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Thursday, September 21, 2017

5 a.m., Day 66, laptop camera

Let's not call them fuzzy. Let's call them impressionistic.
Prince Toby at his most imperious.

Would you look at the length of those legs. And the tail!
The tail is fine--just a bit ruffled.

And he's sound asleep, kangaroo legs, giant tail, and all.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Arwen and Toby Show

Arwen takes up a defensive position in an old grocery bag.

Toby scouts.

Hmmm...

The fake fight is on!
Note his claws are out and hers aren't. 
She is very gentle with him.

Hey, where'd he go?

...And where did he get that toy?

It's impossible to catch them in focus when they are galloping around the house after each other.
I thought I'd at least give you a sense of size, motion, and general hilarity.

Day 65: Detente, achieved.

I was pretty nervous when Toby walked up to Rufus in the windowsill, but Rufus didn't even blink. The two of them shared the space companionably for half an hour.

Toby is now 9 weeks and a day old. He's officially out of the danger zone for orphaned kittens. He's eating well, using his box, and playing like a mad thing. He looks more like a real cat every day.

 I'm not so sure detente has been achieved with Sophie, but at least she didn't beat up on him.

Look at that sleepy kitty smile!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A buddy for Toby

Arwen, the cat who mulls things over, has been watching Toby closely since I brought him into the house. She came to two conclusions over the past few days:
1. Yes, that is definitely a cat.
2. It wants to play, unlike the other old fogey cats around here.
They have made approaches to playing before, but he was very tiny and she was a bit rough. He has grown, and she has modified her approach. They started playing yesterday, with Daisy watching and occasionally intervening on Toby's behalf by putting herself between them, with no barking or growling; I was watching Daisy to make sure it stayed that way.
This morning, with Daisy sound asleep in another room, I spent the time between 4 and 5 a.m. watching Arwen teach Toby how to play tag and hide-and-seek. He's good at tag but tends to forget he is hiding and/or seeking. I stayed close in case Toby needed someone to referee (he's not quite two pounds, and she's somewhere around eleven to twelve), but they were very good with each other.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Day 59 and it's PLAYTIME!

It was a fun morning at our house between first and second kitty breakfast!

My favorite toy is this jingle ball tied to a string.
I take it away from the apes and run with it.

And I mean RUN.
Sometimes I narrowly avoid smacking into things.
Sometimes I smack into things.

The packing paper is also a lot of fun.
So is the camera. 
I charged the camera right after this was taken.

Mean mommy won't let me play with the camera. 
I. Shall. Sulk.

(Closeup of adorable sulk.)

Well, if sulking won't work, I'll wash.

The paper rustled!

Why is Mommy snapping her fingers and whistling that West Side Story tune?

I'll show her. I'll climb up on her back and wash myself!
She won't be able to move, 
and Daddy will be laughing so hard he has trouble taking a photo.

All grudges forgotten. Snuggles make up for anything.

Day 58, some closeups

Sunday afternoon's pictures:
He was starting to tire after a play session.

Such a pensive expression!

Tiny pink tongue!

You're not going to move me, are you? 
I am very comfortable right here by your leg.
What do you mean, your leg is going to sleep?
It must need rest, then.


September 11, 2001

I was in my second year of teaching elementary Life Skills special education in a classroom with 12 students, 4 full-time aides, and several part-timers. I followed my usual no-TV morning routine at home and got in at about 7:35, a little late because the traffic was bad. One of my aides was already there. She came down the hall to meet me at a dead run.

"The World Trade Center's been attacked," she blurted. "The towers are down. They've attacked the Pentagon."

I made it an ironclad rule never to curse at work, but the first words out of my mouth were, "Are you shitting me?"

"No. Come on!" We ran back to the classroom. After a glance at the TV, I called Matt, who had just gotten his teaching license and hadn't been called to sub that day.

"Turn the TV on!"
"What channel?"
"Any channel!" I hung up.

Some of the staff were there; others were just coming in. We watched the video, played over and over, of the towers going down. We watched for several more minutes, in silence. Some wept. I couldn't. I wanted, more than anything, to be back in New York, where my brother was, where I had lived for three years in my twenties and done everything possible to get out. I didn't love the crowds. I loved the people.

