I’m being outvoted. Right here, right now.


The kids want kittens.

Spouse wants kittens.

I’m having nightmares about Black Friday emails and Cyber Monday emails and Last Night of Hanukkah emails about KITTENS.

We’re dog people. And when our cat died earlier this year we were heartbroken. And it took about a week for someone to say, quietly, “time for a dog.”

But I’m not training a puppy. And I’m not socializing an older dog. And I’m not paying a fortune for the medical bills of a senior dog. All of those statements are heartless and cruel, and I don’t care. I don’t need another child, and let’s face it: adding a dog to our family would be as much work as having another child.

It already takes everything I have to keep my boys from killing each other. Every other minute. I’m not going to tell them to stop wrestling the dog, too.

It already takes half an hour to leave the freaking house, trying to keep calm while the fiascos and the fights and the “oh, I forgot!” and the “wait for me!” and the “hey, I want to be first” nonsense ricochets all around me. I’m not adding a leash and a poop bag to that stressful chaos.

So I warmed, a bit, to the idea of cats. It’s been nice not having a litter box. Not worrying about keeping the door closed. Not paying for food and litter and toys and vet bills. Not watching where I step, being awakened by someone other than the three who already wake me, and not worrying about anyone or anything’s poop.

But we already know about cats. We have the stuff. The kids want something small to love.

And who can blame them?

Well, me. I can, if this turns out to be a horrible idea.

We’ve talked about how kittens don’t know the rules, and might fight with feet and hands and backpacks and LEGOs.

They say that’s okay.

We’ve talked about how, if a kitten tries to wrestle your hand or foot you have to say, “uh-oh” and remove that body part from their grasp. And how you have to get a toy as an alternative, but not so quickly that they think they’re being rewarded for clawing and gnawing on human flesh.

They say that’s okay.

We’ve talked about keeping items away from the edges of shelves and about gently removing kittens who jump on counters or tables.

They say that’s okay.

I’m running out of ammunition, people.

Because kittens.


I bow to you

Ladies and Gentlemen: let me begin with a nod to all humans who do their best—child-free or parental, gainfully employed or working your bum off for free—I acknowledge your hard work. I know life’s not easy. But I have a special something to say to a few of you…

Dear Mothers with Three Children:
I bow to you. I have recently gone from just-barely-hanging-in-there Mother of Two to no-way-I’m-going-to-make-it Mother of Two plus an immobile Spouse who eats WAY more than a child, but uses his words and can be trusted not to damage any of the stuff in his room if left alone for extended periods of time. Which he isn’t, with the ice and the food and the meds and the requests for a change of Netflix streaming to “I don’t know…what is there?” Three children must be more work, but I don’t know how it’s possible to actually do all that work without losing a limb or a child or your sanity or something. And I therefore bow to you. Namaste.

Dear 24-hour-a-day Mothers of Three Children:
[I reject the stay-at-home designation because it’s code for “easy job” amongst the uninitiated, and because you don’t actually stay at home.] I bow to you and fall over with exhaustion now that I’ve glimpsed one iota of what you do. But three inept people 24-hours with no break and I would. Break. Especially if they were all under 7 or so. Email for a quote of how far back into my head my eyes roll thinking about how you can possibly still stand at the end of the day if your Three are either very young or teenagers.

Dear 24-hour-a-day Single Mothers of Three Children:
I hereby elect you President of the United States. Because being the sole source of everything for three inept creatures with no other adult support IS HANDS DOWN harder than being the leader of the free world. [If you have a chef and a housekeeper and a Cabinet like POTUS does, I disqualify you from this election. Cuz you know nothing about anything and I resent that you tricked me into bowing and then voting for you.]

So I suppose that this is my way of telling the rest of the world that there is a Bermuda Triangle whose delineating points are:
Three Dependent Dependents
No Breaks
No After-Bedtime Partner
that equals the trifecta of Everyone Should Repeatedly Bow to You and Give You Their Spare Chocolate.

And if you live in that Triangle for more than a week, your local bottler and brewer should sponsor your evenings right here, right now. I know the first three drinks are on me.

P.S. Full-time Mothers of Four or More Children: I just passed out from trying to imagine. I’d like to give you all a cyber-nap because without one I’m guessing you’re all dead right now.

P.P.S. Full-time care givers of both small children and an aging parent: I did not forget you, but your situation is not at all funny, and no matter how I wrote this I couldn’t make it funny and I’m sorry that all I can offer you is deep empathy and wishes for all the best. And chocolate. I wish you chocolate, too. But keep it quiet because the Moms of Three think they’re all deserving and whatnot, and who am I to burst their bubble at how easy their lives are, relatively, since I just told them they have me glimpsing how easy my normal life really is, relatively. “Really” and “relatively.” I’ll bet your life doesn’t even allow for words of that many syllables, simple thought they are.

P.P.P.S. I must now go weep that the best modifiers I can conjure are “really” and “relatively.” Seriously.