Friday, March 31, 2006

Driven to Drink Poetry

Nothing is safe.

The other day I found Arthur. He was hanging by his fingertips from the table. He had pulled himself up using a chair and from there it was just a short stretch to the table. The only trouble was, he couldn't figure out how to get down. So there he hung until I helped him.

The table incident gave me a new understanding. I understand why your parents want you to push chairs in when you're finished with them. I understand why parents pick up things off of the floor and vacuum a lot. And I think I understand how it is that the parents who achieve satori are able to make a sandwich and end the motion with a sponge swipe across the counter.

If they don't, they'll have some interesting explanations to make to the doctor (or at least some large bills).

Cat safety.

Something has happened to Muriel. First some background. Several years ago, Muriel developed a lump. We called her "Lumpina." Before we took her to the vet, Mark was examining the lump, which was on her back leg. He did something she didn't like because she reared up on her hind legs, batted at his hands with her claws, bit him, made eye contact, and bit him again.

When we took Lumpina to the vet, we heard strange noises in the back examining room, after which Dr. Ron rushed back into the waiting room and said, "Um, Muriel is giving us a little attitude about her lump, so we're going to sedate her."

So, some sort of miracle of personality has happened. Last night, Arthur decided it would be great fun to measure the mass of Muriel's tail by squeezing it in his little viselike fist and shaking it back and forth. Muriel turned to shred him to ribbons, saw who it was, and stopped. Anyone else would have been left with a bloody stump. I'm not making this up; there were witnesses.

She still insists on sleeping on our heads and using her powers of gravity control for Evil, though.

Where's Dad?

Arthur has a new game (OK, he's been playing this one for a couple of weeks). If you give him a blanket, point at him and say, "There's Arthur!" three out of five times he'll pull the blanket over his head and wait (sort of) for you to ask, "Where's Arthur?" If you put the blanket over your head and ask, "Where's Dad?" he'll pull the blanket off your face.

The down side of Arthur's object permanence is that he gets mad if you take something away from him (like a stick or dead leaf that someone tracked in on the newly vacuumed floor). He also gets made at the baby gate. Mark says he scowls (I'm waiting for the comparison).

But is it art?

OK. Although it goes against my resolutions of what kind of person I would become when I became a parent... apparently an earlier poem I wrote and shared was intensely popular. It wasn't a poem when I wrote it, exactly; it was more like a cry for help. Thankfully, Mark recognized it for what it was and came home after a visit to the liquor store. I give it to you here, with a new title.

Tribute to a Young Judith Viorst (Bring Tequila)

Arthur.
Clever fingers.
Undone diaper.
Loose fecal matter.
New rival for Mother of God on our rug.
Unwholesome snack.
Baby prison.
Call FEMA.
Bring tequila.


One critic even went so far as to suggest that my poetry was improving. Oh well; you take complements where ever you can.
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