My mind raced. Ever since the Thurston High shootings, which happened a month before I started ed school, I had looked at every space I entered with students with an eye to security: How many doors? How far to each door? Can I lock it? What about windows? Can we get out of them? Should we cover them? Where do I hide the kids? What can I grab to throw at or hit the shooter and at least slow them down?

None of that worked anymore. Would there be attacks in San Francisco, in Portland? Would the power go out? Would the government be taken over by a hostile power? Would we have to send the kids home? Would we have to stay at school with kids whose parents weren't home? How could we keep them safe? We couldn't.

I realized I knew nothing except what I had to do right away.

I turned off the TV, stood in front of it, made sure they were all looking at me. "OK, people, here's the deal. We don't know what's going on in the world, and we can't help what's happened, but in ten minutes the buses are going to pull up and we're going to have kids to teach. Our job is to keep them safe, help them learn, and give them the best day we can. Let's get going."

We went about prepping the day. We met the buses, greeting every student with eye contact and a smile. We worked the day in a weird fog of unreality. Thank God not everyone had the Internet on their phone. There's something to be said for being forced to live in the present.

The following week, my bubbliest student was subdued and anxious.

"What's the matter, B.B.?" I asked. He turned a worried little face up to me.

"Don't like the movie. Scary movie."

'What scary movie?"

"Plane go boom." One little hand zoomed into the other hand, which was held vertically. Both hands dropped. "Don't like the movie."

"Oh, honey, nobody likes that movie. It's a very sad movie." It was all I could think of to say to him. Blessedly, it helped; all he needed was to be heard.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

A scare on his 8-week birthday


Toby started having diarrhea hourly at 2 a.m. and stopped eating or playing. At 4 I called the longsuffering vet (Dr. Mike was on call) and took him in. All the signs were good; it seems he's just having difficulty adjusting to weaning (which was all his idea) and worming (will spare you the details, but he needed it). No infection, adequate hydration, generally doing quite well except for the runs. We'll put a bit of pumpkin in his food to add fiber and keep an eye on him. Since it's a weekend, he will probably throw in a couple of cliffhangers. I don't know how many lives he's got, but I'm beginning to think I've used several of mine as well. Oh, wait, this is the only one I get.
Toby had gone downhill so quickly other times that I may have hit the panic button a little early this time.Poor Matt has had very little sleep indeed. Since the air is too bad to do farmers' market, we were going to be home anyway.

Here is the cat himself, napping with his elephant. Remember when that elephant was almost as big as he was?


Friday, September 8, 2017

Camera Roll Fun


Toby! Look how long your tail is! 

Matt calls this "Cubit Cat." 

Kick that scunner toy!

Or snuggle.

It rained last night

I ran out into the wet grass, then saw this image on the way in; came back when the rock had dried, did it again, and just as I was focusing, Arwen ran over the rock. Perfect.

It rained overnight!

Paw prints by Janine and Arwen.

Kaleidoscope cat, day 56


Matt, at 2 a.m.: "Toby has just eaten, and he will probably sleep for hours."
Me: "Great, I can get some more sleep." 
Toby: "Mom's awake?! PARTY TIME!"

Actually, what he did was start playing with the jingle ball in his carrier. As soon as it started jingling, I got up, thought, "Pavlov was right, and I'm trained," and got him a bottle, which he spurned. He wanted to play.

We played for an hour. He calmed down and we dozed together for another hour. He has been very restless and bitey lately, so when he snuggled, I snuggled. Eventually he climbed off my shoulder and went to sleep on the couch, and I took a quick photo of him with his lion. Remember when they were close to the same size? No more. Wish I'd had a chance to brush him--he looks pretty ratty--but that would have made him wake up, and growing boys need their sleep. He is growing so quickly. His face is different, his legs are long, and his tail just grew to about double last week's length.

I watched him dream on the couch. When he started to stir and open his eyes, I offered him some of his new turkey baby food. He ate six count 'em SIX teaspoons, nearly half the jar, and five chunks of scrambled egg.I think it's safe to say he likes turkey. After that gargantuan meal, he started wanting to play and I said, "No way, mister, it's the poop box for you." Sure enough, he produced ample evidence of life and a healthy digestive system, with bonus functioning kidneys. TAfter that he went to sleep again, but by then all the other animals were awake and milling about.

I might get a nap later. 


