Folks have been asking, "How did you get Crumz?" (and not just crazy cat people). So, here's the tale. Almost two weeks ago, Bean was invited to her first Jordanian playdate. The first issue arose when determining the time. The little girl's mother suggested "four or five o'clock." Considering our kids eat dinner at 5:30, I opted for 4:00. (Kids in the Middle East have a muuuuuch more lenient and later life than most Western kids I know.) As is typical, I got horribly lost getting there. Receiving directions in Amman is akin to, "Go down the street and turn left at the circle, then right, and there's the building." Leaving out all the messy details, like which circle, which left, and which building. But after a quick apologetic phone call I was able to get back on track and heading in the right direction.
A few blocks away from our destination, I spotted a teeny tiny kitten running down the middle of the road. This is not unusual; Jordan is overrun by stray cats. Typically when I see them in the road I slow down and honk a lot, trying to scare them back onto the sidewalk or somewhere that isn't road. But this little one didn't respond. She kept running. So I stopped the car and got out, ready to shoo her to the side so other cars wouldn't hurt her. She kept running. In fact, she ran right into my hands. It was then I saw she was completely blind with all the gunk crusted over her eyes. So without a thought (obviously) I climbed back in the car and settled her in my lap.
The next issue arose when I arrived at the playdate. What do I do with her? So, I put her in a recyclable shopping back (yay, Whole Foods!) and carried her in. I first apologized for being late. Then I apologized for bringing nothing but a dirty crusty kitten. The mom was very kind and let me wash the kitten's eyes off in the bathroom while the girls raced off to play.
I then spent the whole 90 minutes chatting with this very nice mom while holding a purring filthy kitten in my hands. And to think that a few hours prior, I was worrying about what to wear. This is not a thought that bothers me for most American play dates; the "casual mom look" is typically fine. But I've seen these moms at nursery school and most are made up to the nines. I'm more in the two to three range. So I gave it a little extra thought before this play date. In hindsight, it was irrelevant. I could have shown up in a muddy potato sack, and it would have immediately been negated by the social faux pas of the crusty kitten accessory.
When it was time to leave, I asked the mom if she happened to have any empty boxes around. It would be far easier driving home in Amman traffic (at night) if I had the kitten securely contained. She didn't. But then she said, "I do have the bakery box from Crumz." So we taped this tiny kitten into the bakery box and I carried her out to the car like she was a strawberry tart.
After insane traffic (never drive at night on a Thursday in Amman, noted), we made it home without incident and with kitten contained. Now what to do with her? We had the vet come to the house the next morning; definitely a great benefit here. She estimated she was about three or four weeks old, but other than the crusty eyes due to an upper respiratory infection, she was perfectly healthy.
Over these last two weeks, she has proven to be the world's best kitten. She plays wildly, she sleeps deeply, she cuddles, she purrs, she uses the litter box perfectly, and she lets the children get far too close. The babies delight in playing "Where's the kitten?", Rocket routinely sings to her, and they both call her "Ball" (just like Koko the gorilla, not sure of the significance there). Bean calls her "the baby kitten" and always wants to pet her (with one finger). Chuckles does his best to ignore her, except when she pounces his tail and he admonishes her with a loud hiss. She perches on my shoulder when I'm at the computer and loves to play on Daddy's laptop when she can. And the final acceptance occurred the other night when she and Louie actually played (a little).
Despite all this feline perfection, when people ask, "Are you going to keep her?" we are noncommittal. Saying out loud, "We have three toddlers and three cats," makes us sound like a new reality show and I'm just not ready for my close-up.
But she is, and she's absolutely perfect. Oh, Crumz!