Sept 27, 2015: A Tiny Addition

Because two adults, two young boys, and two pugs isn’t enough, I’d like to announce that we have truly lost our minds and will be adding another member to the household in about two weeks. Meet Princess Penelope Von FuzzyBuns!

Princess Penelope
Princess Penelope

Okay, that’s not her name. I don’t think, anyway. She has no name yet. Her foster mommy has just been calling her Baby because she’s the runt of the litter. Theo thinks she should be named Baby Pickles. Chris does not agree with this and says that he gets to name the kitten. I agreed that was fine, but secretly I plan to fancy up the name. Because I think a kitten needs a lofty Princess/Duchess/Countess/Dowager/Lady type of name. Chris will likely pick something cute and plain, like Rosie or something. And I shall fancy it up.

Don’t ask me why a cat. I’m a dog person. I don’t dislike cats by any means, but I’ve always been a dog person. But Chris has always wanted a cat—he grew up with them and loves them. And it so happens that the mother of one of Theo’s classmates from last year has these baby kittens that need homes and are great with kids, and for some reason I thought, “Well, this is a great time to get a kitten!” And really, it kind of is—we have no family travel planned for quite some time, so one or both of us will be around with Miss Kitty. This particular kitten is already litterbox-trained and by the time we get her will have had her first set of shots. And her foster mommy insists on paying for her spaying when she’s old enough. And okay, she’s cute as heck, too.

We talked about her for about a week, and Chris agreed to go meet her on Saturday. Predictably, he was smitten. I mean, how couldn’t he be? She’s 6.5 weeks old and tiny, with this tiny little adorable mew, but she’s feisty and wants to explore the big, bold world! (Her foster mommy has the kittens in a bathroom, and Miss Kitty is apparently dying to get out and explore the rest of the house.) The pictures I have make the kittens look larger than they are, but they’re really quite tiny. And they were great with Theo, so they seem like a well-socialized bunch of kittens. (This isn’t surprising, really—Theo’s former classmate and her little brother have been playing with them for the past couple of weeks, so they’re used to kids.)

Theo has actually been wanting a pet of his own for a while. He feels like the dogs are mine, which they kind of are—I mean, they’re all of ours, but I’m the one who got them, and I’m the one who takes care of them, and I’m the one they follow around the most. He’s very excited that he will be the one cleaning the litterbox!

Our one concern is allergies—both Theo and I have mild cat allergies. But I did some reading and learned that if you start young, you can bathe cats, which keeps the dander down. And half of our house is hard flooring that gets vacuumed regularly for dog hair already, so the cat hair will come up with that. I’m hoping that neither of us end up having problems—and that Sam doesn’t. (Sam hasn’t really ever been around cats, so who knows? He’s not allergic to the dogs, but he hasn’t been around cats.)

We figure we’ll never know if we don’t try. Worst-case scenario, if someone in the house is really allergic to cats, we’ll figure that out when the kitten is still young enough that we can find someone to adopt her. But I hope it won’t come to that. (She’s a short-haired kitten, so hopefully that, too, will help. When I worked for a vet years ago, I had bad allergies to long-haired cats, but I did okay with short-haired cats.)

In case you’re wondering about the pugs…Luna is so old that she mostly sleeps now, and she’s always been a very affable dog anyway. And Zoe…well, Zoe is neurotic, but I think she’ll do fine with a cat. We’ll monitor them closely at first, of course, but I think Zoe will adjust just fine. I think she’ll actually adjust better to a cat than another dog—Zoe gets a little territorial with other dogs, but I’ve never seen her show any aggression toward anything else. She’s just definitely a little alpha with other dogs!

Anyway, yes, we have probably lost our minds. But everyone has to be a little nuts sometimes, right?!

Aside from visiting Miss Kitty on Saturday, we also sold popcorn! Well, Theo did…to benefit his Cub Scout troop. That was actually quite fun. I had intended to just send Theo and Chris, but Sam and I ended up tagging along to watch. I’m glad I did—Theo was hilarious! He would charge right up to people coming out of the store and say very seriously, “Hello. Would you like to buy some popcorn?” And a surprising number of people stopped, looked at him, and said, “Oh my god, I can’t resist him. Okay.” So then he’d lead them over to the table and tell them about all of the flavors and pricing. My favorite was when he kept telling them we had “Cappuccino Cheese” flavor. Mmmmm, yum! It was actually Jalapeno Cheese…and when we clued him into that fact, he then proceeded to offer someone the “Halloweeny Cheese” popcorn!

He had a really good time, though, and when he finished his shift, he announced to me seriously, “Mom, I was born to sell.” I’m pretty sure that’s true—he sold about double the number of bags as his counterpart stationed at the other door to the store. He must get it from his grandfather, as Chris and I both stink at sales!

