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Here Kitty Kitty!

What’s black and white and fluffy all over?

If you guessed my cat, you’d be wrong.

Now, if the riddle had been, “What’s black and white and condescendingly envious of the baby and fluffy all over except for a few snatched-bald spots and some patches of caked-on sweet potato?” - then the answer would be my cat.

Yes, as Madeleine’s horizon’s have broadened, her eyes have lit upon Kitty.  And it’s love at first site.  On Maddie’s part, that is.  Kitty, the jury’s still out.

When we first brought Baby Girl home, our cat’s politely averted eyes – as if we had picture_001_1.jpgcoughed up a big hairball and she didn’t want us to feel bad about it by acknowledging it – soon gave way to weary, disbelieving contempt.  I would often catch Kitty looking at Madeleine, squirming and squalling on the bed, with an expression of, “Seriously?  Did you keep your receipt so you can exchange this?  ‘Cause I’m pretty sure this one is broken.”  When Madeleine started smiling and cooing, our cat remained coolly unimpressed.  “That’s it?  That’s all it does?  And this wows you?  At least I’m housebroken!”  Maddie originally slept in our room in a bassinet, and midnight awakenings by her siren call would occasion a weary head raise and glare from the foot of the bed:  “Can you fix that?  Some of us are trying to sleep!”  Though for all her feigned indifference, I did catch the cat on at least one occasion sitting on the edge of the bed peering anxiously into the bassinet where Maddie lay crying.  When she caught my eye, the cat shrugged and turned away as if she was just being polite.

Now, though, it’s a whole new ball game.  The soft fur, the warm body: Kitty is Madeleine’s dream Lovey come to life!  When Kitty enters the room, Madeleine’s head swivels around and follows her, mesmerized, until she chooses to saunter out.  She can pretend disinterest, but that sort of blatant adoration is slowly having an undeniable effect on Kitty.  If I had set Maddie on the bed next to the sleeping cat few weeks ago, Kitty would have jumped up immediately to express her displeasure.  Now, when Madeleine’s placed nearby and she rolls delightedly toward Kitty, burrowing her face in the cat’s Persian fur, Kitty will wait whole seconds before moving.  When Madeleine’s sitting on the floor in her Bumbo sitter eating and the cat inadvertently comes within sticky-fingered grasping range, Kitty doesn’t freak out and run away, leaving a big bundle of fur in Maddie’s triumphant hand.  She looks at me as if to say, “I hope I get credit for this,” then deliberately moves out of touching range.

And finally, the moment that truly gave me hope for a lasting détente. 

I often pump sitting in bed, and Kitty’s come to associate the sound of the machine with uninterrupted lap time for her, since Maddie’s usually being held by Daddy or asleep while I pump.  But the other day I needed to pump and had Madeleine with me, so when Kitty jumped up on the bed and made a beeline for my lap, she was pulled up short by the sight of Maddie sitting up next to me snuggled into my side.  Kitty stared hard at Madeleine, trying to get her to back down:  Maddie stared back, transfixed by this heavenly vision in such close proximity.  Finally the cat gave up and climbed begrudgingly onto my lap, her body lined up with Madeleine’s.  Baby Girl crowed with delight, wrapping her arms around the length of Kitty’s tail, hugging it to her like a Lovey and sucking her thumb.  Madeleine sighed with sheer contentment as if to say, “Life doesn’t get any better!”  Kitty stayed put and sighed, too. 

But I think she was saying something else.


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