I consider myself a strong, fair-minded parent. I ask my children to live up to their ages, developmental abilities and my personal expectations of kindness and respect for others.
But my daughter caught me at weak moment. I was in between getting Sandy donations up to New York and New Jersey and freaking out over Election Day. Plus, it was the rare afternoon when I had to drive to school twice for separate pickups, which I hate with a passion. (If I could teach my 3-year-old to drive, I would strap wooden blocks to her feet and off we’d go to so many more places.)
When I said, It’s time to pick up your brother, she began to cried and whine about having to leave home again, and I nearly sat down next to her to start chanting WE DON’T WANT TO GO! But my son would be sad and confused when no one picked him up so I did what any insane adult would do. I offered to bring a cat with us.
My daughter basically said: What’chu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?
But she stopped crying, and now I got to take our youngest and indoor-iest cat on a completely un-thought-out road trip. Now I’ve driven around uncaged cats plenty of times pre-kids, and 9 out of 10 trips were fun. I had the cat-attached-to-my-head time. And the cat-poop-on-my-car-mat time. And the cat-waving-at-the-passing-cars time. I only once let down my guard too much, and my cat, Everett, ran into the vet’s wooded lot. For 3 days, I came and called for him and finally, found him to bring him home. Jerk.
Anyway, I put happy N in the car and go back to grab Nugget, who is running in circles because why does cat mom suddenly want me to come to her as she’s leaving the house? I picked him up and into the car.
Nugget enjoyed the ride except for hissing at an occasional bump and N was all giggles. I did warn her about the possible pooping, which later led to a conversations about what color cat poop would be: Red? Blue? Purple? And made me realize that little box duty is next on my kids’ chore list.
But I hit a snag. Not having grabbed a backup carrier compounded with my Everett fiasco nearly 2 decades ago meant I could not open the car door multiple times especially because kids take WAY too long getting in and out of cars. They are the sloths of car exits. Now, our school will walk the kids to the car if someone is asleep in the back, but will they walk E to the car if the parent is a moron who decides to bring a cat with them to keep her youngest from crying?
Well, I didn’t like the idea of my kids’ school thinking I’m stupid, but I also didn’t like lying or endangering cats so I picked up the phone and ask them to walk my son out to the car with no explanation. Whoa. Learning not to over-share is AWESOME.
My son lit up like the 4th of July when he saw Nugget in the car, and I knew that my plan, while fraught with danger and stupidity, was the beginning of the transition from school to home finally going smoothly. At least until the newness of Nugget road tripping with us wears off, and I have fill the car with 20 balloons or an elephant.
PS. I’m totally buying this for our future cat car trips — pink cat purses rule!