Speaking of Chris, though, he does not stink at editing! He finally finished his year-long project (well, the last couple of bits will be done on Tuesday), and his 17-hour workdays did not go unnoticed. His boss sent a super-nice email about the project to the entire team and specifically mentioned Chris’s work on it—I was very proud of him! He worked his tail off on it, and I was glad to see it recognized!

As long as I’m singing the praises of people, I must also commend Theo. Last week, I showed him a video my friend had posted of her six-year-old daughter playing a Star Wars piece in a piano recital. She did a beautiful job, and I told Theo, “See, if you keep practicing your piano, you can learn to play things like this!” He was immediately intrigued, as he’s obsessed with all thing Star Wars now, and so he has been practicing by choice multiple times a day, every day. And I’m amazed to see that he can suddenly sit down with a piece of music and quickly learn to play it on his own! Mind you, these are simple pieces intended for beginners, such as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “Jingle Bells,” but still—that he can suddenly sit down and learn to play a new song in a matter of several minutes is wonderful and shows how hard he is working at it! He seems to truly enjoy it, which makes me very happy! I love hearing him play. He is a perfectionist who is sometimes too hard on himself, but when he sits back and relaxes about it, he seems to really get pleasure from it.

As for Sam, he has been doing an excellent job of producing snot. (Hope you’re not eating as you read this!) I jest…sort of. Sam’s anatomy (nasal passages and adenoids) are such that when he gets any sort of allergies or minor cold, his nose runs a lot and for a long time. It’s gross, really. But what can you do?

Anyway, his preschool sent him home several times for excessive snot, and I was kind of annoyed because I had told them that he wasn’t sick (no fever, no cough, no malaise, no glassy eyes)—it was simply either a residual runny nose or allergies. And I had explained that he has exceptionally narrow nasal passages (common in Down syndrome) and enlarged adenoids, both of which contribute to him being a very snotty kid. And yet they kept sending him home and making a big deal about it.

And I get it, in a way—it’s gross. I know that. But I also don’t want to pay for him to attend a preschool that he can’t even go to for half of the cold/flu months because his nose is running. (Because it’s like this every winter—Kleenex is our best friend.) It got so silly that I began to refer to it as Snotgate, because it was kind of blown out of proportion, in my opinion. But his school seems to have made their peace with it, so hopefully we can proceed through the rest of fall/winter/spring with a minimum of snot drama. I will personally supply them with extra Kleenex if I have to….

The snot eventually subsided, and we were able to attend the Walnut Festival this year! Every year they have a Special Needs night, where the festival is open only to families with children with special needs. We have never gone before…mostly because it’s on a school night, and I’m somewhat unwilling to bend routines on school nights. But everyone told me it was super fun and we simply must attend, so we did. And actually, it was a pretty cool event. They provided free food, free admission, and all the rides were free. They didn’t have a ton of rides open, but there were enough to keep the kids happy. Theo loved the funhouse, and Sam was obsessed with the only ride he went on—some cars that went around a track. He kept saying, “Fast! Fast!” when he’d get on, and then he’d cry when the ride came to an end and he had to get off! We also managed to meet up with Theo’s friend Gavin while we were there, and his other friend Anthony. Very fun night!

Speaking of fun for the boys, in two weeks Theo will go on his first camping trip—something he’s been dying to do! We weren’t sure whether Chris and he would attend, because camping gear doesn’t come cheap, but we found a reasonably priced tent and sleeping bag at Target, so the boys are off! They’re just camping at a local campground nearby, so it’s no big thing, but to Theo it is the height of excitement! I predict Chris will arrive home tired (from Theo talking his ear off all night long) but having had a good time. And Sam and I have graciously volunteered to hold down the fort here, since I really like indoor plumbing!

A last fun thing from the week probably doesn’t sound like much fun, but I spent a morning working at the US Postal Service, packing boxes. And it actually was fun because I spend most days working alone behind a computer, and this got me up and around and with people. Our Down syndrome organization is part of the Combined Federal Campaign, which is where federal employees can donate to charities by having deductions made directly from their paychecks. So I went to help pack the charity materials into boxes to be sent out to federal employees. It was oddly satisfying and fun. And actually, they invited me to come to a charity event at the Coast Guard on Wednesday, so that should be fun—I get to give a three-minute speech about what our organization does and then man a booth with materials about our org. When you have a decidedly solitary job, it’s kind of nice to get out and do this stuff every now and then!

Anyway, must sign off now and get the boys ready for bed. In case you missed it, I had another blog post this week—click here to read it. Happy end of September to you all!

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