In my (priviledged) experience, you have to look pretty hard in Berkeley to find somebody who’ll object to gays, or two guys raising children, polytheistic and vegetarian. (We’re actually omnivores, that last bit just an example). I don’t think my expressive dance therapy, Ojai psychic, or Reiki training could manage a rolled eye for at least 2 miles in any direction.
But it’s pretty easy to get some horrified stares when you tell the other moms that you’re raising a baby rat the cat brought in from the wild.
I did not set out to find a way to upset people. I understand the chill of revulsion many people feel with little skittery rodents.
And I wasn’t looking for another creature to raise, though the decline of our poor nearly-blind dog sometimes weighs on me. It’s heartbreaking. His corneal problems have stabilized and there’s not pain, so his quality of life is pretty good. He gets a lot of dropped food, and can still geriatrically climb on the table for leftovers if you leave a dining chair pulled out. But just as it’s a shock that my baby’s in kindergarten, it’s hard not to think of Finn in his younger, more spry incarnation. He bumps into things on walks and is effectively blind and deaf. There are days it seems he might be getting near the end, and days that he seems quite content.
Which is to say that it’s not entirely unwelcome to have a baby in the house. Some people might have been annoyed at the cat for this little gift. Others might not have appreciated the husband calling “can you take care what the cat brought in” as he ran to work. But it’s a measure of how well we work together that Jay knows I’d rather deal with these sorts of things. And that when he returned to find a rodent sickroom in the corner of the kitchen at the end of the day, he’d coo at the cute little guy, rather than frown. (I think Jay’s secret superpower is that he says yes, to so many things, so often. It’s hard to bring him an enthusiasm that doesn’t require him to get into a watercraft and have him resist. But kayaks? Um, no.)
Here’s Mr. Bubbles 4 days after the cat brought him to us. He’s less pink, a bit furrier, but eyes still closed and completely helpless and dependent:
A few days later he opened his eyes, and his little ears started to grow and grow. He’s almost twice the size, fluffier, perkier, and way more entertaining:
He still mostly drinks half-and-half from a tiny little syringe, sans needle, that we got from the vet a few weeks ago to squirt medicine in the cat’s mouth.
(Really this whole thing might not have happened if not for the syringe, which looks exactly like the ones my mother the nurse had in the house to give a neighbor with MS injections, and that we then used to feed a series of birds and beasts. It seems so unlikely, given that just about every other household object looks so different, that little tiny syringes are identical to the ones from 40+ years ago. They’re like white buttons or paper clips: timeless.)
Such a lovely body memory, the milk, the bread, my mom nurturing various little critters.
Needless to say, even without the clamoring of my children to keep him, this little guy is staying.