Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Kitten and the Little Girl

Acorn Ranger has a new home. And I have a 7-year-old who now knows what it is to have the blues.

This whole episode makes me really proud of Nutmeg.

The day that I found out that Acorn Ranger tested positive for FIV antibodies, and that he should therefore move to a home without other cats, Nutmeg cried and cried. I think she cried longer and harder than I've ever seen her cry when punishment wasn't involved. As in, she wasn't crying because she'd been sent to her room or because someone made her angry. Just sorrow.

I hugged her and explained the good reasons why Acorn Ranger should live with another family. And hugged her, and let her cry. We petted Acorn Ranger together. After a few minutes, I asked her if she would like to take some photos of him.

She took at least 100 photos. She was quiet up in her room with the kitten for like, an hour.

She finally came out of her room when Pebbles woke up from her nap. To my surprise, before I could say anything, Nutmeg took it upon herself to explain to her little sister that Acorn Ranger would be leaving us, and why. She hugged her. They petted the kitten together.

Pebbles, being 4, took the news much easier.

I was so touched to see my Nutmeg deal with her sorrow, work through it alone, and then comfort her little sister. I was impressed that she remembered my explanation perfectly even though at the time she seemed to be sobbing almost too loudly to hear.

When we dropped the kitten off with his new owners the next day, Nutmeg shed not a tear. She helped me show the new owners his things, and she kissed the kitten goodbye and waved. We got back in the car and drove off to drop off Nutmeg, too, but only temporarily. She went to Girl Scout Camp and it was no surprise to anyone that she handled that like the big girl she is.

P.S. Acorn Ranger was adopted by a deaf family we found via Freecycle. It was a new experience to meet someone for the first, and likely only time, do something as emotional as turning over a pet to them, and not be able to speak with them at all. We exchanged lots of emails later, though, and I'm confident that Acorn Ranger, now known as Garfield, will be well cared for and loved.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Acorn Ranger

We found this kitten in the woods. Actually the kids' cousin found him and took care of him, cleaned him up and gave him some love. He's probably about 8 weeks old.

We're trying to find a home for him. So if you know someone who wants a kitten in the Chicago area, and who doesn't have other cats, please let us know. He tested positive for FIV antibodies, which doesn't necessarily mean that he has the disease. He could have gotten it from her mother's milk if she was vaccinated. He can be retested in about 2 months.

Thursday, July 07, 2011


I wish I could freeze time for my little family and enjoy this summer for a few years at least. Why should time advance beyond this precariously perfect moment?

Nutmeg is 7. OH, seven.

I just finished poring over one of her latest obsessions with her, a big coffee table book I checked out from the Oak Park Public Library about the National Parks. While walking in Muir Woods together this spring, Nutmeg and I concocted a plan for our family to visit as many National Parks together as possible. This year, of course, was Muir Woods itself. Next year, we hope to do the Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan, which Nutmeg read about in Family Fun.

Someday? Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. She knows she's already been to Yosemite (twice), although of course she doesn't remember it.

I wish Nutmeg could stay 7 for a few years not just because she is so interested in everything and helpful and steady, but because I remember age 7 as a heavy dark line dividing the two parts of childhood. When I was 7, we moved into a new house. There was nothing in particular wrong with the new house, but because of my memories I can classify all my memories as pre-age-7 and post-7.

Pre 7? Idyllic. Playing with neighborhood kids, and ringing elderly neighbors' doorbells to visit them. A mom and dad who existed only to have fun with me. A backyard heaped so high with snow that you can't see the swingset.

Post 7? Messy. Noticing adult issues like car trouble and the mortgage. Getting made fun of by the kids at school. Not doing my homework and then lying in bed worrying about not having done my homework. Getting two dogs that die.

But that was then. This is now, when everything is what it should be, somehow all at the same time.

Pebbles is sweet and funny at 4. She plays with her friends and look at books, but still loves to climb onto Mommy's lap. Toth is still cuddly enough to be called Baby, even though he turns 2 this week. He's talking a little more every day, and for a linguaphile like me that is the BEST part of toddlerdom. He's balanced on the corner between baby and boy and that's an adorable place to be.

They are all perfect the way they are. Although, I wouldn't complain if all the kids could advance to age 7 and then stay that way for 5 years or so.

Also, Epu and I are 37. Who's in a rush to get closer to 40? Let's linger.

The summer has finally become perfect, with the loveliest breezy evenings, and now that the kids are all old enough to have fun doing kid stuff, we've been enjoying more family outings than any summer before -- Great America, the cabin. We'll be spending three nights in Lake Geneva later this month. I can finally see beyond all the diaper changing and night wakings of three babies and look forward to all the fun things we'll do as a family, and the looking ahead is so sweet.

Everyone's healthy, in our house and in our extended families' homes. We got our first nieces and nephew in the past year. The car's still chugging along pertly at 128,000 miles. Epu and I like our jobs. OK, the Cubs are stinking it up, but you couldn't say everything is perfect, could you? That would be just tempting fate.

Or maybe this whole post is is a big fat, ill-considered nanny-nanny-boo-boo to fate. Well, I know things can't always be perfect. At least, when one part or another of our lives goes to hell, I'll have this one moment in pixels, so I can read it and think, Those were the days.

These are the days.