Hello, Kitty … to stay, perhaps? (Plus briefs)

Those who’ve been reading the blog for a while know that our first attempt to adopt a new kitty – after the sad demise of 15 year old Watson when Lily was 3 months old – didn’t go so well. Lily was terrified of both cats and dogs at the time, and when we visited with a gentle old cat at the Humane Society, one on one, in February, Lily let out a piercing scream that sent volunteers running to check in on us.

Good times.

Since then, Lily, though still skittish, has gotten braver about petting dogs and cats, once she feels they’re not threatening. She’s still not wild about them looking her in the eye and approaching her; but if they’re settled somewhere, and she can gently pet their back or their ears, she really enjoys herself.

So two weekends ago, when we read about a nearby animal hospital that acted as one of several satellite cat adoption centers for the Humane Society, we stopped in to try again.

They mostly had very young kittens, which we aren’t so interested in – they’re nippy, and while this is done in a playful way, Lily would never understand the difference – but they also had an all-black five month old, who was very sweet and affectionate. Lily liked interacting with him on her own terms, though she still got nervous when he walked up and tried to rub himself against her legs, or stared at her.

But Joe fell in love, and the cat did seem a good fit for us. We thought it best, though, to bring Lily for another visit before taking the step of bringing him home – hoping in that time that we’d prepare things around the house a little in the interim as well. Continue reading

Misadventures in kiddie lit (or, why I’ve been inspired to write a children’s book parody called, “Curious George Gets What’s Coming to Him”)

I love reading to Lily. I really do. It’s one of my absolute favorite activities to do with her. But frankly, there are some books I’m less thrilled about reading to her than others.

We have a very truncated board book version, for instance, of “Jack and the Beanstalk,” and Lily seems to like its colorful illustrations, but the story drives me batty. Why? Because it might as well be called “The Shameless Goniff and the Beanstalk.”

Things start off fine – Jack sells a cow for magic beans, his mother throws them out the window, and the giant beanstalk grows and reaches up through the clouds overnight. All well and good. But then Jack steals a bunch of treasure from the giant’s castle and scoots down the beanstalk to safety. And then he decides to go back up the beanstalk for more, because apparently, he’s developed a taste for bling. But while trying to make off with an enchanted harp, the giant wakes up, and Jack barely makes it down the beanstalk in time to chop it down and send the giant plummeting to his death.

What exactly is the moral here? When you steal, make sure you get out of there quickly? And are we really expected to cheer for the boy who stole a bunch of stuff from a giant that was minding his own business, living atop the clouds, before having his home invaded? Who exactly is the victim in this story? (Because of my misgivings, I think this book will mysteriously be “lost” in the very near future.) Continue reading