Don’t start up the rumor mill. I am referring to acquiring a pet.
Wyatt loves animals. Ants, birds, ducks, lizards, lions, turtles, dogs — all are equally fascinating to him.
When Mama and I took him to the petting zoo at Foothills last month, he got a partial glance of the camel through the crowd of kids and yelled, “Giraffe!” I almost didn’t have the heart to tell him otherwise.
Based on our recent conversations, I thought Wyatt’s first pet might be a fish or a turtle.
Then we were presented with an opportunity to babysit a cat with the option to give it a permanent home if things worked out.
On the drive to Parrish last Saturday to pick up the cat from my coworker, Barbara, I asked Wyatt to come up with a name.
His first suggestions were Mama Kitty and Daddy Kitty. (We weren’t sure of the cat’s gender at the time.)
Then he called out, “I know. Kitty Cohron!”
KC (or Kitty as we ended up calling her) rode home in a pet carrier on top of a box of magazines so she would be eye level with Wyatt.
Kitty’s first impression of Wyatt was a chubby little nose pushed up against the bars of the carrier.
“Mommy, that Kitty is looking at me,” he giggled. Like poor Kitty had a choice.
From the front seat, I tried some babytalk on Kitty in an attempt to convince her that her abductors were harmless.
Wyatt removed himself from Kitty’s face long enough to ask, “Mommy, why are you talking like that?”
As I made the final turns toward Cordova, Wyatt said, “I’m gonna say, ‘This our home, Kitty.’”
Wyatt did all he could to make Kitty feel welcome. In fact, he hardly let her take a step without him.
When he tired of following her around, he started showing out for her.
“Hey, Kitty, watch this!” I heard Wyatt say as he made a beeline for his swingset.
Throughout the weekend, Wyatt followed all of my instructions regarding Kitty.
He never yanked or stepped on her tail, which I was afraid was inevitable with a 3 year old. Wyatt was very gentle with Kitty.
“Like this Mommy?” he asked every time he started stroking her fur.
If anything, Wyatt loved Kitty too much, and he was sure that the feeling was mutual.
“That Kitty likes me,” he told Zac and I on several occassions.
In fact, there were times that it was obvious Kitty was seeking quiet time away from Wyatt. I would have sooner gotten him to understand the Pythagorean theorem than Kitty’s need for personal space.
After 48 hours with us, I think Kitty’s nerves were shot.
I could empathize with her by Sunday afternoon.
By that time in the weekend, I had helped Wyatt wash his hands about a dozen times after petting Kitty.
That wouldn’t have been such an ordeal if we were going about this normally.
However, Wyatt prefers for us to fill up the sink with water instead of just letting the faucet flow. Then he soaps up his hands and does a little splashing (okay, a lot of splashing) before one of us finally forces him to empty the sink and dry his hands on the towel.
And of course, Wyatt can’t leave the bathroom without rubbing some Germ-X on his hands.
This whole process is rather exhausting, even when I make him take some shortcuts.
Sunday afternoon was also the time that Zac had set aside to give Kitty a bath to kill some of the fleas on her.
He had read online that it is best to have two people conducting the bath. However, I was in charge of wrangling our toddler, who was running through the house half naked instead of eating his lunch of macaroni and cheese.
I was waving the fork in Wyatt’s face when Zac yelled for a couple of towels in which to wrap Kitty.
The next thing I knew, Wyatt (still half naked) was watching from the bathroom door as his father attempted to blow-dry Kitty before she got a chill.
When I saw the look on Kitty’s face, I hurried Wyatt back into the living room before one of us got our eyes scratched out.
Although the boys had me outvoted 2-1, I convinced them that this was just not the time to bring a pet into the whirlwind that is our life.
I suspect Kitty was on my side because when we got home from church Sunday night, she was nowhere to be found.
This was problematic because we were supposed to load up Kitty as soon as we got in and take her back to Barbara and Barbara’s husband, Danny.
After about 10 minutes, Kitty reappeared and we were able to hand her over to her rightful owners.
The drive back home had barely begun when Zac said, “I miss Kitty already.”
I imagine Kitty was thinking something very different from the safe haven of her pet carrier — “I wouldn’t wish that bunch of nuts on a dog.”