my kitten looks very innocent. so sweet & delicate & fuzzy.
the 2 cats seem to be gazing lovingly at each other.
and if you didn't know better, you might think that she & sophie cat were locked in a loving embrace. but you'd be wrong...
my foolish kitten might look cute, but she's really a violent stalker at heart.
she is constantly instigating fights w/ the big cat. they're usually both silent while biting & kicking each other, and there's no blood, so it must not be really painful, but it troubles me. it looks like baby nim is going to get her guts kicked out at any moment. i almost expect sophie to pull back a claw w/ intestines dangling during one of their wrestling matches. sometimes they go at it for almost an hr before they tire out & stop trying to kill each other.
and while i'm not a fan of violence, i have to admit that i do enjoy a good bloodless cat fight.
there comes a time in every kid's life where they eat pet food. right? i know i did when i was about 8 & visiting my cousin & it was only because he offered to give me half his allowance, but still, i chewed up & digested that crunchy cat kibble. i mean, i needed that 50 cents!
yesterday brooke was feeling kitty-ish & she told me she wanted to really experience what life is like for a cat, so she needed to eat some of their food. i thought about it & decided to give her permission (because that's that's what i do) but i forbid any eating of the wet stuff because that's just nasty. she got out the bag of iams kitten food & brought out a crunchy lil piece, popped it into her mouth & ate it. i watched her face & i could see that she really wanted to like it. what kind of cat would she be if she didn't like cat food? but she didn't like it. however, all was not lost because she still had the bag of friskies feline favorites to sample in hopes of finding her perfect cat food flavor. she looked at the 4 different shaped bits & selected the little brown triangle. she was a bit more hesitant this time, almost like she could see her chances of becoming a real cat disappearing into thin air if this didn't work out. she put it onto her tongue & savored it for a moment before chewing & swallowing. she said, "it was greasy, but good!"
for the next few minutes she romped around the kitchen, kitty style, and then she stopped next to me & said, "i think my belly is bubbling. BIG bubbles! but i have such a great aftertaste on my tongue! it's really pleasant!" she got the bag of cat food back out & looked at the pictures on the back showing which crunchy is which flavor & she realized she'd eaten a liver flavored piece. she determined that to be the culprit for her belly bubbles & decided that she should eat a milk flavored one to settle it back down. i recommended that she might try some pepto & a bit of people food to settle it down & she went with that for the time being.
today she told a friend of mine that she likes cat food & that milk flavored kibble is the best. she apparently ate some this morning & it agreed with her better than that pesky liver bit. she asked me if i'll please start mixing it in w/ the zip bag of cheerios that are left out for her each morning. this is the same kid who likes to eat suet. i always knew she wasn't a picky eater, but this is taking it to a whole new level.
we have work men here installing new doors today & brooke's been hanging about, chattering to them the whole time they've been here. i was just in here cleaning up the kitchen & heard her fart loudly. then she giggled & said, "excuse me. i forgot to cover my butt when i tooted."
i think compliments are like little gifts that make the world a happier place. and they're free to give, so that makes them even better. i give compliments to strangers, particularly store employees, regularly, sort of like i see it as my quest to brighten what might otherwise be a totally crappy day. after working retail & waiting tables for over a decade, i know that most people are rude to those who serve them in public. so i want to lighten the load a little by telling that lady that her shoes are cute. or the display she just made is better than any in that other store across town. or that i appreciate her for taking the time to stop stocking that shelf to walk me over to the jar of tahini that i just couldn't find.
compliments are important. they take you outside of yourself & create an atmosphere of giving, if only in your own head. they make you pay attention and observe the world around you rather than being self absorbed. receiving compliments can take a bad day & make it sunny again. they matter. for real.
but my child has a serious aversion to giving compliments of any kind to humans. she'll compliment a rock or a dog or sand or an iguana - anything in the world of nature, but she HATES to say anything unnecessarily nice to another person. this troubles me. i try to fish them out of her sometimes or encourage her to say nice things to her friends, but she get so squirmy & obviously uncomfortable that i usually let it drop.
