Our little family made it one week without ending up in a hospital emergency room, which gave us ample time to work on trying to get to know each other. All of us, even my husband and me, even our cat, have had to reshape our comfortable notions about what home means, and reexamine our relationships to each other. For instance, me and our cat, Jean-Baptiste: before the baby was born Huzzybee and I talked about how to make sure that Jean-Baptiste adjusted to the baby without feeling that he had been replaced. Jean-Baptiste would merely be treated as Søren’s older brother, we said earnestly.
That cat has done nothing but infuriate me since we groggily stumbled home from the hospital. Ever since he tentatively gave the baby a first sniff with his delicate little nose, Jean-Baptiste has sworn to make us pay for our dalliance nine months ago, starting by shredding the rug in the nursery, and continuing on to other more devious machinations, like strategically peeing on our crappy laminate floor in a heavily trafficked area, causing me to slip and fall flat on my back when I cluelessly walked through his puddle, or knocking all of the potted pants off of their window ledge. Suddenly my adorable, fluffy little kittykins is not so cute any more. Since it is spring he is shedding hair everywhere and I find it on the baby’s blankets, sticking to his bottle, in clumps on my bedspread. Every stray strand makes me burn with rage. When I finally had time to make a date with Jean-Baptiste and the fur brush we gleaned enough spare fluff to make a new cat or knit a new blanket for the baby.
When the baby isn’t crying or eating I manage to flick a piece of string around the room for the cat to chase, but he is beyond consolation and glares at me from his chair. I offer his kitty treats but he sniffs at them with disdain. Sometimes he stares into the baby’s bassinet…and I know he is contemplating murder.
We swore that it would never happen, but Jean-Baptiste has turn into simply, “the cat”.