And Baby Makes Five
June 1, 2009

You know what I really want people to stop doing? Stop telling me I'm going to care less about my cats after the baby is here. No, no. Just stop it. Take your hand off the computer, discard the "instructional" or "helpful" email you're about to send. Close your mouth.

I'm not you.

Yes, the baby will change our lives. That's the biggest "duh" I've ever heard. Yes, our priorities will have to shift. But having a baby will not make me care any less about the cats we've had for over ten years any more than having another kid will make me care less about the first kid.

Let me tell you something you might have already suspected: I am a crazy cat lady. After I have a baby, I will still be a crazy cat lady. Hell, I've already started apologizing to Poppadum and Hunca Munca for the screaming, bald cat (tm MGiant and Trash) we're about to thrust into their lives. I'm already worried about how the baby will affect them and looking up articles on how to make the transition as smooth as possible FOR THEM.

Luckily, the study/nursery door has been continuously closed from the day we moved in and the cats aren't allowed in (because they might never find their way out again). That way, when the baby's in there sleeping with the door closed, Hunc won't sit and wail because he thinks he's being left out of something Very Important.

Sadly, I can't say the same for our bedroom. Poppadum has gotten so used to sleeping with me -- snuggled right up along my shoulder, so that when I sleep on my side, I can put one arm around her and bury my face in her fur like she's a stuffed animal -- that I don't know how hurt she'll be if we decide to have the bug in our bedroom for the first couple of months and have to sleep with the door closed.

I know Poppadum will give the baby a wide birth. She's not into kids or anything loud or new that comes into this house. Hunc, on the other hand, will be incredibly curious and affectionate. He will see the baby for what it is: just another human to give him love and attention. Which is exactly how the bug will be raised, because no kid of mine will be a tail-puller.

My parents didn't ignore their cats when each one of us came home. As my mom puts it, "Well, they were here first," and as another friend has said about babies, "[they] are joining a family that's already in progress." That's key: we were already a family before the bug. Me, Dr. Mathra, the late Mica, Poppadum, and Hunca Munca -- that was our family.

So, please, even if you can't keep ALL your opinions about pregnancy and child-rearing to yourself, try really, really hard to keep your mouth shut on this particular subject. Honestly? You really don't know who you're tangling with.

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