For a while now, Noah has been very, very curious about the possibility of kittens. His cat, Bella, is almost a year old now, and in his mind, old enough to be a mother.
Every few days, and sometimes twice a day, he asks:
"Momma, when is Bella having babies?" .... "She's not having kittens, Noah."
"Momma, it's time for kittens! When is Bella going to have them?" ... "She's not having kittens, Noah."
"Momma, I would really like it if Bella had some cute little kittens. I promise I'll be nice to them." ... "She's not having kittens."
Until one day, the conversation went like this:
"Momma, WHY WON'T BELLA HAVE KITTENS? She NEEDS TO!" .... and so Mommy cracked and said "Bella had an operation so she can't have any babies. There are too many cats and it's not fair to have any more. She will never have kittens."
Call me a bad mother for telling my four year old the sad truth about controlling the pet population. At least he heard it from me instead of Bob Barker at the end of a Price Is Right re-run.
Thankfully, he didn't seem overly upset by the news that we'd rendered his beloved cat sterile. He furrowed his brow and patted his cat on the head and bounded off to climb the tree stump in the backyard.
But he was thinking about it.
Yesterday we curled up on the couch, and Bella joined us. He had just settled into the crook of my arm when he whispered "I know why you gave Bella that operation, Mommy."
"Oh really, Noah?"..... "Yes! If Bella had babies you would be jealous. Because you don't have any more babies and if Bella has kittens you will be sad."
He turned over and looked me in the eye. I was trying to find a succinct way of dismissing his theory, while praising him for his (somewhat twisted) empathetic rationale, when he smiled and said:
"Mommy. And there's another reason she can't have kittens." .... "Yes, son?"
"All that poo.... Don't forget the poo, Mommy". ..... "Okay, son. I won't. I promise. I won't forget the poo."
I gave my son a kiss, glanced at my sterile cat, turned up the TV, and tuned in to the Price is Right.
I may not have spayed my cat in a fit of jealousy, but if it buys me a little acceptance from my 4 year old, I might just let this one slide.