A Boy and His Kitten

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We got a new kitten this weekend. Or rather, my ten year old son got a new kitten this weekend. Because of course, that’s what this crazy house needed, another pet.  

 

But, my son has been asking for approximately two years now for a pet. And I’ve been putting him off because his brothers had pet ferrets and a pet dog, I had a pet cat, his dad had pet fish and I didn’t feel up to taking on more than that. In fact, I have been pretty emphatic that we were done with getting pets. In fact, my husband said, no more pets unless some of the current pets find a new home. In fact, we were united in our stance against new pets.

 

But he kept asking. Pleading. Coming up with all kinds of creative ways he could manage a pet so we wouldn’t even notice it was around. We tossed around the idea of him getting a fish. No. He wanted something he could cuddle. Then I suggested that he take part ownership of the ferrets and dog since his oldest brother was very busy and was on his way to being gone for a year. No. He wanted his Own pet. 

 

And then a week or so ago he told me that his friend who lives down the street had kittens at his house…could he have one of the kittens? And I thought about it and really couldn’t think of any reason to keep saying No to this poor child, and so, I ended up saying Yes. (And his father grudgingly agreed.)

 

Why? Because he’s quirky and I think he needs his own special animal friend. Why? Because  he is not wired to enjoy school work and yet his teachers tell me that he works hard and is a model student in their classes. Why? Because I let my older children have pets and I want to be fair. Why? Because I secretly like kittens and while he’s at school, I’ll get to hold it… 

 

This parenting thing is complicated. Finding the balance between not losing your own sanity, making sure your kids are happy, and making sure they’re also learning how to be responsible. Not killing their dreams, but not spoiling them. 

 

I love my son. He’s very different from me and I have found it a challenge to meet him where he’s at, instead of trying to force him into a mold that is easier to handle. And that is the essence of parenting. Learning how to let go of your own expectations and instead work with what you’ve got. 

 

What I’ve got is a highly intelligent, creative, business-savvy boy who tends to create waves amongst his siblings, who loves to learn new things, (just don’t ask him to read it out of a book), who knows how to wrap his teachers around his little finger, but struggles with the daily playground politics. He’s a kid who is willing to work hard if he’s going to be compensated. He can take a cardboard box and tape and turn it into anything you want. He is a Master Lego Builder, and the arch-nemesis of his younger sister. He frustrates me and delights me. He’s a boy. 

 

And now he’s a boy with a kitten. 

 

And my pet tally has now gone up to: 

 

1 dog

2 ferrets

2 cats

5 fish

3 crawdads

 

I have a feeling those numbers will change again. 

 

Controlled Chaos AKA Suppertime at the Heneises

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Supper at the Heneises is an interesting phenomenon. Every evening we have the whole family sit down for a family meal. With teenagers being occupied in various outside activities, there is often one or two children missing, but the rest of us are always there. I put all the food on a buffet in the dining room and everyone sits down at the table. I serve up the youngest 6 and then let the older kids serve themselves. Then Andy and I serve ourselves. If we have guests, we try to let them go first. It’s a very busy atmosphere. Everyone wants to talk and, unfortunately, the loudest or most forceful usually wins the center of attention. Our meals are not quiet. To put it mildly.

We love to have people over and are used to having unexpected guests show up for a meal. Most people settle right into the chaos, but others, not so much. The other night one of the guys who works for Andy came over to the house to pick up some things and ended up staying for supper. It was a standard meal time. There were the normal complaints from the kids about the menu, me handing out reminders to eat your vegetables, everyone trying to talk at the same time while Andy and I tried to make sure the quieter kids had a chance to talk as well. Of course, inevitably, the 3 year old knocked over his drink all over his plate and so several people jumped up to to mop up the mess and serve him a new plate.

In the middle of all this Andy happened to notice his coworker had stopped eating and was just looking around with wide eyes. Andy asked if there was a problem and he said, “Nah man, Just a lot going on here!” Unfortunately Andy chose that moment to yell “Ferret!!” as he had spotted one of our pet ferrets who had apparently escaped his pen and was running across the dining room floor. Our guest looked puzzled for a minute but when he saw children vacating their seats and lunging across the floor after the escaped animal, he spun around and started looking frantically around him. “Ferret??? I thought you were joking!” Needless to say, he didn’t stick around much longer after that. Some people just aren’t cut out for a meal at the Heneises, but hey, if you can handle the chaos, you are always welcome to drop in at supper time and join us a for meal!