Monthly Archives: September 2015

Feeding The Finicky

Darth Jingles with Ritz in plastic bag

Meals in our house are tenuous affairs. First, The Girl: she’ll eat most things, but only two bites. Then an hour later, she may eat something else. The Boy doesn’t want whatever is presented, but neither does he want to participate in the choosing of meals. Hubby waffles between preparing comfort food and experimenting with gourmet food, sometimes he tries a hybrid of the two. Occasionally this doesn’t go well. No matter what the kids aren’t in the mood for, I have a talent for picking that exact thing to make when I prepare a meal. I’m not sure how that works. At least I can count on The Girl to eat two bites.

Now the cat is another matter. First, let me just say up front, Jingles is an idiot. She’s never figured out meat is edible. Hamburger, chicken, pork – no, it’s not food. Salmon? No. Tuna? That’s complicated. Tuna is edible, but only if it’s drinkable. She enjoys her tuna beverage. The fewer solids the betters. She doesn’t want to chew her tuna fish. Jingles doesn’t like moist cat food either, it’s dry and crunchy all the way for her. Although she’s particular about brand and occasionally changes her mind. Usually after we find big bags of her preferred cat food on sale and stock up. Foolish humans.

Okay, now that we have that behind us, let’s talk about what else she considers food. Our cat loves her carbs. She won’t chew meat, but she will snarf down Cheerios. Oh yeah, loves those Cheerios. And pretzels, the crunchy not the soft ones. And Ritz crackers, but one is enough for her, usually. Hubby lets her lick curry off his finger, which I keep telling him is a bad idea and he’s going to pay for it, but she hasn’t proven me right yet. Some day.

So the cat isn’t very cat-like, but some things aren’t far off, just a bizarre twist on nature. Sort of. She took off on us for a week and lived off the land, and demonstrated once that she knows how to eat a mouse, so she is a cat. It’s good to know.

Did you know you can get Twinkies with Minion costume stickers to apply to the Twinky itself to dress it up? Hubby bought a box because A) the kids love Twinkies and B) Minions freak out The Girl. He dressed one up and offered her a treat. She flipped. The cat was intrigued and came to investigate. Hubby offered Jingles a Twinky dressed in a little jumper, smile and eyes. She glanced at it. He wiggled it. She gave it a closer look.

Let’s look at this from a feline point of view: it’s prey-sized, it has eyes, it moved, it isn’t aggressive, it’s now motionless – clearly frozen in fear. This is prey. Fast forward ten seconds to her next discovery: this is easy prey. Fast forward again another five seconds: this is edible. Again ten second: this white stuff on the inside is good. And again another five seconds: this white stuff on the inside is sticky.

I plan on checking to see if Jingles has learned anything from her first encounter with a Twinky. Anything like: it’s still prey even if it doesn’t have eyes and is dressed in little stick on pants, how to handle the white stuff without getting it everywhere, and how to get it out of the wrapper or box on her own. I’m not really keen for her to learn that last bit.

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Back To School – Kids vs Cat.


The kids are back in school and even Darth Jingles is smarter than me: she’s staying away from this mess.

I should be thrilled my teenagers are now spending most of every weekday being someone else’s problem. That’s how it should be, not how it is. First, The Girl started her senior year the Wednesday before last. Yay! It’s almost over, just one more year, and she has mostly fun classes so less stress. Dream on. Her schedule was messed up. We fixed it. She discovered all the kids in her Introduction to Statistics class were morons, then discovered the same about the kids in her Wildlife Biology class. Apparently someone had to ask how to spell “gills.” That rant lasted … actually it’s still going on. I get texts throughout the day as she tells me things she can’t say in class in the interest of polite society/not getting beat in the hall. (She’s a snarky little thing but knows when to rein it in. Usually.)

With The Girl being back in school, we’re faced with her usual last minute catastrophes. I would have thought at some point in the last 17 years, she would have learned the concept of “advance notice.” Alas, this is not the case. We still get her panicked race to our room at 11 pm to tell us she needs something for class and she it needs tomorrow. When did she learn of the requirement? At least two days previously, but we still have to drag that gem out of her. How does this apocalyptic event change our lives? We have to listen to her whine when we refuse to go to Walmart in the middle of the night, praying they have exactly what she needs. No, she can wait until after school and we’ll take her to go get whatever it is. I don’t do Walmart. Ever. Yes, that means she won’t have it for class – as was specifically required. Tell us in advance next time. We fix that problem and three days later repeat the exact same scenario. It’s amazing.

That’s The Girl, her little brother is very different. When The Boy needed something for school, he mumbled it upon walking through the door (that’s his version of telling us) and then never mentioned it again. He could be docked points class after class for having a loose-leaf binder instead of a spiral notebook or something inane like that, but we wouldn’t know until Parent-Teacher Conferences rolled around. Sigh.

The Boy started school last Monday, several days after his sister. A reminder: near the end of third term last year we switched him to an online/home school. I’m his “Learning Coach,” a title I desperately wanted to pass on to Hubby this year. He declined. The good part about this is there’s no more mumbling of things as he walks in the door. I know (generally) what he needs to do and what he needs in order to do it. Unfortunately his teachers don’t always copy me in their emails to him, and there’s no way he’s volunteering information, so there’s still that.

The Boy’s schedule is also messed up and I’m having some trouble getting that sorted. Getting him to go to bed at a reasonable hour, get up in time for his lessons, and give up video games during the day is fine. So far. Getting him to give up his 2 hour mid-afternoon nap is already becoming a problem. Let the battle of wills begin!

That being said, I’ve already been outsmarted by Hubby (he’s not The Boy’s “Learning Coach), and Darth Jingles (she’s refused to come in until this whole “beginning of school” thing gets straightened out and her children calm down), so I’m concerned about this mid-day nap dilemma. Is it sad that I looked over his schedule and penciled in when he can take a nap? I go check to make sure he gets up again to finish his work. That feels like giving in. Now I have to wake him up twice a day when I’m already tired of doing it once. Maybe he’ll ease out of it. (Last night he fell asleep on the rug in front of the refrigerator after going downstairs for a midnight snack. Yeah, he’s going to give up his mid-day naps, sure.)

All right, now that we have that sorted out, the kids finished their first week and survived, the cat came home over the weekend. The little brat usually is very sensitive to the needs of her children. She snuggles with them when they’re sick. She sleeps with them when they’re upset. But she cleared out when they endured their first week of school. In high school – she was there for them in junior high. Brat.

Jingles came home bearing a gift – a dead mouse. This is a little unusual, she doesn’t bring her playmates home with her. Whatever. We gave her big smiles and ‘good kitty’ assurances from afar. The Girl made sure she turned away before adding ‘ewww!’ We gave her tuna so the kids wouldn’t complain about her having ‘mouse breath,’ hopefully that won’t encourage her to keep bringing home dead vermin. Jingles later gave her boy lots of loves, tucked her girl in each night over the weekend before prowling the house. She checked in on her boy throughout the night to make sure he was doing okay with his video games then settled down when he hit his curfew. You know, being cat-like.

She woke me up at 3am and then Hubby with demands for aggressive petting. Then she finally snuggled down between us and stretched to push us both to the edges of our bed. She’s a smallish cat so that was a remarkable feat.

And Monday morning, she was off to go play like nothing happened. Like she wasn’t MIA for five days straight while the kids were having a rough time in school. Like she didn’t bend the house to her will all weekend (which is as it should be in her mind). Nope, just business as usual. We’ll see if she’s home before the weekend or if the threat of homework will somehow keep the cat at bay.

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