Tootsie & Me

January 5, 2009 at 2:05 pm 7 comments

This weekend, my sister and 5-week-old niece came to visit and spent the night on Saturday. Since my mom wasn’t there to be my sister’s wingman on dusk-to-dawn infant duty, this meant I got to experience my first night on a baby’s schedule. This also meant I learned several things, not the least of which being that I will try to make coffee without actually putting grounds in the filter when I am operating on very little sleep.

eggIt really doesn’t take much to fry pregnancy brain, let me tell you.

Besides brewing a nice, steaming pot of freshly roasted plain hot water, I spent my morning yesterday reflecting on the Cheers & Jeers of the previous evening:

CHEERS!

  • Proximity to warm, soft, good-smelling baby noggin at all times.
  • Much easier to wake up whenever prompted to do so by screaming infant.
  • The time period from 3:45-5:30am goes a lot faster when there is an incidence of projectile spit-up involved.
  • BIG CHEERS: The spit-up didn’t gross me out at all. Even though it was all over my couch. OK, maybe it was a little gross.
  • Turns out Brad has a magic, baby-silencing swing motion that calmed her every time, without fail.

JEERS!

  • Cessation of said baby-silencing (and very tiring) swing motion wakes baby up immediately.
  • Turns out I am a very heavy sleeper except when in the presence of a baby. Every tiny peep she made woke me from a dead sleep; absence of tiny peeps convinced me she had stopped breathing. When I finally fell asleep, I DREAMT ABOUT THE BABY.
  • Realization that my minuscule niece is only 1 week younger than my baby will be when I have to return to work and drop her off with strangers OH MY GOD.
  • Why didn’t anyone tell me how gross formula smells? That shit smells NASTY, friends. Or is it just my super-sensitive pregnancy nose?
  • Tootsie: hates babies. HATES. Would like it very much if you took that screaming little person away right now, thank you.

tootsiePerhaps she has grown tired of being forced to try on baby shoes?

And it’s that last bullet point, Internet, that has my heart in little knots today. Because while it’s no secret that Tootsie hates everyone on this green earth except for Brad & me, she never holds the presence of other people in our house against us. She’ll hide whenever we have guests (and hiss at them if they try to approach her), but as soon as they leave, she comes running to us all, “OMG, aren’t you so glad they’re gone? Now stand still so I can rub up against your legs for a couple hours.” My God, she didn’t even get pissed at us during our little venture into dog-sitting, when a dog shared her living space for an entire weekend, undoubtedly making the whole place REEK of dog to her sensitive nose. And this was not some teacup poodle or precious little laptop, my friends. This was a DOG. Internet, please meet Buddy:

buddyPossibly the world’s most forlorn dog, but a biggun’, regardless.

So a houseful of loud, drunk strangers? No problem. Big dog spending two days sniffing through all our stuff? Eh. But bring an 8-pound, 5-week-old infant up in this bitch?

oh-hell-noPretty much.

Tootsie hid in our bedroom from the time the baby arrived on Saturday afternoon until 9pm last night, when Brad CARRIED her downstairs. That’s 9:00 in the evening, as in NINE HOURS after my sister and the baby had departed. That might not seem odd to you, but whenever we have ‘strangers’ in the house and Tootsie hears them leave, she immediately comes downstairs and does a complete sweep of the house to make sure any and all outsiders have evacuated. But yesterday she remained upstairs all day long, even though her food and water are on the first floor. This was not unlike when we moved into the house, and it took her TWO MONTHS to venture outside of our bedroom.

muleThe cat is stubborn, is what I am saying. And possibly also part mule.

But as I alluded to above, Tootsie never holds her weirdness about other people/new situations against us. She’s still incredibly affectionate, as if we’re not in on whatever shenanigans are taking place in the house. This weekend, though, was different. I don’t know if she could smell the baby on us (although foreign smells have never bothered her before), or if it was because I spent the night downstairs with my sister instead of giving Tootsie her proper nighttime snuggle, but girlfriend was PISSED, my friends. Gave me the stink-eye. Would not show me affection. And sent me into a tailspin of frenzied pregnant emotions.

Oh – have I mentioned that I’ve apparently entered the CRY AT EVERYTHING stage of pregnancy? But it’s not the “I want a vanilla Frosty and Wendy’s is closed, WAAAH!”* kind of crying, it’s more the heavily sentimental & emotional kind of crying, triggered by sappy songs, random acts of kindness, that damn ASPCA commercial with Sarah McLaughlin, etc…

aspcaSOB.

Anyhoo, now that Tootsie has reacted so poorly to the presence of an infant and seems to understand that I am the one who is bringing this scourge upon the household, I’m sad. Very sad. She’s my original baby, Internet. We got her from the shelter in the dead of winter eight years ago when she was just a frail little thing, and had to nurse her back to health after a nasty respiratory infection made her sick for the first couple weeks she was at home, and…and…

kittenLet he without a heart cast the first “Shut up, Crazy Cat Lady.”

