If I were a college professor, I would offer a language class called “Speaking to the Speechless.” I would teach people how to understand those who can’t speak to us in words but still have intentions and desires and the wish to communicate those desires to others. Babies and cats would be week one on the syllabus.
This past week, I found myself wishing – often – that I could both understand and communicate my own needs and desires effectively to certain members of my household. Namely, Romelie, Jeffy and Tiger. As the non-cat of the bunch, Romelie ranks a bit higher in our home, so we’ll start with her.
She has a number of phrases that she uses on a regular basis, so they obviously mean something…to her. To me, they’re gibberish. “Doh doo dah” is a big one. Sounds kind of like “Don’t do that,” but it’s out of context. No idea what it means, and that causes her some frustration. And it goes both ways. For myself, I’m a very logical person. So I try to explain rationally to Romelie that the reason she can’t crawl around the room with animal crackers in each hand is because they get fuzzy and gross and become inedible. So she needs to either sit and eat, or she can crawl and play but no animal crackers. This, of course, goes completely over her head, she continues to crawl around with said animal crackers until I’m forced to take them away. And then she screams and cries. And it’s no good telling her that I already explained the situation and said what would happen and what her options were because, well, she’s 15 months old.
Well, now I’ve started doing this with the cats. To be fair, I guess I always did this, but I’m noticing the futility a lot more this week. Our cats are fat, especially Jeffy. They used to get food twice a day, but now they only get food in the morning. It’s gone by 5:00 or so in the evening…and then they cry. Mostly Jeffy. So he meows. “Jeffy, no more food tonight.” Meow. “Jeffy, you already ate today’s food. You can have more tomorrow.” MEOW. “Jeffy, this has been the routine for months now. How long is it going to take for you to learn that you don’t get fed in the evenings anymore?!” MEOW!! “Jeffy…I hate you.”
No, I don’t really hate Jeffy. But man, I wish I spoke cat.
In other news, my college choir, the Kenyon College Chamber Singers, were in Rochester on Tuesday night (about 90 minutes south of the Twin Cities), so my mom and Romelie and I drove down to see their concert. It was great. Romelie was so well behaved, barely a peep through the entire thing (and we’re talking classical a cappella chamber music…perfect kid), and I got to see my choir director, Doc Locke (Ben) and his wife Kay again, so it was a pretty great evening. Also, last weekend my dad came over to babysit for Romelie so Chason and I could have a night out with friends – two of whom, Nick and Emily, got engaged! So congrats and toasts and bowling celebrations ensued. It was a good night out.