Thursday, May 13, 2010


(Georgia with Coconut; Flurry, Ferbie & Fergie, front to back) (Fergie & Furbie)

Because my life is just not hectic enough, I decided to copy my friend Lisa S. and become a foster home for kitties. Dave & I both grew up with cats but have never had one because there are just so many friends allergic to the little critters. Mentally I go round and round, with my inner Cat Lady battling my Hostess with the Mostest about whether or not to bring cats into the house.

Last year Lisa told me she found this organization called "The Cat Connection" that let's you temporarily house moms & their kittens. This seemed the perfect compromise: the kids get all the fun of the kittens but then they go away just when they start to get tired of feeding them and changing the litterbox; and if I keep them in the basement, then the rest of the house (where the parties happen and the guests stay) would be free of dander & fur.

Meanwhile, critters of another sort are assaulting our house. From time to time mice get in the walls and I have to put poison around to keep them at bay. Lately they've gotten bold and actually stormed our castle. Two weeks ago I open the closet to the laundry chute and there is a mouse hanging out by my bottles of stain remover. He sees me, and no joke, turns around, wedges his nose between Spray & Wash and Oxyclean and buries his head under his paws as if that would conceal him. Of course I get short-bus mice. A few days later they appeared in our basement and I offered the kids $2 if they caugt a mouse; I didn't really think they'd catch any but I needed them out of my hair for a while. Here are Georgia & Millie with their catches.

They'd clearly gotten into my poison and were super docile. Dying things are like that.

Finally the call came that 4 kittens (3 sisters & a brother) needed a temporary home for a few weeks. That night I dreamed I was in the basement and a fat grey mouse ran across my feet and under the futon. As I drove to the house to get the kitties I was a little sad I was only getting kittens this round as an experienced mama cat would have a better chance of killing my vermin. I brought the kittens home and as I was getting things set up in the basement, out shoots a fat grey mouse that runs across my foot and under the futon. It's their cockiness that really gets me, like they're daring me to actually do something. I looked at the little furry kittens and said, "Sic kitties, sic!" Of course they just stare at me with their "We are Siamese if you please" attitude that all cats have.

I ran to Petco to get supplies and 20 minutes later when I went into the basement I saw the most beautiful thing: Fergie is shaking a furry grey lump her mouth which she drops to the ground and then bats to Ferbie. Ferbie whacks it to Coconut and my heart skips a beat: My kittens are playing soccer with a dead mouse. I love them and their little killer instincts.

The kids are loving them. Jonah takes his homework into the basement and lets the kittens sleep on him while he reads. The girls get up early to feed them and Bea tortures them with doll clothes and baby strollers ("Mom, what does it mean when a cat says "Hissssssss!!!?"). It's going to be hard next week when I have to take them to their adoptive homes. But the Cat Lady has promised me 5 month old kittens as replacements. I'm sure we'll find a way to love them too.

Surviving Mother's Day

Happy belated Mother's Day to all you moms out there and to all of you who mother people you may or may not have given birth to.

Mother’s Day is one of those holidays that all moms are supposed to love but some secretly hate. I have mom friends who stay home from church on this day, fearing they’ll hear another talk about Superwomen who never get mad and bake 50 loaves of bread and go running before waking the family for scriptures and prayer every morning. And some of my friends without children just can’t take the pain and perceived judgment and/or pity.

When I was a kid I loved Mother’s Day. My dad gave us money to buy something for my mom and would let us keep the change. I remember my kindergarten class making all our moms ashtrays and handing mine over with such pride. And the best of all were the “Mother Awards” handed out at sacrament meeting: “Who out there has more than 5 children; more than 6, 7, 8? Sister Jones has 9! Come on up and get a carnation!” I dreamed of one day winning such an award, wondering what it would feel like to be a superlative mom.

Now that I’m a mom, I’m ambivalent about the Sunday service. I love hearing the kids sing and secretly hope one of the Sunbeams will cause a scene. One year my 5 year old daughter shoved her 3 year old sister down during the chorus of “I Often Go Walking”, and the next thing I see is a tiny fist rise up and sock the shover in the gut. It made me proud that my girls were no shrinking violets.

What I do dread is that scripture about "her price being far above rubies." Every year someone has to quote that one. I roll my eyes because I know my price is more in the neighborhood of the semi-precious stones. Take your amethyst, aquamarine, or garnets, for instance. Now those are jewels one can more easily live up to. And honestly, what’s wrong with being a turquoise mom? Rubies are overrated in my book.

And because I’m at peace with my semi-precious status, I don’t care that I’d never win any of the superlatives I so longed for as a kid. I was never the youngest mom or had the most kids or whatever else they honored. But I do like to imagine what awards I’d give out if I were in charge on Mother’s Day. How about an award for the mom who lets her 9-year old French braid her hair and wears it out in public; or an award for the mom who can nurse a baby while pushing a shopping cart and talking on the phone. And I’d like to recognize some tough mommies too: an award for the mom whose son did NOT get his Eagle because she refused to do the paperwork for him or an award for the mom who took away her daughter’s cell phone because she was texting friends at 2a.m. Now those are some mamas who deserve a pat on the back.

So whether you’re a diamond or Cubic Zirconia, a long sufferer or a screamer, a maker of fine baked goods or a purchaser of Hostess products, I salute all the women out there who love and nurture and make mistakes and keep on going. And especially I thank all the women in my life, my friends, my sister, my daughters, and my mom, who treat me like a ruby, even when I’m not.