when she was younger, i tried to coax her toward niceties - once i told her i loved her & as usual, she just kept playing like she didn't hear me. i asked her if she loved me too & she said, "you're the best kangaroo ever." another time i looked at her sweetly & smiled. then i told her my eyes were saying they loved her (most kids figure such things out, but brooke doesn't) and her response was "my belly is saying you're very powerful." i told her once i'd missed her after being apart for a few days. she replied, "happy waxy day!"
so, i've started a new campaign. a complimentary campaign for the purpose of helping brooke to get over this phobia. i was talking to my mom about it & we devised a plan to help my girl work through this & hopefully at the end kindness will flow freely from her face. mom seems to think that training for compliments should be like training kids to have good manners. we'll see.
the rules are, she has to compliment a person, not an animal or inanimate object. she has to do it within hearing of an adult who knows the rules. the person she says it to has to hear her. she will get a treat of some sort (7 1/2 chocolate chips or a juice pop is the going rate) after doing so, but not more than once a day. she has to think of it herself, not copy a suggestion that someone else made.
the first day i explained this, about 2 weeks ago, she got all tight & nervous. i could tell she was wanting the treat, but she detested the idea that she'd have to push through her fear & actually say something nice. she claims that she often thinks nice things about others in her head, she just doesn't like to say them out loud. she went off & laid under a table for a while, just staring into space & then came over & said to me, "sophie (the cat)'s bravery is the color of your shirt." i had no idea what she was talking about. i didn't know that was supposed to be the compliment. she started getting flustered when i said that ok, so bravery must be burgundy. she likes to give colors to emotions, so that wasn't strange. but she informed me that she was ready for her treat since she'd delivered her first compliment. what? i figured out that she was actually trying to compliment sophie for being brave rather than say something nice to me, so she tied it in to my shirt in hopes that it would qualify. nope. then she stuttered & sputtered for a minute - "your shirt, the color... and your color... i like.... OOOHHH!" she put her hands on her hips & said loudly, "I LIKE THE COLOR OF YOUR SHIRT!"
that was sooo hard for her! but she was pleased with herself for getting her reward, so she gave me the same one the next day. and the next. after the third day i told her it was time to come up with a new one. something that maybe was actually about me or daddy, not a compliment to a color. she tried saying, "i like the flower on your hat (big, floppy straw hat worn only in the sun). your clown hat." nope. when you add an insult in, it erases the compliment.
since then i've heard,
"i like your big pockets on your shorts."
"you're nice." (she couldn't come up with an actual instance when i was nice, but at least it referred to my character, rather than my clothes.)
"you're smart because you can do math problems that i can't do."
"i like the pearls on your necklace."
"your hair is good." (this after i explained that when someone changes an appearance thing, it's nice to notice & comment appreciatively.)
"you're as funny as the cats."
i think we're making some progress. eventually i hope it will become second nature & no rewards will be required. until then i'll just have fun listening to her muddle her way through this complimentary campaign, performing like a puppy for treats.
tomorrow's my 35th birthday, so tonight chris & i went out on a date & brooke spent the night at a friend's house. i don't think we've had a date night where we didn't have to rush back to relieve the babysitter in years, so it was pretty fun & relaxing.
i made an extra effort to get pretty for my honey today. it's not very often that i put on a bunch of makeup & i might have overdone it a bit since a had a face full of enough cosmetics to coat several prom goers. i had a little photo shoot w/ myself before we left the house because i knew otherwise there'd be no pics to remember the night. plus, i love makeup & even an old barn looks better with a fresh coat of paint. sometimes i have a little too much fun when i get in front of a camera, even if i'm the only one in the room. the following photos can attest to that in a rather embarrassing way... (i recently read that when you look at a picture of yourself, you should judge it primarily based on if you look happy or like you're having fun rather than if you look pretty. so i'm now using that as a standard because i like it better than my old one)
we went to a nice restaurant for dinner, then out to see a stupid comedy & then headed home for a change of footwear so that we could go walking downtown. i wish i was one of those women who can strut her stuff all over town in funky heels, but alas, i need to strap on some birkenstocks if i'm going for a walk these days. and even then i'm kinda wishing for a gel insert.