Make no mistake: I know Tootsie is a CAT. I am not one of those loons who boards her at pet resorts when we go out of town or cooks her homemade cat food or any of that kind of stuff…but she’s my girl. She’s been with us since the beginning, through all our crazy relocations and moves, and she always, ALWAYS comes to the door happy to see us when we get home. I know I’m guilty of treating her a little too much like a real-life, actual, projectile spitting-up baby, but I love her. A lot. And the thought of her hating me – even for a little while – after we bring the baby home has got me a little crazy. I may have been spotted giving her extra treats and telling her that I will still love her just the same after the baby comes. In other words, I’m turning into a full-fledged Crazy Cat Lady.

I remember reading a blog post ages ago – I can’t even remember what site – and in it the author talked about the day he brought his daughter home from the hospital, and immediately saw his dog as ANIMAL instead of MEMBER OF THE FAMILY. And although when I read it I had no intention of getting good and knocked up, I vowed I’d never let myself have such a thought should the situation arise. And here we are, I guess. Look, I know once this baby is born she will be THE baby of the household – no questions asked, no room for negotiation. But there’s something to be said for those who were there first, who always cuddled with your weepy ass when you were disappointed over negative pregnancy tests, and who – heartbreakingly – won’t be able to understand why you’re throwing everything into total upheaval by bringing home some weird, shrieking, hairless new cat.

tootsie-meI hope you somehow understand, Toots. I promise I won’t let her pull your tail.


*My friends, I totally made Brad go out in the cold on Friday night and fetch me a vanilla Frosty. This was honestly the first and only time I’ve ever made him do such a thing; I was SO DETERMINED not to be one of those whiny pregnant women who sends the husband out in a hurricane to fetch pimento loaf or some shit…but I woke up from a nap that evening fully secure in the knowledge that I WOULD DIE if I did not procure some frozen hydrogenated goodness, STAT.

vanilla-frostyHe is a good man, Internet.

(Brad, not the Frosty.)

(OK, the Frosty too.)

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Entry filed under: Gobble-gobble.

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. kristin  |  January 5, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Oh. This made me sad. Not because I’m pregnant (HA), but because I understand the Pet Crazy. My little four-footed baby has been vomiting and unhappy for a couple of days now, and I MAY have sat on the floor next to her last night, tearing up just a wee bit, petting her and asking her to please not die (when I wasn’t cleaning up vomit). MAYBE.

    Okay, yes. Yes, I did do that. But she’s still alive! So it must have worked!

    Anyway, I have to believe that while Tootsie may not ever love the baby like her own child, she’ll most likely get used to it and forgive you. After awhile. During which time your heart may break into a million pieces as she stalks past you and hides when you try to pet her.

    I am SO GOOD at this sympathy shit.

    Reply
  • 2. HoST  |  January 5, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    “Turns out Brad has a magic, baby-silencing swing motion that calmed her every time, without fail.”

    Too bad I am now suffering from severe back spasms.

    Reply
  • 3. shelli  |  January 6, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    dude – that was “someone ELSE’S baby” smell. Don’t worry, YOUR baby will smell like YOU. She will have YOUR hormonal imprint.

    YES, Tootsie will WIG THE FUCK OUT at first, but give it time, as soon as that thing is mobile? WARN Tootsie that her days of hiding from said spawn? ARE OVAH.

    And for what it’s worth? teh kittehs? In SPITE of being the sassiest, most skittish and fiercest beyotchas around? Might even soften up a smidge…

    I’m just sayin’

    Reply
  • 4. shelli  |  January 6, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    PS – one of Malka’s FIRST books? “Tails are NOT for Pulling!” 🙂

    Reply
  • 5. Sara  |  January 7, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    My brother’s first babies (his dogs) seem to have adjusted well to his human baby…who started at his daycare this week. My brother sent me a photo of when he dropped him off, and I teared up seeing some stranger holding my nephew. But my mom used to run a daycare in our house, and when she mentioned tearing up at the picture for the same reason, I said “you used to be that stranger.” *Sigh.* I’m rambling.

    Reply
  • 6. Leah  |  January 9, 2009 at 1:27 am

    I need to devote a whole entry to how the cats have handled the baby, but the short version is that they are fine and not that bothered and I am still, as ever, the crazy cat lady who worries about their emotional well-being when they’re clearly FINE. (But thank god there were people in my house those first few days home or else the cats likely would have starved. It’s not that I forgot about THEM, but I may have temporarily forgotten that they need a human to pour the catfood for them.)

    Reply
  • 7. Get Back, Honky Cat « Jive Turkey  |  September 3, 2009 at 11:02 am

    […] Remember back in January when I was all bent out of shape about what the arrival of the baby would do to my relationship with Tootsie? And how I was bound and determined not to let her get downgraded to “just an animal” in my mind? Well, it is time to talk about that. […]

    Reply

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