generally likes brushing his teeth, except when he doesn't want to stop playing.)

It was a tough birthday. But after the green beans, we had delicious homemade cake and delicious homemade presents.

He was really proud of his HEB basket:

The labels are still amazing:

Can of corn included for scale.

Lactose free! Calorie counts! Ingredient lists! All so tiny.

E. Messily made him one hell of an adorable monster:

3. The next day, we had a going away party for E. Messily, who will be moving back to Montana next month.  It was not particularly sad and somber, because the move isn't that imminent. "See you tomorrow!" E. said cheerfully, hugging one of the guests goodbye. But our arrangement is coming to a close.

4. Pokey had his 6th birthday party:

"I'm six, and I earned 535 tickets. Well, I earned 185 and got 350 for being the birthday boy. This inflatable alien cost 500 tickets, and then I got these vampire teeth for 20 tickets, this tiny pirates' chest for ten tickets, and this ring."

"I ran around like a manic roomba for 90 minutes."

"I laid down on the picnic table bench and said, 'I'm going to take a nap before eating my pizza.' Then I threw up all over the place on the drive home."

Pokey's actual birthday is next Saturday.

Hawaii started puking in the morning, and continued all day, so did not attend the party. She felt pretty awful. She loved it when I pointed out how green her skin looked after throwing up, and repeated that to anybody who was nearby.

I was also sluggish all day, and my stomach hurt, but I didn't actually throw up.

5. I came home on Friday. The neighbor baby was out on the sidewalk, holding a dangling baby kitten by the neck, by his hands. I rushed over, "Hi Leelee! Let's put the kitty down! Put the kitty down! Where is your mama?" He released the kitten. We looked for mama, who was inside cooking, and who then discovered that baby Leelee can open doors and escape. I led him back inside.

All this is to say that they have two tiny, affectionate kittens who are often getting strangled, have gross weepy eyes, are pretty dirty and stinky, and who got kicked out of the house for peeing everywhere. Skinny and flea-riddled, but boy do they crave affection. They are too little to have been separated from their mom.

The neighbors left for the weekend. The kittens showed up on our porch. They were cold and hungry.  I took them back to their own house, fed them, and left them with a basket and a towel.

(I stopped to take a photo of this, in their front yard:

What is it with this town and machetes?!)

We messaged the neighbors to let them know that the kittens were loose. They said a sister was coming to stay there that night.

I went back at the end of the night to get our basket and towel, and the kittens were still out. "Who's there?" a woman asked, from inside the house.
"The neighbor," I answered meekly, "dropping off some cat food."
It was supposed to be around freezing temperatures overnight. We messaged the neighbor again, "It's supposed to freeze. Can you tell your sister to bring them in?"
She said she would. We went to bed.

I woke up around 3:30, thinking about the kittens. I figured I could just go peek from the street. I walked over. There were the two tiny, freezing, huddled kittens. GODDAMNIT. They're so skinny and sickly, gross eyes, fleas. Too young to be separated from their mother. I'm honestly not sure they could survive the night.

I packed them up, took them back to our house, and stuck them in the bathroom. The pooped on the towel. I'll be super annoyed if our cats get fleas from them.

They are so sweet and cuddly, and purr-y, though.

6. "There are two spyers," said Pokey.
"Spies," I corrected.
"Spy rolls," Pokey said.
"Spy rolls?" I repeated.
"SPY ROLLS," and he drew descending connected circles with his finger.
"Oh! Spirals! Go on."
"One is a mystery, and the other is a solution. The mystery one has only unwrapped a little bit, and the solution one is still wrapped up. In Harry Potter."
We started reading Harry Potter this month. We're having a good time with it.

Pokey has a Star Wars toothbrush that utters a Kylo Ren monologue for thirty seconds while you brush. "I've been waiting for this moment for a long time," the toothbrush says in his super-deep voice, as an opener. "You know why I've brought you here today."