i seem to have shrinking bladder syndrome (hence forth to be referred to as SBS) so i have to use pretty much every bathroom in any building we enter or even walk past. i'm worse than a toddler who's potty training & intrigued by bathrooms; even brooke gripes at me for having to go so often. tonight was no exception. i think i used 6 different public bathrooms & sometimes that's an adventure. i really don't like when i go into a stall & get myself situated & then the woman on the other side of the partition makes a phone call. i mean, it's bad enough that i'm in there & she's hearing my tinkling, but now her lover across the store is hearing it too. in one particular place, i walked into the ladies room for the inevitable rendezvous w/ the crapper & i was feeling a little gassy. i was thinking that i'd go in there & come out a few minutes later feeling lighter, less bloated & less likely to embarrass myself in front of my beloved. but as soon as i got my pants down, a woman walked in & dialed her phone. i think she must have been an employee because she didn't even use the facilities, just dialed & started chatting loudly. i was trying to wait politely for her leave before i released the gassy beast, but she wouldn't leave. and i can only hold it for so long when i'm in that position. i attempted the discreet cough & toot, but my timing was a little bit off. after that she switched to spanish & there was some laughing. eventually, when i determined that she was planning to spend her whole break in there talking about me, i figured i'd better just finish my business & go on, regardless of my pride. you can only hold back so much if you don't want that lingering pain. once i had thoroughly relieved myself, i decided that i couldn't bear to open the stall door & face her, so i waited a little bit longer. thankfully she left, but not before i'm sure chris was wondering if i'd been the victim of a bathroom mugging.
in yet another place where we stopped for drinks & dessert (just a lil fyi, blackberry mojitos don't compliment caramel fudgey brownies) my SBS got the best of me again & in this bathroom, there are 2 stalls together in such a way that the 2 toilets face directly toward each other with just a little partition between them. it's rather disconcerting when there's a woman on the other side of that partition & you're so close that your knees are almost touching. you could play footsies with each other if you were drunk enough or just feeling frisky. very strange. and for the record, i was neither drunk, nor frisky enough to go the footsie route w/ the woman on the other side.
on the way home, i was feeling all loose & foolish & chris turned up some old party tunes, so i was busting my best car dancing moves. i assure you, they were horrible, but i was enjoying myself immensely. so much so that i felt the need to break out the camera to document the ocassion. sigh... i'm so glad my husband loves me, in spite of my utter & complete lack of coolness.
my child is talking on the phone to a friend of hers who moved out of town a few months ago. listening to them talking is pretty amusing because it's so random & utterly bizarre.
i heard brooke say, "you guys found a rattlesnake??!!!....... seriously?!........ did you use a large flat thing & press down on it's neck to crush its windpipe so that it suffocated?..... then did you cut it open so that you could see the venom?........ venom is very intriguing to me. it entices me to want to see a dead snake."
"i wish you were my sister. yeah, cuz then you could sleep over forever & forever & you'd never have to go back home. and we would always have fun at my house & you wouldn't be so far away. i'm putting my eyeball to the phone now..... but i can't see you, only hear you.... if i spit at the phone, wouldn't it be funny if it came through the phone & hit you?!"
"do you know how to beat box? or instead of beat boxing the regular way, can you beat box w/ fart sounds? like this!! (she proceeds to make every filthy farty noise in her repertoire as loudly & repeatedly as she can)...... isn't that cool?"
"what kind of fish do i like best? oh, weeelllll.... i would have to say that i like betas the best... i used..... i used to...... i had.... one time i...... I USED TO HAVE ONE AND ITS NAME WAS TANK & MY DADDY FLUSHED HIM DOWN THE TOILET BECAUSE I KEPT TAKING THE ROCKS OUT OF HIS AQUARIUM AND HE SAID THAT ALL DRAINS LEAD TO THE OCEAN LIKE ON NEMO AND I BELIEVED HIM BECAUSE I WAS A TODDLER!"
