Yes, that's right, the cats have officially been banned from the bedroom. In the beginning, I was terrified of how the cats would respond to Cricket. My mother echoed my concerns, although her concerns were a little more, let's say, histrionic: "You have to make sure the cat won't steal the baby's breath." Yes, because that happens. Can't you see it? The cats huddled underneath the dining room table, plans laid out, and discussing who's going in to steal little Cricket's breath? ("But, you guys," Maya, our bushy black cat, says all breathlessly, "What will we do with the breath once we steal it?") So when Cricket first came home from the hospital, the cats were duly locked out of the room.
They came back soon enough. First of all, if you remember, we slept with Cricket on us for the first few months, and then he progressed to sleeping in the car seat, and finally to the co-sleeper. And really only one cat, Eli, sleeps in the bed with us. Noah is intermittently present, but a strong sneeze scares him into oblivion, so you can guess what baby gurgles do to him, and Maya-- dang, we can't even reliably pet her. Ultimately it seemed like the cats didn't really care about Cricket, and Cricket, honestly, he didn't seem to notice the cats either.
That is, until he did. Now the cats are an endless source of joy to him. A few weeks ago he watched Noah chasing a stuffed mouse and laughed and laughed. Belly laughs. Eli is his new best buddy. He reaches out and grabs huge chunks of fur to the soundtrack of his mommies yelling out "Gentle! Gentle!" He pumps Eli's tail up and down. He tries to chew on his ear. A normal cat might flee from such abuse, but not our Eli. Instead, Eli plops himself down right in front of Cricket seemingly inviting torture. Loving it, you might say.
One a few weeks ago, I got up to use the bathroom. Eli often takes this as a cue for midnight snuggling. "Oh, you're awake? Great. Pet me." He continually came at me and I continually pushed him down. I wasn't in the mood. I drifted off to sleep, thinking I had rebuffed the cat. And then I heard Cricket making what I thought were awake noises, opened my eyes, and there was the damn cat, in the co-sleeper, sitting next to Cricket's head. The action was swift-- pull the cat out of the co-sleeper, check baby for breathing, and a quick smack on the cat's nose. I hissed for Partner to wake up. We shooed all cats out of the room and laid in bed, both of us eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling. We were freaked out. I don't think we ever returned to sleep that night. If Eli had chosen to lie down on Cricket, there's no way he could have gotten the cat off him. Eli is, well let's say, persistent. There's no easy swatting him off. And he likes to get up on our chests, face in our face. It's annoying to us, but dangerous for 8 month old babies.
The cats have been locked out since. Eli routinely bangs on the door every night, several times a night. When we go to hiss shut up at him, he flees down the hallway. I feel slightly bad for this cat that was our little lover kitty. He's regulated to the cold dark house outside our room. But I don't feel that bad, thinking about him sitting there, next to Cricket's head in the moon filled bedroom.
So maybe my mom was right. Maybe they are plotting after all...