That was the closest thing to a name he ever had. Also lil' booger, and precious angel, and sweet baby. This is him one day old. Actually just under 24 hours, Wednesday evening. Also 1 day old here. That was when I noticed his big sister didn't look too well. I thought she wasn't breathing right, though I didn't want to be a panicky new grandma. My mom had I already been up all night before with the birthing, and we were pooped. After a while of the girl crying I had to call my Mom, even if it was a false alarm. Which unfortunately it wasn't. We tried all kinds of things, from cat cpr to an inhaler. We thought that she was pulling through whatever it was, but the next morning she was panting again, so we took Mama Leonidus and all the kittens to the vet. Turns out Leo wasn't producing milk, and the vet asked us to leave the babies there, emergency status. They had a mama cat there that they were going to try to get the kittens to nurse on, but they were worried they were too weak even to nurse. It was 11 am. The vet said to call around 2:30. At three we were able to talk to the technician, and she said we could come get the kittens, but she needed to go over a lot of things. Right after we got there and were shown to a room, we were told the littlest girl had just died. The tech told us that she'd had many a litter not make it even with bottle feedings and supplements, but she gave Mom and me all the things we'd need to try to keep the last two alive. I really couldn't have done it alone, just the 2 hour feedings would have me on sleep deprivation. Mom took the worst shift, too, the wee hours of the morning. The other girl didn't make it through the first night, and I buried her and her sister together the next day. Lil' dude, though, was a tough booger and he was really hanging in there. Look at that fat belly. His wiry limbs were incredibly strong, and so was his voice when he felt disgruntled. And Leo kept up with the duties she was able to, like washing him. And hiding him. I had to lock her out of my room where he was so she'd stop taking him out of the box with the heating pad; he had to stay warm. When he made it to 7 days I felt like we might not be out of the woods but we had reached a landmark. One week old, another one of those and his eyes would be open, in another he'd be clumsily getting into trouble and exploring the world, eating real food. I've had the pleasure of showing kittens the outdoors for the first time in their lives, and it's never any less exciting for me than it is for them. I couldn't wait to see what he would look like as he matured, having a dwarf persian mom and - I'm assuming- a normal father. What combo would little dude be? Anyway, he died a few hours into his eighth day. Died in my hand, though I begged him not to, and god to not let him. I buried him with his sisters. That's all I can write because my throat is closing painfully and distraction is how I deal with things like this. I just thought I should finish the kittens' story so that when I never mention them again you'll know why. I know we did everything we could but it just hurts.
If a picture says a thousand words, how many words are synonymous with miraculous, precious, and beautiful? "Lil' black brussels sprout heads", according to my mom, is one. Well I guess technically that's FIVE words. Also, to be completely honest, I can see that they look a little alien. They have bat qualities, with their thin, fuzzy, almost translucent skin. And they can look a little, well, rat- ish. Even kinda like monkeys. And yet they are also the most breathtaking, gorgeous, perfect little beings. I have spent many, many hours just admiring them and it's true, my breath does catch. When Mama Leo lets me catch a peek. She seems to be trying an "incubate the eggs" method of mothering. I'm kidding, she's just keeping them warm. In fact, it turns out she is a fabulous mother. She purrs and snuggles and kneads the air while they are nursing. If she shifts positions, and one baby isn't happy with that, she keeps adjusting her body until they are all comfortable (omg they make the MOST INSANELY cute baby noises in the universe!!!!! I mean, it's far from meows, it's little cries and snifflings and tiny complaints and sucklings- ok deep breath). When she finally got up to eat, though, (then relieve herself, then eat... then pee again then eat some more, poor dear, that was a lot of work) I had them all to myself!! They are literally so amazing that I find myself tearing up with a lump in my throat. Also, lucky for you, if a picture's worth 1,000 words, than five pictures is worth 5,000, right? Five also happens to be the number of pictures Blogger lets me put per post. The little angel brussels sprout adorable alien babies are only 15 hours old and I have 25 pictures so far. If I'd had more than four hours sleep that number might have been tripled by now, but I'm trying for restraint. Yeah, right. Good luck with that.
May 19, 2009, 10:30pm, it's a girl! One poor baby that never developed and was stillborn, who still deserves to be remembered. May 19, 2009, 11:30pm, it's a boy! May 20, 2009, 1:00am, it's a girl! Congrats Leonidus!!
*For the win. New growth abounds out in the beautiful summer-like weather! And not just where we planted things... This potato came up on the edge of the bean bed- guess we missed it during last years harvest 'cause all the potatoes we planted this year are on the other side of the garden! There's at least 20 of those coming up. Then another potato volunteered a couple feet away from that one. And then... another in the compost pile hee hee! Then there's the sunflowers. There're at least 30 of the suckers coming up all over the place- they'll be mixed in with pretty much every other veggie, fruit, and flower bed, from the taters to the peas. Speaking of peas, got about 6 of them that volunteered. This pretty little clump of red leaf lettuce came up all on it's own, before we'd planted any. So if this is what the garden does on it's own, you can imagine how great it's going to be with all that we've planted- and we've planted a heck of a lot, and the best part is we planted every bed with tons of different flowers, so in the squash there will be larkspur, in the cabbage will be zinnias, and cosmos in the taters. We even planted a couple rows of sunflowers randomly into the corn rows! Can't wait!
I always thought that was a weird expression. But watching Nikita try to get her entire body underground, it made sense. She was going for broke. I don't know what the heck was in there, but she wouldn't leave. Not even for dinner!
I watched for awhile to see if a packrat or bunny would suddenly make a break for it, or if Niki would actually get in there... but then it started getting dark.
"Okay Niki, that's enough," I said. She listened to me about as much as a stump would, so I thought I'd foil her plans with a big rock! And that worked about as well as her listening to me. I finally had to take her by the collar, but you know what? I'm still curious about what was in there. And now I'll never know. Poor Niki. I feel your pain.
Okay, MAYBE you could make it through your day without looking at my toes. Three pictures of them, at that. But I can't. I just want to look at them all day, freakishly long though they are. In fact, having never had a pedicure, I was worried that they would take one look at my toes and grimace with horror. Maybe they would even say they couldn't touch them. Or maybe I was just scared of having a stranger touch my naked feet.
I certainly wouldn't have done this on my own, but my lovely friend, who works hard and plays hard too, wanted to treat me and Mom to this. Mom and I were both scared. We held hands. And it was soothing, painless, and rather pampering.
I haven't had coffee in a month or so and this morning it sounded nice so I brought some to the front lines with me. Yes, the former coffee snob now has a can of Yuban in the cupboard that has lasted... four months? Hey, at least it's organic.
Look at this arrogant tumble weed!! Just growing in my yard like it belongs there. Rude!
And you gotta get the root when you pull 'em- if you just break them off at the surface they WILL come back, with more branches. They're like hydras I tell you! Monsters!!
Does that make me Hercules? I doubt he had flowers painted on his toenails though.