"my friend has justin beiber's phone number... for REAL!!!.... i'm serious, i called him on her phone & heard his voice mail. i left him a message & sometimes when she calls him, she tells him she loves him. do you love him?...... me?..... i don't want to talk about it."
"who do I have a crush on? umm.... hang on a second, i need to take this call outside....(the door shuts & i creep to it & press my ear to the door and hear her say) "........he's pretty cute & he wears a hat a lot.... his eyes? oh, they're blue.... and one time, i kind of leaned my head onto his shoulder! just a little bit!.... i know! EEEEEE" (then i had to scamper away from the door because she came back in.)
i feel like an old grandma or something when i say this, but i think that what's wrong w/ the world today is that people in this country are turning into happiness junkies. on the surface, that seems silly because what's wrong w/ happiness? if you've got to be addicted to something, that sounds like a good one. except that it's not. because life isn't continually happy. relationships aren't always going to be easy or smooth. our health and bodies won't stay perfect indefinitely, despite our best efforts (or at least our best wishes).
i think a lot of people look at their thickening waistline or drooping boobs & feel like they're failing somehow. sure, it's great to stay thin for the health of your body, but you shouldn't feel like you're a less valuable person because you don't have the body of a 20 yr old athlete anymore. there is so much more to life than being sexy. i am overweight, granted, but i've lived life on the other side too & i honestly think i've got more going for me as a human being now than i did when i was a sexy little 20-something. i have fewer body image issues now than i did back then & fewer than a lot of my much thinner, more svelte friends do now. i think it's because i finally believe that my worth isn't caught up in my outer wrappings. sure, i do make an effort to stay showered & put on makeup before leaving the house, but i'm lovable, even if i'm not fixed up. and i have a fantastic husband who shows & tells me that i'm pretty even when the mirror says i'm not.
it seems sad to me when people look at their lives & see mostly the negatives. they see the fight they had w/ their spouse or kids & that looms larger than the years of mostly good stuff they've lived up to that point. so many people feel dissatisfied with their lives because they only seem to be able to see & feel the bad parts. the money issues or lack of mushy feelings or whatever the issues are take on inappropriate significance.
when i was in college one of our profs said, "act your way into your feelings, don't feel your way into your actions." i really took that to heart. when i was 18 it seemed like that wasn't even possible, but i was willing to try & as it turns out, a lot of the time it works. there are a lot of things in my life that i could point to & show someone how my life sucks & i could justify being miserable. but why would i want to do that? i could point out my husbands flaws or failings & determine that i need a new one. but if we're going by that standard, then he could just as quickly point out mine & trade me in for a new model too. i choose to look at all the things about our lives that are good & let my focus linger there. i don't want to be sad or miserable or feel like i got the crappy end of the stick. i want to smile & laugh & enjoy life in a real way.
i don't want to spend my life searching for my next happiness fix. if i did that, like i used to, then i'd always be looking for something new. trying to replace my current blah things w/ the next great thing. i'd be putting the responsibility for my own happiness onto someone or something else. that seems backwards & counter productive. i am the only one who's responsible for my feelings. only i can keep them in check. only i can pick me up when i get low. God can help me to adjust my attitude when it seems too far down to fix it myself & he does. there's no man or food or body or kid or life that can fix me. and when i turn to God & myself and just do the work, God and i get all the credit. and somehow, by not searching for that next happiness fix & instead finding ways to see the happy i already have, i can maintain joy on the inside. and compared to joy, happy is over rated.
our new kitten has some interesting markings. she has an M on her forehead.
she also has an O on each side. brooke insists she has an H on one of her sides too, but i haven't quite found that one yet. maybe if i squint my eyes & tip my head to one side when she's running past me at top speed i'll catch a glimpse of it.
in any case, i was suggesting that since she has two O's and an M, maybe we should change her name to MOO. brooke thought that was funny but then told me that nim also has an H so we need include that in her new name. she tried out HOOM and MOOH, but then she realized that those letters could also spell HOMO. and of course, that's the one that struck her fancy. so now she's calling the cat HOMO. chris tried to dissuade her by telling her that was too masculine for a girl kitty, but brooke thinks it'll make a perfect nickname for her girl.