I have recently integrated two kittens into our small household comprised of my almost 10 year old daughter, hamster and me.
We have been living - my daughter and I - in the apartment I bought for us to live in, since 15Jun2012, and hamster has joined us in September 2012. I have been divorced for going on seven years now and, after what I would like to think about as “brief interlude” of living with my parents, we moved here. I have been primary caretaker and responsibility axis for our family unit continuously during this time, but that fact completely crystallized for me only after we came to live here.
Even though I suspected that it is so during my years of living in Rijeka while attending college it only just became clear to me how much I enjoy being sovereign of my own household. Just like any sovereign’s rule, stemming from his/her birthright (in all practical sense making him/her product - or victim - of circumstance), this is also rule produced by natural order of me being biological parent and financial provider but, as it happens, other members of my household are apt and pleasant and more than able to grow and learn and take responsibilities. So we will in time grow from kingdom into direct democracy :D
But I digress - let us return to the kittens.
When we took them in they were just over 4 weeks old, real babies. Before they arrived I got us books on caring for kittens and I got them shelter, foodstuffs, toilet, toys. We made sure they were weaned off milk before separating them from mom cat so they would be fully independent in that regard but we knew that they are still babies and that we’ll need to care for them. And by “we” I mean I, who took the task of caring for kittens and task of teaching my offspring to care for kittens. We trained kittens to use the toilet in a day [this is me proudly bragging] by being observant and firm in our directions (my MSc Psych certainly isn’t going to waste J), and they have been provided with food and drink. House is full of toys and play and we take great care not to put them in danger and to keep them safe and healthy and it is - for me - quite similar to having new batch of human babies. Just like 9 years ago with my offspring, I am now observing, getting to know, feeding and cleaning after two small new creatures. They cry and play and shit when they feel like it and I can only adjust, just like I had to adjust for my daughter. I can try to direct some “hows” and “wheres” but I cannot control any developmental processes. We can only get acquainted with the person in that tiny body and try to be his/her friend and someone they can rely on for nurture, protection and guidance.
And that got me contemplating children.
I used to think children will not be an option for me but nevertheless I thought it would be nice to have three of those :D
When I met my ex-husband and we decided to pursue monogamous committed relationship we agreed on having children and we made one, but soon it was obvious that he was not really into raising and providing for them. After a short while it also became obvious that we won’t be staying together and he had the audacity to offer procreation as a means of appeasing me (to what I could just laugh since him stopping drinking would have been a lot more successful offer). After a much longer while, after separation and divorce, I offered procreation to my then-boyfriend but he was not interested in having his own children (or maybe having them with me, you never can tell). Time went by and with the passage of time and keener sense of listening to myself I came to a conclusion that I certainly do not want to have more children any more.
What makes me sad sometimes, since I seem to be very good at raising them. And I also have the patience and experience to endure the exhausting boring part.