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Valentín

In Presentation, Production on February 12, 2012 at 5:57 pm

So after all the recent upheaval, we’ve had a baby.

Any big move is going to be an emotional time, and will inevitably turn thoughts toward domesticity, future and family; so we just went ahead and did it. As a facebook friend posted the other day, sometimes you have to take a leap and build your wings on the way down.

And we are certainly feeling that way this morning – hurtling toward the earth with our hammer and nails and a bag of feathers. Life is going to be different. We might be accused of not having thought this through. But we will learn as we go like we usually do.

Regular readers will be confused. No, you haven’t gone crazy – not nearly enough time has elapsed since I wrote about the topic to have done this the biological way. Neither of us is ever going to win any prizes for patience, but two weeks would be tight, even for us.

We’ve adopted.

So strange and new to have a little one in the house! Not a particularly comfortable feeling, I have to tell you. The weight of responsibility, the anxiety, the pressure. Also, it’s a slightly creepy baby.

It’s under the dining room table as I type, staring at me.

That’s it then – we’re a unit of three once more. A little house, a front yard, a back patio and a baby. All very Brady Bunch isn’t it? As any little family does, this one has distinct roles. Basically, K is in charge of everything. As the principle bread winner and the only one of the three with an ounce of sense, she tends to make the grown-up decisions round here.

I’m not sure I like how dismissive she is of my capacity for adult behaviour though. Sly little comments like “You’re an idiot” and “No, you can’t”. I don’t think I’m a total loss; this week alone I’ve painted a wall, planted some herbs and flowers and drilled a large number of holes in our home.

Hardly childish. Still, there are times when even I can understand her frustration with me – last night she sent me out for some toilet paper and a bottle of lemonade and I came back with three different types of olive oil and what she chillingly referred to as an “unauthorised mozzarella”.

So that’s my role – I get sent to the shop. Lord knows what role the baby is going to fill. So far it’s just been eating stuff and chasing lizards. Bloody useless. I should point out for readers who might be keen to emulate us that adoption, far from being easy, is actually quite a complex and draining process.

First off, they don’t deliver. You have to get in the car and go to them. This, no doubt, is to establish your level of commitment and also to get a look at you and see if you’re adoption material. In our case we had to drive for almost an hour (!) up into the countryside around Chiclana. They have a baby compound up there.

Some of the more violent babies are kept in separate areas, but most of them are just let loose in a big yard. You can imagine the noise fifty or sixty free roaming babies make. It’s deafening. We picked one and a couple of weeks later returned to pick it up, so now it’s under the dining room table, staring at me.

Ok, it’s a cat. We got a cat. We saw him on the internet and read that his dueña had died and that he was badly in need of a home. As luck would have it we were badly in need of a rabbit replacement, so that was that. Now he lives with us.

He’s a very poor rabbit replacement. There’s none of the cute, floppy eared stupidity with this one. His demeanour is, if anything, predatory. The lagomorph never chased lizards for one thing. If she reacted at all, it would be to hide.

So this is going to be different. We didn’t sleep last night, because he didn’t want us to. He wanted to play with us. All night. We got a cat bowl and a cat toilet and a scratch post and a catnip toy, so we’re all ready to go. Let’s see what happens.

At least he’s good-looking. He is one fine looking cat, from the front. From the back, not so much; in between the time we picked him online and the day we turned up at the shelter he had gotten himself into a fight.  The other cat, it seems, was a lot better at fighting than our one, who got a  bite on the base of his tail.

To clean it, the vet had to shave around it, so now he has a bald arse. It looks awful. He isn’t an ugly cat though – he’s a good-looking cat with a bald arse. You have to try and positive things up sometimes.

Adopted rabbit replacements aren’t as good as the other ones for a variety of reasons, chief among which is that you don’t necessarily get to name them. We are no exception; our one came ready-named and we’re just going to have to live with that.

Actually since he came into our lives and finally into our home just in time for St. Valentine’s day I have a good feeling about this and I believe it will work out just fine.

His name is Valentín, and he’s still staring at me.

Let’s see what happens.

  1. Congratulations!!!!!!!!! Sleep deprivation is worth it. I want a cat and don’t purport to be responsible enough for a cat let alone myself. Welcome Valentin, meooooooooooow. You are going to have so much fun!

  2. I love it!!!!! Cant wait to meet Val!

  3. Pity you can’t practise nappy changing on Val…I mean in preparation for the real thing!!!

  4. I can’t imagine what Valentin’s reaction would be but I’m thinking, not good.

  5. One of the funniest things I’ve read in ages. Thank you Robin!

  6. You had me all the way until you said that it was a cat. Even through the “chasing lizards” part, I was thinking of a human baby! Well, congratulations anyway. Love his name — perfect!

  7. Congrats on your cat ^^ I love cats, they tend to like to snuggle on your keyboard and right in front of the computer screen when you are using the computer, very sticky and sweet =) Just in time for Valentine’s day XDD

    Should they bring you “gifts” from the outside, like a mouse, or bird, it means they see you as family and is trying to “feed” you ^^

  8. Adoption is a great way to create a family, whether it’s children or pets. The most recent addition to our family is an adorable lite mutt from a Romanian shelter. Best of luck with the cat. You know he will be the boss from now on, right?

    • I must admit, even though helping a little cat out is such a tiny gesture in the grand scheme of things we do feel pretty good about it. And yes, he doesn’t seem particularly compliant, so I suppose we will have to be.

  9. Aww, loved this story. Hope Valentin’s fur grows back soon then he can be even more handsome. We’re overrun with street cats at the moment and they keep reproducing! We’re not fans of cats but we are getting quite attached to them now…
    Julia

  10. Oh I loved this post. So funny. I hope you, K and little rabbit-replacement Valentín have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

  11. Street cats are a different thing altogether aren’t they? I first came across them in large numbers in Cairo and was amazed/appalled. I don’t think Valentin would last too long in a front garden, let alone the city streets!

  12. Enhorabuena on the new addition to the family :)

  13. Congrats on the adoption Robin! Babies sure change your life but in a very good way. Best of luck with all the changes. It definitely takes some getting used to but there will be some awesome moments that you wouldn’t trade for anything!

  14. Thanks Jeremy! You got that it’s a cat, right? I’m just hoping the awesome moments don’t involve too many breakages or damage to personal property!!!

  15. [...] for us, but what a schlepp. Up to our necks in boxes, budgeting and assorted banalities. Also, bunny replacements. We’re just getting over it now – lifting our heads and looking towards the horizon again, [...]

  16. [...] on our new nest. Although the process in the garden was more gradual, we felt optimistic when Valentín came to live with us some months later, that we had procured the perfect weapon: a big, burly cat of [...]

  17. […] where I go in the early morning for coffee and bread – a nice lady who always asks after our two cats, referring to them as ‘los niños’ – has refused to look at me for weeks. Everybody else is […]

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