A Boy and His Kitten

kitten

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. 

 

Boredom With a Bit of Yoga Thrown In

“Here’s what I’ve learned about raising boys… if you keep ’em busy, they’re fine. You let ’em get bored, they’ll dismantle your house board by board.”

                                                                                                 Kenny Rogers

I saw this quote the other day. It was timely for the kind of day I was having. Now that all my kids are back in school, I am home alone with my 2 little boys, almost 4 yrs old, and 21 months old. I’m still trying to get us into a good routine, but usually I at least try to keep things moving. We all work together and get chores done in the morning. (Ok, I move around doing chores and they follow me, staying in a 2 foot radius at all times). We go outside and play in the yard. A couple times a week I try to load them up in a stroller and we go for a long walk. We have a couple activities we attend once a week where they get to be in a nursery/preschool setting. It’s not a super-busy schedule but it’s busy enough.

This week I have had a horrible cough/cold. The kind that keeps you up all night coughing and completely drains all your energy. It’s also been raining this week. I cancelled all our activities that we usually attend (not going to share this cold with anyone). It is raining so we can’t go out in the yard, and I do not have the energy to take any long walks. Cue boredom.  I have 2 little boys running around the house, trying to amuse themselves. I sit in a chair with a pile of tissues and try to play referee. We start off in my bedroom:

NO, don’t play on my dresser, put down the jewelry box and climb back down off of there!

No, don’t take all my shoes out of the closet.

DO NOT HIT your brother with the toy phone!

Stop trying to play with my computer!

Why did you just pull all the blankets off my bed?

 

I get desperate and I find their 2 big rubber balls: Here! Play with these….

 

No, stop throwing the ball in your brother’s face.

No, DO NOT throw the ball in my face. You will never see the ball again if you throw it in my face!

Stop throwing the balls at the windows, you’re going to break something.

LOOK what you just Did! No more balls.

 

I decided to relocate. Let’s go play in the living room…

 

No, we’re not going to put on a tv show, we already watched one.

No, don’t take all the books off the bookshelf, I just organized that bookshelf! All the little kids books are on the bookshelf upstairs, go upstairs and get your books! Do you want me to read you a book?? No? Ok..

Get off the fishtank. We don’t climb on the fishtank…ever..I think I have already told you this..

Here, here’s some matchbox cars! Play with your matchbox cars!

No, wait, we don’t throw matchbox cars. We only throw balls! (my voice fades out as I remember that I just took away the balls).

Look, just roll the cars across the floor..yeah, like that! No, wait, don’t roll the car on me. I’m not a road.. Roll it on the floor!

No wait, the red car is for you, the blue car is for him…. Do not take his car from him!

Do you want to trade cars? No? Well, you can’t have both cars, you have to share…

 

Ok, time to relocate.

Upstairs to the boy’s bedroom. Full of toys, childproof, there’s a comfy chair up there I can sit in. We get settled in upstairs, boys are enthusiastically playing with their toys and I have this great idea. I’ve been reading this book that teaches a simple yoga-type workout. I want to do these workouts in the morning, but I need to do a practice run so I can figure out what I’m doing first. Why not practice here in the boy’s room while they are happily playing??

Ok. So, I have the book on my kindle app on my phone so I’m holding my phone, squinting at the screen. Breathing. It’s all about breathing. Breathe in through your nose, fill up your tummy with air, breathe out through your nose, push your stomach back to your spine..Got it. (Did I mention I have a bad cold?) Ok. I’m definitely going to need some tissue before I attempt this.. Squint at the screen.. It says to do some practice breathes. I do some practice breathes. They are rather noisy. The little boys look up and stare at me trying to figure out why I’m suddenly pretending to be an elephant. The almost 4 yr old asks uncertainly, “What are you doing?” Just exercising. Leave me alone. Keep playing.

Squint at screen again. Ok. I’m supposed to raise my arms up in the air while I breathe in and then lower them while I breathe out. Got it. (Sounds easy right? Apparently coordination is not my strong point and it takes several attempts before I get it right.) The little boys have stopped playing and have now moved closer to me, staring at me with concern. Squint at screen again. Ok, I’m supposed to bend all the way over and touch the floor and stay in that position while I do 5 breathes. Got it. I bend over. This is definitely not as easy at it looks. I am focusing really hard on trying to get my breathes rights…I feel little hands grab hold of my feet. All the blood has rushed to my head. I turn a little bit and find myself face to face with the 21 month old who now looks like he’s about to cry. Mama?

It’s ok sweetie. I’m just doing yoga. Exercise. Mommy is fine.. Oh wait, I’m breathing, not supposed to be talking. I’m still bent in half but I can’t remember what comes next. Straighten up very slowly, grab phone, squint at phone for next direction. Oh. Ok. Apparently I’m supposed to do some breathing while I straighten up and then go into this new position where my knees are bent in a squat and I’m reaching forward… Right… Ok…(Did I mention my current athletic abilities are at level 0?)  Modify. They said to modify.. Ummm.

Now the 21 month old has wrapped himself around my legs and begun a mantra of mama, mama, mama, mama, mama, mama…you get the point.. Wait sweetie, I’ve got to bend down again and try this again. Squint at phone one more time, set phone down and bend in half again. Oh shoot. I forgot to breathe. Stand back up, breath in (through the nose! I think I need another tissue..) and bend over. I’m now face to face with the baby again. He takes the opportunity to grab hold of my head. I forget to breathe out (stomach pulled into the backbone!) while I yell at the baby to let go of my hair. The 4 yr old decides to join the circus and comes and stands next to me, bends over as well so that we all have our heads at the same level. He looks concerned.  Ok. Forget it. I’m not going to exercise.

I disentangle myself and go sit down in the chair again. Look out the window. It’s still raining. I’m still coughing. Not sure if the house or my sanity will be intact by the end of the day.