Tuesday, June 23, 2009

whiskers on kittens

There are things we keep to remember... a photo of a friend from grade school - knee socks and sandals, a doll clutched tightly in her arms; a poster from a concert you attended in college - the one when you met the lead singer of Mudhoney, you told him he was brilliant and he asked you if you knew where the bathroom was; the movie stub from your first date with your husband; the handkerchief your mother gave you on your wedding day
- it still carries a faint bit of your perfume; your daughter's first birthday candle. These are the things we keep to remember. They aren't significant things in themselves - they are ordinary, they are small, they are grubby, they are meaningless except for the importance we put on them.

This is the best I can do to explain why there is a small blue ceramic plate in my bedroom closet that holds a collection of cast off cat whiskers.

I know it's weird. I just can't bring myself to just throw away a lost cat whisker when I find one. I like Shelly Overlook's take on the whisker thing - when she was a little girl, she thought
the whiskers were magic. I can get behind something like that. Maybe if I plant the whiskers in a line in our garden I'd harvest a sweet crop of fuzzy kittens.

We are deep in the throws of a new teething push, with the distracted irritability and the sudden slips in mental capacity (mine and hers). When I'm dealing with a particularly hairy day (yesterday: peanut butter sandwich smeared in the hair, on the counter, on the floor - NONE in the mouth) I don't think it would harm us any to have some magic in the house.

Alice had a meltdown at the checkout counter of Joann's yesterday. She was clutching four packs of extra large buttons in her toddler kung f
u death grip and was not a fan of having any of her precious items scanned by the Joann's employee. There were tears. And lots of screaming, is what I'm saying. And laughter from everyone else in the checkout line.

I needed magic in that moment. Magic and lots of patience. A few minutes later when I was trying to wrangle Alice into her carseat without disturbing the buttons? That was a treat and a half. Made even more sweet by the other Joann's customers walking by our open car door, listening to me tell Alice, "Yes, I know you love your buttons. I'm not taking them away from you. I just need to get you into your seat. See that? I'm giving the buttons back to you." More screaming. And more laughter from spectators.

A few minutes later there was nothing but silence from the back of the car. Silence and this:

Magic. We need all the magic we can get. I won't be throwing any of those whiskers away anytime soon.


Pickles and Dimes said...

Oh, I loved this post. The last photo is perfect. :)

I love that you collect cat whiskers! At least once a week, I find one on the floor, along with a claw sheath.

Unrelated, one of my former coworkers has a husband who cuts the tags off towels and keeps them in a bowl near the living room couch. When he's stressed, he puts his hand into the bowl of tags and just, I don't know, fondles them or something. Weird.

Amy said...

That picture of Alice is adorable. If it weren't for the frequent smiles, giggles, and precious sleeping pictures we'd surely go crazy. They know they have us wrapped. Crazy temper tantrum followed immediately by a cute new sound = everything is A-OK.

Kate said...

I can't even guess how many times I've had the "yes, I know you love your [insert object here], I'm just trying to [insert futile effort to maintain order here]" conversation, the same way, with the same passers-by laughing. It's such a strange mix of love and frustration that I feel in those moments.
What a perfect picture at the end!

Alice said...

you know, i have TWO cats, and i've never once found a whisker of theirs. maybe THEY keep them stashed in a secret place where *i* won't find them...?

wandering nana said...

I with the above comment. I have always had cats and never found whiskers. I didn't know they even lost them. I remember a missionary farewell talk... the missionary had a twin brother and he was talking about how much he would miss him and told of a time that he and his brother decided to cut their cat's whiskers off. He then said that they didn't know that that was how cats kept balance.... the whiskers were sensors for things around them. They talked about how the cat would run into walls and couldn't walk straight. hmmmm, are you sure the cats are losing the whiskers or is someone do testing on them? "}

Chip said...

I just hope the said whiskers do not come alive at some point.

Rose said...

I'm sorry to say, but if I would have been one of the JoAnn's customers, I probably would have been laughing right along with them! :) Too cute. I love the photo of her sleeping with all of her precious buttons clutched in her "toddler kung fu death grip."

Spadoman said...

No cats here. Just my whiskers. I have been away riding the motorcycle and just returned. I didn't shave while away. the beard grew and was quite thick. Number 5 Grand daughter, Yoody, put her hand to my face and announced that I had too many "pokies", and that she wouldn't be giving me a kiss. I shaved. It took two blades at a couple of bucks a pop, and a lot of skin balm to soothe the scraped surface of my pink dimpled cheeks. I got my kiss and a lot of hugs from Yoody and the others. I didn't save one of them.

Peace. Good to be home. Good to see you and Alice again.

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