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Toby, agent of chaos

We used to have a feeding schedule. We tinkered with it a bit, but we had one. We don't have one anymore. Toby might eat twice in forty minutes, or refuse all food and drink for five hours. He will refuse a bottle (we offer one every three hours at the outside) for ten hours and then drink one down. He will eat nothing, eat a little, eat everything and take seconds and then thirds. Once he actually lapped milk from a saucer, and I cheered; next time, he wouldn't. He might sleep for hours or stay awake for hours. He's weaning, and he's doing it chaotically. Like a toddler, he always manages to get what he needs. We have to trust that. In the meantime, it's a bit hard to get things done.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Still a bit fragile

That was an interesting day. Toby stopped eating, had a massive digestive upset, and got a fever. He never became unresponsive, but he got floppy and eerily docile. We got nervous because of all the other times he's done a fast fade. Doc said he was just reacting to the stresses of a vet visit and to his vaccinations, and possibly having pain because of being wormed. We fed him a bottle every 2 hours to make sure he was hydrated, but he refused solid food every time we offered it.
At 3 a.m. he danced out of his crate, ate everything in sight, and started playing again. He's back. Whew.

That'll teach me to rejoice before meds and shots take effect.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Good news from the vet!

Sorry to keep people waiting for the news on Toby.
Dr. Colleen is really happy with his progress. He doubled his weight in eight days! He is still small for his age and very skinny. He's been putting all that food into growing bigger bones, and he needs to fill out a bit, so we are feeding him everything he will eat. Doc didn't feel x-rays were necessary at this point because he is clearly doing so well and all the signs point to the end of the infection. He had a blood test because his blood sugar was way off during his episode of sepsis, and his blood sugar is great. Toby is off antibiotics and was well enough to be wormed and have his shots;he is a bit feverish and droopy right now, but is eating well and should bounce right back in a day or two.
We got back in the car to head home and I fell asleep. Good thing Matt was driving. I've been napping for hours. There's so much I need to do, but for now I'm only able to rest and be thankful.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Big changes in a short timespan

On Friday, we placed Toby's carrier inside a wire dog crate so that he could have water, the paper bags he's currently using for elimination, and his sleeping spot all together in a safe place. He's not drinking the water, though he does tip it over frequently, but he uses everything else.

He is growing fast, and his behavior changes every few hours. He has few habits right now--everything is fluid. Everything we'd learned to expect is shifting. He has taken to sleeping on top of the carrier rather than inside it. Just now, he went to sleep on the back of the couch. He stirs every few minutes because he's not used to sleeping out in the big world and every noise makes him want to check where Mama is, but it's where he wants to be.

This morning he ate off his plate rather than from my hand. That's a big step in growing up. Soon he will learn to drink from a bowl and eat kibble, and the night feedings will go away. I'll be relieved and a little sad. I don't expect to do this again, so I'm counting last times as well as first times.

It's an incredible privilege to raise a tiny life from near birth--and near-death, several times--and watch that life grow. It's also been exhausting. Most of what we planned to do this summer didn't happen, and I got sick and missed a week of work because I got sick after six weeks of kitten care and limited sleep. Matt is very tired, too; he's been sleeping less than I have. I'm happy about what we did, wouldn't trade Toby for anything on earth, but I have a lot of making up to do around the house, garden, and at work.

Tomorrow we go to the doctor to find out whether his illness is really gone. All this musing may be premature, but he's so strong and growing so fast it's hard to believe there could still be something wrong.






Sunday, September 3, 2017

Photos from today, day 51

I had to show you how big he is today. He has changed so quickly since Friday morning. 
He is bigger, his proportions are different, even his habits have changed. 

A rare quiet moment.

He grabbed the ribbon and dragged it from the floor to the top of the couch.

The back of the couch is now his favorite perch.

LOOK HOW LONG HIS LEGS ARE!
(He doesn't like the pose.)


You hold me like this, and I'll nom you, Mama!

Nom nom nom!
Don't worry, I put him down right away and gave him more food.

Photos from 9/1, day 49

Do not disturb me. I am PLAYING.


Remember that lion? It looks pretty small now!


Oh, yes, it does.


Biiiiiiiiiig stretch!


Backlog: photos from 8/28-8/30

I DO NOT LIKE BEING WEIGHED.
(your scale is inaccurate, so why am I subjected to this indignity?)

I like being snuggled. It makes me smile.

RAWR TOY RAWR RAWR

I will confront the paparazzi! 

We now return you to your previously scheduled RAWR.