We have two beautiful children – the number is by choice, the beauty is by luck (or perhaps clouded judgement!). I was very lucky and had a boy and a girl, which in my mind was exactly what I wanted and negated the need to ask whether we’d have one more. I was one of two and as such, to me, two children meant my family was complete … also, if the truth be known *whispers* I didn’t like being pregnant. The story of the soldier who gave birth on the front line totally amazes me – how could she not have known? I was instantly aware that I was sharing my body with someone else, and felt every day of those nine long months!
So, my youngest is now four – and has just started school. There are no longer any nappies in our house, everyone (mostly) sleeps through the night, they know when to be quiet, they can pretty much tidy up their own toys, get dressed and the best bit … I am able to go to the loo alone, without an audience.
However, last week we did something to unhinge this picture of domestic bliss … no, we didn’t have wild, unprotected sex and leave the consequences in the lap of the Gods… We got a cat! Not a kitten – a one year old cat, from The Blue Cross rescue centre. Her story melted our hearts – she was found in a barn with her four kittens who were all rehomed within a matter of weeks. Maryalice (as she was named) was still in the rehoming centre four months later – overlooked because she was black & white! But she was exactly what we wanted and as a proven lap cat, she was the perfect addition to our family.
And she is.
She is so friendly and sweet and has settled in very quickly – sleeping on my lap on the first night she was here, sleeping on my laptop when I was trying to work and snuggling with the kids! Perfect.
But it is exactly like having another baby in the house!
She cries in the night, gets up early, needs constant attention, meows when I’m on the phone (especially important work calls) and has an overwhelming desire to escort me to the loo … and sit watching my every move! Flashback two years and apart from the fact she’s covered in fur, her interest in what I’m doing is amazingly reminiscent of the kids!
Hubby and I are having the same conversations – “we need to set boundaries” – “we need to be consistent” – “she’s not sleeping in our bed” … oh yes, we’ve been here before! Only last time we did none of these things and our darling daughter didn’t sleep through the night for over three years!
This time we will learn from our mistakes, draw on our experience and be tougher! Even if she cries in the night we will leave her, we won’t let her out of the kitchen, we’ll be cruel to be kind and it will be better for all of us in the long run.
So this morning when I was woken up at the crack of dawn, there was a little face staring at me and a very warm sensation on my feet – just cat size and warm enough to have been there all night – I knew that we’d failed in our parenting skills again! Welcome to three more years of broken sleep … at least!