Friday, July 31, 2009

Washington Update

Yesterday I handled Washington quite a bit and got some purring, licking, and love bites. I did a little research about orphan, wild kittens, and I am feeding him kitten formula along with his other kitten chow. I also gave him a little bath and "stimulated" his butt with a washcloth. I don't think this was actually necessary; he seems to be pooping on his own. (The stimulation is apparently vital for very young kitten survival, as it gets the bowels moving.) But although he might not have needed it, he sure did love it. By the time that was all over, I was mom.

In order to get to that point, I had to fetch Washington from behind the refrigerator, which meant I had to move the refrigerator. He usually hides either there or behind Jeff's Lego containers under his desk. Once the fridge was moved, I had to put on gloves and fight to get the cat out from under the fridge. He is a hisser and a scratcher. He thinks he's fighting for his life, after all.

But in the end he turned out to be a total pushover. I guess we are getting him at the crucial time, 4-6 weeks old, when it is actually possible to tame a kitten. Also, he is weaned, which really ups his chances for survival. I'm giving him the formula only to fatten him up, since he's so teeny--only half a pound. In the days since I found him, I have found two of his siblings dead in the same place on that off ramp. Washington was the only lucky one who had the good fortune to get seen by someone who would stop. This, combined with his ideal developmental stage, means he is a lucky little dude.

Yesterday, I got tired of seeing dead cats in the road and actually went on foot for a little exploration of the off ramp area. It was a dismal scene. I pass by there every day, but in a car, I never noticed how full of trash the place is. Also, under the 10 freeway overpass, there seems to be a colony of homeless activity--lots of shopping carts and old clothes. I didn't venture under there. There was a discarded infant car seat behind the sticker bushes I pulled Washington out of. I don't even want to know about that one. It became clear very quickly that finding any more kittens would be impossible. There were too many hiding places, and I can barely find Washington in our apartment. This morning I braced myself on the way to work, and sure enough, I saw a bigger cat dead in the exact same place. Maybe that was the mom. So it brings to mind a sick joke: why did a whole family of cats cross the road? No idea, but it didn't work out for most of them, that's for sure.

Since we are going out of town for the big family reunion on Cape Cod (yay!!!!), I am looking for a temporary foster home for the kitten while we're away. I put in a request to this teacher at my school who fosters tons of cats and has six of her own. I'm hoping she can continue to hand train Washington while we're gone so we don't lose any momentum on taming him.

I'm not thrilled to have a cat right now, to be honest. I don't think a kitten and a toddler are exactly well matched. But it was either this or certain doom for the kitten, so if we can get him tamed, maybe we can adopt him out when he's eight weeks old. If not, we'll keep him. Jeff has never had a kitten, and if this one does become a tame, playful little guy, we are in for some serious hilarity over the next few months. Having a kitten around is one of life's greatest, funniest, most fleeting experiences.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Thank you for taking me to the park almost every day.  I have so much fun with you.  You are the best dad.  I love you!

Way Long Overdue - Uncle Pete!

My brother came to visit a while back.

Long Overdue Videos

The first is La Dee Da.  One morning Zack did this, I did it back, and then Jeff heard us on the baby monitor going back and forth with La Dee Da and came in to join the fun.  Now it's our family's first in joke.

Get it?

And finally, as promised many times, here are Zack's first steps, which Jeff accidentally caught on video.  This was May 2nd.  Within a week, Zack was really walking.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Washington Cross

This morning, I found this little guy on the freeway offramp where I exit every day for work.  He was sitting there in the middle of the road.  I stopped the car, put on the hazards, and approached him.  He crossed the road into some pretty thorny bushes between the ramp and the actual freeway, and I knew I had to extricate him, because he had little chance of surviving the day if I didn't.  I came out of the fray covered in scratches, stuck all over with little thorns, and pretty dirty.  And then I had a cat in my car.  As you can see, he's quite safety conscious and elected to ride in the infant restraint.

Although I could complain for hours about my job, one huge advantage of it is that I can pretty much change my schedule at will, so I went in and did a switcheroo to work this evening.  Then I took the cat to the vet, got my car washed and vacuumed to get rid of any fleas, and went to Petco to pick up some necessary items.

I should mention that I named the cat Washington about a minute after I got him into my car.  I found him on the Washington exit off the 10 freeway.  So I guess I had it in mind to adopt him right away.  He's on a trial basis now.  We'll see how he does.  He's hiding under Jeff's desk, and I expect he'll be there for a few days.

Sadly, when I went into work later, I exited at the same place and I thought hey, I wonder if Washington has any brothers and sisters.  And right after I thought that, I did see a little kitten quite exploded in the road, very near where I had found Washington this morning.  It didn't even occur to me to look around for more kittens earlier today, and I was kind of devastated to find out I'd separated them, and then one hadn't made it.  So now I know that Washington is not only hiding under Jeff's desk and taking some time to adjust; he's mourning the loss of a family member.  Maybe several.  Could have been a heck of a lot worse for him, and I'm sure he'll recover, but he's had a tough day.

