Word Count: 500
Cat’s in the Cradle
By Peg Scarano
Three girls, ages 11, 7 and 2, equals total chaos most of the time; organized chaos occasionally; peace and solitude – rarely, if ever. You do get used to it. To strangers, the racket can be deafening, but when you live with it, it sort of becomes “house” noise.
One evening I was actually sitting in the living room trying to watch television or read or something to block out life while the three girls played some imaginary game running around the circle that was our house. The older two stopped suddenly and asked me if I would like to play a game with them. Since I didn’t often have time to do this, I readily agreed.
They both disappeared and reappeared in a matter of seconds because they always ran sounding like a herd of horses – never walked on padded feet like the cat. I can’t remember if it was Candyland, War or Old Maid and it didn’t really matter. We didn’t get to do this often. I did ask what the 2-year-old was doing and they assured me she was “reading” a book to the cat in her room. I listened carefully and could hear murmurings from her sweet little mouth and I smiled. Pets are great.
We set up and played a game, laughing and giggling as they watched Mom lose and they fought over which of them won. The first game ended so there was a lull in our chatter. I perked up my head to listen for the sweet murmurings coming from Emily’s room. The silence was deafening.
“Quickly! Go check on your sister. I’ll set up the next game.” Off they ran. I heard a death defying, “MOM! COME QUICK!” “OH GOD!” ran through my mind as I took off on a run just like the girls.
There stood the two older ones with their hands over their mouths and their eyes as big as saucers. And there sat Emily, on the floor, looking up at me with those great big brown eyes and grinning from ear to ear. “Kitty had dry skin. I fix her.” She was so proud. She fixed her all right. The poor cat was covered in Vaseline – her fur literally matted down with it. She actually made a suction sound when she stood up and attempted to proudly sway out of the room.
Then I took a closer look…The changing table, the crib, the dresser, the bookcase and 2/3rds of her hardwood floors were shimmering in the glow of Vaseline. Apparently, everything in her room looked dry to her.
Did you know that Vaseline is waterproof? It took weeks to get it all off. The cat fared better – her hard-working tongue got it off in matter of hours and she didn’t throw up a hairball for months because she was so well-greased. And, from that day forward, Emily always played games with us whether she wanted to or not. Well – except for once – but that’s a story for another day.