Monday, November 10, 2008

Nightime Rituals

We haven't really established a complex nightly routine for Sophie's bedtime yet. She doesn't enjoy being read to and singing, at least my singing, doesn't seem to calm her. We do give her a bath every other night followed by a lotion massage, so I guess that's something. The only consistent thing is nursing. Each night, I will turn down the lights and change her into her night clothes and then we will sit down in the rocker for her bedtime cuddle and nursing. She lays down on the Boppy pillow curled up around my waist and settles in for a snack. Every single night, about one minute after we sit down, our older kitty, Potter (her full name is Notsohairy Potter), strolls into the room and jumps up onto my lap in front of the Boppy pillow.

She sits down with her front paws on one of my legs and rear paws on my other leg. While Sophie nurses, I caress Sophie's hair with one hand and Potter with the other. Many nights, although not all, Sophie will reach back with her top arm and ever so gently pet Potter. Potter always rubs her head against Sophie's back and arm, purring loudly.

What is remarkable about this to me is that at no other time would the word "gently" apply to the way Sophie acts towards the cats. In fact, aggressive and rough would be far more appropriate terms. However, the cats are always gentle with her. Gentle in ways that they are not with older humans. I wonder if they know she is a baby. If they understand that she is not just small, but also young. In particular, Potter, who we discovered too late has no maternal instinct towards other cats, or at least to the only kitten she has been exposed to, Gomez. So it surprises me that she is so gentle with Sophie when she grabs her or rolls onto her and further that she seeks her out.

I suspect it has to do with how calm Sophie is during these quiet hours of the evening. Potter can curl up next to her warmth and just enjoy her smell (she is so yummy, mmmm) without fear of eye poking, ear pulling or whisker tugging. I know these are special times for me.

But who knew that me having a baby would bring out the mothering instinct in my cat?

PS - For all you kitty lovers out there, go see this!


  1. I think our dog, Cora, has had a similar reaction to Ava. Cora never really had any interaction with babies before Ava came along but she's so calm around her, thank goodness. If I'm sitting on the couch holding Ava, Cora will also come sit on my lap. I should say that Cora is a 9 lb. dog so the lap sitting is ok. If I'm in another room and Ava starts crying, Cora will come into that room and sort of lead me to Ava. I'm curious to see how Cora reacts when Ava can start playing with her.

  2. My younger cat, Graycie is a total spaz & hides at the sound of any kids (calm or not), BUT my older kitty, Punkin, LOVES our kids. Phu will carry her like a rag doll and she'll let him. Peanut grabs her and pins her down to pet her, and she lets her. Jay is the only kid Graycie will go near so he is more partial to her than he is to Punk.

    All in all, after all the horror stories I heard from dog-lovers about cats and kids ... NONE of them are true. Just the opposite. I think my cats feel an obligation to my kids to be the pets they deserve.

    That and they know after particularly cute moments I crack open a can of tuna for them :)

  3. Mady rules the cats and dog in our house. We are constantly saying "gentle, be gentle with the pets" but her idea of gentle is to whack them so they whack her back. It's her morning ritual.

  4. If there is ANYTHING I've learned through having kids it's that those cuddle moments before and after sleep are THE best. The best for learning, loving and teaching.

    We don't do anything in the mornings before our morning cuddle and we don't climb in bed until we've had that cuddle and tucking in phase.

    Otherwise (I haven't had a chance to read through your recent posts yet), how IS the night time going for she doing better on sleeping?

  5. I am still laughing at the "Notsohairy Potter" name. Best. Cat. Name. EVER!

    And of course Sophie has brought out her mothering instincts. Look at your child! She brings out my mothering instincts.

    Please don't be afraid of me.

  6. I'm loving the name of your cat!!! Especially since I have 9 pets with Harry Potter names. (well, actually 8 now, thanks to those darn raccoons)

    That would be a great name for a hairless cat like mine!

  7. I've noticed that also with one of our cats who would claw anything that touched her and now she is much more forgiving of the boy. has had no reaction to the new baby either. Love that web site too cute!

  8. ok that link makes me so want another kitty. I so know what you mean, our cat is the same way. He is so extremely gentle with the kids even when they get a little too rough.

  9. It's amazing how kids can change everything in your household. Our bulldog is the same way with both the kids. He lays there and lets them climb on him, pull his eyes opening when he is sleeping, put things on his head, etc. He acts just like he is there for their enjoyment!

  10. What a sweet little ritual!

    And your cat's name IS awesome!

  11. That is very sweet. Whatever bedtime ritual works for you is a good one. I can't imagine fitting both a child and a cat on my lap -- you are super talented!

    Fly loves the cats ... to death! He likes to pull on their tails and chase them until they've disappeared under the furniture.

    Love the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee!

  12. Damselfly - Sadly, I think it is more about an ample lap than talent, but thanks!

  13. That's such a sweet scene--you and Sophie and the cat in the rocking chair! I do think some animals "get" the baby thing--I have had dogs that do--and unfortunately, one that just doesn't!

  14. That's so nice! What a lovely scene. I think animals do understand new life. I know our dogs always did (well, except our golden that we have now, he's sorta dumb)

  15. Cats do seem remarkably aware of who the babies are. This all sounds lovely and cuddly. We're down to wingin' it with bedtime which pretty much sucks!


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