I like to say in a low gravelly voice, "I've been waiting for this moment for a long time," whenever the kids finally put their underwear on, or buckle their seat belts, or finally wrap up whatever excessively slow task they've been dragging their feet on. Say it with me: I think I'm hilarious.

7.  The kids won awards:

Hawaii won this for her poster on Yellowstone Park. (I failed to photograph the actual poster; I assume we'll see it again.) These days "poster" means "decorate the inside of a manila folder".  This is very convenient - it folds in half, fits in their back-pack, and is cheap.

Pokey won this for scariest pumpkin, except he hadn't entered the contest. We were confused, briefly thought about returning the award, and then lost all interest in the topic.

Hawaii also won a small glass milk bottle full of candy corn, for most closely guessing the number of candy corn inside it. So "candy corn" is its own plural, am I right? Or amirite.

8. Someone put this neo-Nazi poster up in our friend's bakery bathroom:

I told my parents about it. My mom was aghast, and said, "I hope they took it down, fast before anyone saw it! And didn't let anyone know!"
I said sternly, "Mom! No! They wrote a letter that went viral on Facebook and they're calling city council and protesting and making a big deal out of it!"
Mom quickly backpedalled and agreed that that was the courageous thing to do.

On Wednesday, I went to a big community meeting at Heebie U about the recent spike in racism. Mostly minority kids showed up, but the faculty and administration showed up in large numbers. The students were very fearful. One black administrator, Dr. B, gave them a stern, powerful lecture on finding their courage. "Know your history!" she admonished. "Why aren't you all signed up for Dr. M's Mexican-American History class? How are you going to find your strength if you don't know where you come from?" It was very powerful and could only have come from her. (Other solutions were proposed that rest on faculty and administration - it was not an empowerment-focused evening. But that was one of the highlights.)

Afterwards, I went up to tell Dr. B a race-related story about herself:
One day, Dr. B and I crossed paths and said hi, in passing. Just after that, a white man walked by her and said, "I like your hair!" She has very long braids. He wasn't being mean-spirited - probably? - but I tensed up, and my ears perked up to hear what she said back.
She said: "Thanks! I like your hair, too!"
I realized in that moment that she's pretty amazing and brilliant on this race stuff, and someone to admire.

So, I told her this story. And she told me some about her family - her parents were activists, she was raised to stand proud and face these issues head on.

Back to the neo-Nazi flier: It struck me that my mom's gut instinct - sweep it under the rug, downplay it, hide it - is an echo of how our family handled antisemitism throughout the last century. How very differently we handled antisemitism, compared to the Dr. B's family. We assimilated hard. We self-loathed hard.  We sold that family ancestry stuff down the river so fast that it skipped like a stone.

If only the past forty years hadn't been so relatively calm, I might have internalized more of the flinching, self-loathing reaction as well.  It's only in the absence of conflict, antisemitism mostly a theoretical point, that I've developed a sense of fight.

That's not quite right. I don't like to fight. But I think it's the courageous thing to do, whereas I think my grandparents felt that assimilating was a deeply right thing to do.

Of course, times have changed, and I am a white person in our society. The most serious immediate danger posed by that poster is not aimed at me. Maybe it's just easier to seize upon fighting over flighting when you don't feel like your hide is on the line. (But then again, Dr. B would probably have something to say about that.)

I finally settled on an answer for when my parents raise their eyebrows at our (extremely half-assed) gestures towards Passover and Rosh Hashanah and so on. "Regression to the mean" I now tell them, with a shrug. That makes them chuckle, but I basically mean it.


Kelly Jennings
Kelly Jennings at 2016-11-21 04:52 (UTC) (Link)

Sweet Jesus

I was furious about the kittens until I got to the poster.

Now I'm furious about both.

I'm glad your university held that meeting.
heebie_geebie at 2016-11-28 04:22 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Sweet Jesus

I know. I KNOW! These are hard times. It's sort of surreal, isn't it.
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