The cat is now named D.H.
It’s complicated, the way this came about, but I’ll try and explain it.
Let us start with the cat’s Government name. It is George. The Missus saved him from the SPCA- basically the SF humane society- some four years ago. He was a shy cat before Baby G came along- he’s actually named after a Bugs Bunny cartoon, the one where the big Abominable Fuzzy Thing picks up the little Martian, wanting to “hold him and pet him and call him George.”
He responded just like the Martian- he would squirm if you held him, and generally try to get as far away from you as possible. As he was found abandoned behind a Taqueria as kitten, hiding under a newspaper, he would act according to his wont and hide under the covers of the bed.
Enter me. I couldn’t call him George, don’t know why, exactly. So I called him ‘cat’. I have trouble with creative titles.
Enter Baby G. If Jesus was influential enough to affect even our calendar, so doth the Entrance of Baby G. There was B.B.G. and Anno Genevieve, in the year of our Babs. Complete upheaval. Along with a baby comes a measure of abject paranoia, and you soon learn to trade off. The Missus got paranoia early, whereas I was lackadaisical until we actually got to the hospital, so she’s logged more hours than me. Some months into pregnancy, B.B.G of course, we were at the grocery store, contemplating buying a very complicated tome of baby knowledge. It was pricey, I thought, and we already had books. And so, as I wont to do, I opened my mouth and spoke my mind, which is really the source of all my troubles and gaffs. Witness this
Thing to Never Say(#3):
“Really? How many books do we need? I mean, people have been doing this for thousands of years without manuals.”
I learned soon enough that
A.) you should never say this to a pregnant person and
B.) the non-pregnant person will almost certainly say this at some point. It is a measure of how obtuse I can be that we now refer to this specific book as “The Bible”, so religiously do we adhere to its mandates.
It is written by actual pediatricians- married to each other- with eight children, two of which also became pediatricians. You can’t get more qualified than that, and it is generally written in a soothing, positive tone, and it almost 800 pages long. Despite it’s tone, though, there are just so many things that can go wrong. Witness this list, taken from the ailments section of The Bible, of all the possible things the baby can catch:
Pneumonia, larygotracheitis, rotoviral diarrhea, starvation stools, pyloric stenosis, gastroespophogeal reflux, intussusception, eczema, appendicitis, boils, bronchiolitis, bronchitis, cellulitus, epiglottitus, cradle cap, Diphtheria, Fifth Disease, Hand foot and mouth virus, Impetigo, Herpes simplex, Herpes complex, Pinworms, Reye’s Syndrome, Roseola, Scarlet Fever, Croup, and RSV, and those are just the interesting ones.
I mean, come on. Fifth Disease? What the hell are the first four? And what’s Hand, Foot and Mouth virus? Like Hoof and Mouth but for babies instead of cows? And how can you even have Starvation Stool?
For this reason we have to trade off over who gets to have a “the baby is going to die!” day. Our friends with a 9 month-old would trade-off weeks, but hey; it’s different for everybody, right? Isn’t that what they say?
It was the Missus’s turn to have baby paranoia, and the day’s topic was the cat. He loves the baby, and has always slept in the bed. Right now, Baby G won’t sleep anywhere else, and so I sleep on the floor after feeling her little arm move underneath me one morning and spending a breathless, endless 5 minutes trying to see if I had dislocated her shoulder. The Missus is aware of her when she sleeps- which still ain’t much- and so that is fine and good, but the cat wants to do his share. When he about sat on her feet, we decided to consult The Bible. Suffocation can be a real threat- I guess cats are just cats, after all, and will try and snuggle up to the baby, or even jump into the bassinet. It’s hard because we are so fond of our weird little man, and it is simply impossible to think of this goofy little guy as being harmful or vindictive, especially as he completely changed his personality when the baby came. He cries when she cries, and looks at us imploringly- “Good God, Do Something!” he seems to be saying. Still, we have to think of Baby G, and so he strolled into the bedroom just as we had decided to banish him during nights.
“Well, “ sighed the Missus, “Here comes the Death Hazard.”