One kind of fun thing today for a geek like me was that for some reason my vet thought I would be interested in seeing Washington's infestation of ear mites under a microscope.  Man, that guy has me pegged.  I totally loved that.

Washington was filthy and the ear mite thing was out of control, but he cleaned up pretty well.  I don't think he's actually a biter or a scratcher.  He was just terrified out of his mind this morning.  The fight had gone out of him when I picked him up from the vet.  They wrapped him in a little blanket, just like a swaddle, and all he could muster was a weak hiss by that time.

Zack got to pet him a little and was very good with the "gentle touching," although he did grab an ear.  There was no payback from Washington, so that's a great sign.  I offered him some food and sat and petted him while he ate; he was clearly starving.   So we'll see.  Any more scratching and he's out on his recently cleaned and de-mited ears.  But I'm optimistic.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thirteen months!

Yes, this mess is sufficient. Time for a drink.

I think Zack might be on to me.


Zack is upset by loud noises, so while the gardeners were running their leaf blowers and hedge trimmers, he spent the time here.

Block chosen for color coordination.

And flavor!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Independence Day!

Today Zack and I went out for a little stroll to get some air before it heats up too much in the Valley.  Also we wanted to give Jeff a nice long sleeping in time, since Zack has been having these weird intermissions around 3 a.m. and is up for 90 minutes or so.  Jeff tackled the one last night.  They are no fun!  The only plus is that Zack sleeps in when he is up partying at 3 in the morning.

The Valley Village Homeowners Association was setting up a big shindig in our local park.  When Zack gets excited, he makes this amazing sound:  a dramatic intake of breath, a gasp of happiness.  He makes it whenever he realizes we're going to the park and when Jeff drops him off at daycare.  So when he saw the swings today and this many balloons, it was just too much. Hugely dramatic gasp.

We had breakfast al fresco.  Waffles and dried fruit.  He is not so much a fruit eater, but I found these Gerber freeze dried fruits that he loves.

He looks great in my most recent Target sunglasses.

I was just reading that toddlers vacillate between independence and clinginess.  So all over the play structures in the park, I was blown away by how much Zack can do now.  He is such a climber.  Jeff started taking the boy on the monkey bars when Zack was teeny, so now he has almost no fear.  It's really great to see.  And then every now and then, when we would go down the slide, that was just a little much, and he would want to be carried for a while.

But when he saw some guys hanging balloons on the corners of the tents in the distance, he completely took off!  I glanced down, and the next thing I knew, he was speeding across the park.  What happened next was an epic journey for him.  The terrain was a little rough, and he stumbled a few times.  He also strayed and ambled away from the goal, but then he would find the object of the journey again and reorient himself.  The balloons were his North Star.  He made it all the way across the grass to the tents, which you can see in the distance over his head in this picture.  Then he stood there and admired the gigantic bouquet of balloons that the guys were working with.  And of course, they gave him one, even though it meant they had a red and a white on left over that they couldn't use on one of the corners.

Mission accomplished.

Zack also followed a little girl around the park with the same determination.  He loves older kids, but especially girls.

And then he saw a doggie and took off in that direction.  Unfortunately he ate it on a downslope and ended up with grass on his face, in his mouth, and a small cut on his nose and some light abrasions.  He was a complete champ about it.  Just a little crying, and then a sippy cup and some playing with his new balloon made it all better.

He didn't even cry when the balloon popped in his hands.  He was very zen about that loss.

And then he snapped this photo of Mommy's shoes.

And another of his own shadow.  I think the composition is pretty good in these.

Happy 4th!  Since Zack tends to cry if we even operate a blender in the house, we are not seeking out fireworks.  Anyway, he'll be in bed by then.  So we'll probably catch the local CBS Radford Studios show from our front lawn, if anything.

In other news, Zack has been recovering from a weird virus that left him covered in red polka dots.  We have now had to delay his MMR twice due to illnesses.  It's sort of ironic that the second delay actually involved a measles-like rash, but we took him to the doc (at Jeff's insistence) and he does not have measles or chicken pox.  Just some other, non specific red, dotty rash.

We also recently got an allergy panel done for him.  Jeff wondered if he might have allergies, since he's congested a lot.  I have no idea how the allergy test works, but it turns out Zack has no allergies to anything, which is great to know.  Because he's often stuffed up and/or rashy, it's nice to be sure those symptoms are definitely viral and we don't have to worry about nuts or dairy or pollen or cat dander.  We just have a daycare kid who gets every single bug that comes around.