Day 352: One in, one out

December 18, 2007

All the excitement of last night paled a little when Baby N decided to make up for her fantastically timed bout of evening sleep, by staying awake till 3am or so. Today has been a bit of a slow one, to say the least. As I remarked to L, today I managed to sort out half a box of Little A’s old clothes. Success. Really, having little ones at home is all about adjusting your expectations for the day. Aim lower than low and be pleasantly delighted if anything is accomplished.

We gave away one of our cats today, which was sad but good. When L and I first lived together we got two cats from the Humane Society. We liked them so much we got two more; the kitten sisters. Bad idea, all things considered. Four cats is quite a handful. When we moved to the States we actually brought two of our cats, and we would have brought all four if our new landlady had allowed us. We knew it was insane to fly cats half way round the world, after all it’s not as if there aren’t plenty of homeless cats here. But, we were moving to an unfurnished apartment in a new town with no friends, so we thought the cats might provide some comfort. Turns out we probably messed up our poor cats more than we ever thought possible by moving them here. It was quite pleasant to only have two cats again after the chaos of four. It was so nice in fact that we went to the Humane Society and got two more. After Little A was born, three of the four cats adjusted well to having a baby in the house, but one did really badly. He was our only boy-cat and he was special, very special, in a developmentally challenged sort of way. He was the sweetest cat you could ever meet; he was the tester animal at the shelter. They’d bring him out to see if the other animals were aggressive towards cats, and no matter how loud or menacing they were towards him, he’d just roll around on his back, purring. He was the loveliest cat although he couldn’t really jump, he’d bang into things, he didn’t notice anything. Looking into his eyes was like gazing into a vast pool of vacant. There really was very little going on inside. When we moved house he barely registered. continuing with his life as if we’d just moved his food bowl, so we thought that he wouldn’t even notice a baby in the house. We were wrong, he was scared of the baby and hid all day until she slept at night. Then he would come out and be so incredibly, relentlessly needy and we were so incredibly, relentlessly exhausted that we could barely be bothered. As Baby A got bigger and more mobile, Ziggy’s quality of life with us went downhill, until we eventually found a new home for him. He is apparently thriving in his new child-free environment, walking into chairs at leisure, falling off the sofa just because he can. Although saying goodbye was very sad, we don’t miss him. I remember him fondly from our pre-kids days, but it would be awful for him to still live with us. We sometimes joke that we have a one in- one out policy.

And so we now have a two month old, and it seems another cat had to go. We are keeping our Scottish kitten sisters who have all sorts of neurosis and chronic illnesses between them (and incidentally, terrible teeth. Our American cats had perfect teeth. Stereotypes: not just for people). But we decided that we need to downsize so that everyone gets a fair share of love and attention and no-one becomes neglected. Chutney has been picking on the others since the baby came home, obviously she is bored and a little attention-starved. She has been lunching daily with the carpenter who has been working on our house, and they seem to have a beautiful blossoming relationship. He is looking for a new cat as one of theirs just died, so we played cat matchmaker, and today she has gone to her new home. She will be missed. She was probably the only truly well-balanced, loving cat that we have ever had.

Today we arranged to take Baby A out of daycare. It probably came at a very good time in that we just learned that her very favourite, most beloved teacher is leaving on Friday. Every time we drive down there she tells us that she doesn’t like the two other members of staff in her classroom, but that she likes S. I don’t know how she would have reacted if S was no longer there, probably not too well. We mentioned that the classroom staff had been acting oddly around us. It turns out that they are being blamed by the Administration for the incident- that it was their responsibility that one of the children in their care fell against a project under construction. No wonder everyone has been walking on eggshells around us. L had a lengthy conversation with the Director of the place yesterday after we filed our grievance. In all honesty he may as well have just sat down and banged his head off a brick wall for twenty minutes. Suffice to say that the institution which prides itself on its lofty ideals with regards to child learning and development could do with displaying some compassion towards the staff and parents. I’m really sorry that we have to take Little A out of daycare, out of an environment in which she is obviously thriving, but we have ended up being very disappointed and a little bitter towards the Administration.

Anyway, this evening we made Asian Pinwheel Steaks with Noodle and Cabbage Sauté. My supertiredness is suddenly catching up on me so I will be brief (for if I were a Superhero I would be the fabulous, invincible SuperTired). Flattenened New York strip steaks are spread with a sort of Asian pesto, rolled up, skewered and baked in a hot oven. The pesto-type mixture is made from peanuts, scallions, garlic, ginger, spinach, lemon zest and juice, parsley, cilantro, cayenne pepper and tamari blasted in the food processor then mixed with vegetable oil. Drained, cooked angel hair pasta is added to a pan in which garlic, ginger, cabbage slaw mix, tamari, rice wine vinegar and chicken stock have been cooking, then everything is tossed together with some scallions.

This was a pleasant meal, the elements of which I would consider using again. I enjoyed the noodle dish in an understated quiet sort of way. The pinwheel steaks were perhaps a little too dense and heavy. This is one instance in which we thought that chicken breasts might actually be more successful. The pesto mixture is very substantial in flavour, it is a hearty accompaniment, so maybe the meat itself could be a little less rich.

Tomorrow we have to make a list of everything that needs doing in the next couple of days and actually start working through it. We are too tired to get much of anything achieved otherwise (see non-appearance of thank-you notes for baby gifts and holiday cards etc). We will be dining on Crispy Rosemary-Orange Chicken with Parmigiano String Beans. We have friends flying in from Scotland on Friday for ten days with their 1 1/2 year old daughter. It should be interesting, and hopefully fun. Last time they visited we were all child-free and we had an absolutely fantastic time. We just hope this time will be as fun, and that at least two out if three kids will nap at the same time.

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