I’ve been thinking a lot these days about the lessons I want McKenna to learn in the early days, because she is growing so fast. I know the first lesson – the most important of all lessons in our house – is to be nice to the pets. This will ensure that our happy little zoo remains our happy little zoo. I’ve briefly mentioned our fur babies before – I think – but we have three of them. Which means before McKenna, they outnumbered Matt & I, and now with the new addition of our lovely little girl we are square even.
We love our pets.. we really do.. but as all living things have a tendency to do, they drive us a bit up the wall at times. And maybe a little moreso lately than usual. Mind you, we need to remind ourselves that with the addition of McKenna into our pack we literally turned their world upside down.
Shiloh, who was my first baby, has now discovered that she comes a close second (for those of you wondering, Matthew was second before McKenna, and is now a close third – he is okay with this and always has been). She has taken the change quite well, but sometimes if she is being ignored for a long stretch of time she will come over and sit on the baby to make sure her presence is known. DON’T WORRY – she only does this when the baby is sitting right beside me and it is never with vicious intent – it is moreso directed at me rather than McKenna – kind of like a “HELLO MUM I’M RIGHT HERE TOO AND I’M CUTE TOO” and a reminder that she was my first baby for almost 6 years before little miss McKenna arrived on the scene and took up some of the prime real estate in HER bed (Shiloh is a 20 pound dog but still manages to take up 70% of our gigantic king size bed). Mind you, Shiloh has had her fair exposure to little ones, and is always gentle. Even when they are terrorizing her. So it is without a doubt I can say that McKenna and Shiloh will soon be best friends, namely the day McKenna starts eating solids from her high chair and Shiloh will assume her favourite position as living vacuum cleaner.
Secondly, there is Esme. Esme came after Shiloh & Matt, but before Lily. She was the cutest kitten I ever did see. To this day, I still think she is a gorgeous cat, however, somewhere between her 2nd and 3rd birthday she must have got quite comfortable with Matt & I because she let herself go and gained about 15 pounds. She is now the chubby monkey of the house and loves to lie on her back and stretch out her 20 pound self as far as she can go, preferably on a lap. Esme – of all the pets – is the most indifferent in her attitude towards McKenna. She simply ignores her. She spends most of her time these days downstairs grooming herself incessantly (she sheds the WORST of the bunch) and will occassionally saunter her way upstairs for a cuddle, upon which time if she finds McKenna in mine or Matt’s lap she will give us a look of disgust and walk away. We still give Esme cuddles when we can, & hope throughout time she will start to acknowledge the baby as another member of the zoo and not just a lap-stealer. We will see.
Lastly, we have Lily. Lily was the last fur baby to join the zoo, and is only a year and a half old. Lily is not a pampered princess like Esme, in fact, we can go hours upon hours without ever seeing Lily, even before McKenna came home. She will come out occassionally, but mostly just to stock up on food and water before she goes and plays with a bottlecap for 5 hours at time then sleeps in the downstairs ceiling (scares the living be-jeebus out of me when I go down to do laundry and she is staring at me from up there). I would have to say, however, since the arrival of McKenna, we have seen Lily MORE than the usual, leading us to believe that her curiousity may be turning into fondness. The fun part is that now McKenna has also discovered Lily and enjoys watching her when she comes into the room – probably because she is the closest to her in size – and I think that this is the start of a blossoming, great friendship between the two of them. That is, if we can keep McKenna from pulling her tail.
Which brings me back to my original point. McKenna’s first lesson, will be that of learning to treat the animals of this house with care and respect. We tend to treat our animals like humans most of the time, as on any given day you can count on Matt and I to be talking to one of the three about what’s for dinner or disciplining them like normal, 6 year old, human children – examples include: “BE NICE TO YOUR SISTERS” or “IF YOU DON’T STOP YOU’RE GOING ON KIJIJI” (just kidding. We would never threaten to put McKenna on Kijiji). McKenna will be taught early on that the animals of the house are her equals. Do I think that this will prevent any tail pulling or swatting or dragging of any kind? Not by any means – I am a realist. BUT if we stick with it early on and continue to tell McKenna of the importance of the animals as members of this household, maybe the concept will eventually stick. Or maybe I’m just dreaming.. time will tell.
Sorry this post was a little long-winded, but I felt a little strange continuing on this blog without introducing our zoo to readers, as they are such an important part of our household, and we truly hope they will continue to be for many, many years.