Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Davey and I had only just gotten home from working with my father-in-law when we had to leave again to buy dog food and oral hygiene profucts. Aidan stood on the arm chair, watching as we dashed out the door, his face a melting puddle of sadness and confusion at this ultimate betrayal. His eyes glistened moistly and his pout almost reached heaven at the apex.

Davey, unlike me, had been very touched by the vision of suffering Aidan presented, and when we arrived in the dog food aisle at the grocer's Davey tossed Aidan's normal brand of dry food in the cart and began to peruse the wet food section for a special dinner treat.

"Poor Aidan hasn't had anyone home with him all day," said Davey, sadly. "I want to give him a treat, because he's so lonely all the time."

"Which one are you going to get him? Oooh, this one describes itself as 'filet mignon flavored'," I said, grabbing a premium looking container.

"Get that one," said Davey.

"Oh, shit. Porterhouse steak flavor," I said, in a deep voice to convey the masculinity of that meal option.

Davey snatched that one out of my hand. "This is the one Aidan should have," he said, holding it in front of him with both hands, grinning with delight at how much Aidan was going to enjoy the treat of wet food.

An hour later, after a visit to JoAnn's Fabric for craft supplies, where my dream of having a cute box full of cute buttons rose up into the air and was smashed down by Davey's staunch refusal to have anything to do with any more knickknacks in our bedroom, we returned home. Davey unpeeled the lid from the container of fancy meat dinner and plopped the contents into Aidan's bowl, where it both retained it's shape like jello from a mold and began to ooze fine, translucent gravy.

Aidan seemed frightened of the delicious concoction that graced his food dish, as he usually did when presented with new dog food. He skirted the bowl skittishly.

"What's wrong, buddy?" asked Davey, as Aidan darted forward and took a little lick of his steak flavored pate, then darted away.

"What- what is this?"Aidan queried.

"It's dog food, buddy," he replied.

"I don't think it is," said Aidan.

Davey grabbed a knife and began breaking up the cube of food so that Aidan would find it more recognizable. I wandered into the living room to stand with Rex as Davey gave the dog food one more smush and cleaned the knife. Aidan danced around the bowl anxiously.

"It looks different now!" he said, doubtful of this shape changing glob.

"Is that the heavenly scent of fat and low grade meat?" asked Rex, perking up.

Aidan hazarded another bite. "I think it might be food," he shared with the group, and began to graze on the dripping porterhouse flavored puree like an antelope in the Serengeti might graze upon grass in lion territory. Rex crept stealthily up behind Aidan and gave his butt a good sniff before creeping a little closer to his ear.

"Could I have some?" he asked.

"No, thanks," said Aidan, once again misusing a polite phrase.

"Boy, I'm just so hungry," said Rex, piteously.

"Don't let that cat have any," said Davey. "I got this for my special buddy, Aidan."

"Daddy says no," said Aidan, still nervously sampling the contents of his bowl.

Rex moved a little closer. "That guy is not my Dad. Hey, did you know that sometimes, for fun, humans who hate dogs sneak into the factory and put poison into wet dog food so dummies like you eat it all up like a greedy pig and then the poison comes into your blood from your belly and you DIE?"

"Eek!" Aidan scuttled away from the dish. Rex lunged for it, but my brother, who was visiting, picked him up and carried him out of the room.

"Eat," said Davey, gesturing to the dish.

Aidan regarded the meal from his safe spot on the arm chair. "No thanks," he said. "I'm not very hungry."

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Rex and Aidan: Brothers?

We were all sitting in the living room. Davey and I were watching TV, Aidan was waiting for someone to pay attention to him, and Rex was staring out the sliding glass door, imagining what he would do the next time someone left it unlocked so that he could slide it open and frolic away into the wild green yonder. Three of us were satisfied with the passive activities we were engaged in. Aidan was on the verge of going crazy, however. Neither Davey nor I was cooing over him, and if someone didn't react to him soon, he was going to get really, really sad. He glanced over at Rex and sat up alertly. Oblivious to Aidan's interest, Rex happily watched the flutter of leaves in the wind. Aidan leaped to the floor and, puffing his chest out manfully, strode towards my cat.

"Little brother! Let me smell your face," Aidan commanded.

Rex was startled out of his reverie. "Little what did you call me?" he asked.

"Little brother," said Aidan, leaning forward and snuffling at Rex's nose.

Rex drew back. "I am not your little brother, dog. I am a cat."

"So?" said Aidan. "Mom's a monkey, and so is Dad." He leaned towards Rex earnestly. "Me and you are real brothers, cuz we do the same things. That's how I know we're brothers to each other now."

"Go away," said Rex, sulking. "I don't act like you, and you don't act like me. You're a real stupid guy, and you had better stop smelling my face, because we are not brothers!"

I watched all of this, smirking to myself, thinking of a few examples that suggested Aidan wasn't so far off in his declaration of kinship to my Rex.

For example, the other day I took a quick shower. When I got out and was running hair products through my short and tangled locks, I heard a loud meow and a thump on the door.

"Mom! Mom! Open the door!" Rex shouted.

I opened the door a crack and looked down indulgently, expecting to see Rex looking at me reproachfullyfor keeping him out of a room I was in. To my surprise, I saw him cheek to cheek with Aidan, both of them staring up at me, wide-eyed.

"Let us in!" said Aidan.

I opened the door and they crowded in. Rex jumped on the counter and ate a few bites of cat food and Aidan sniffed my dirty clothes piled on the floor. Rex hopped back onto the floor and Aidan rejected my clothes, having gathered all the information he needed from it. They met at the door.

"Let us back out!" said Aidan.

"Can I get dressed first?" I protested.

"I'm bored in here," complained Rex.

"I want my toys," said Aidan.

"Hey, Mom. Open the door," encouraged Rex.

"You guys can wait a couple minutes," I said. It's not like they had busy lifestyles where every minute counted, and I was tired of them always barging in on me while I was naked.

They posted up next to the door, complaining of boredom and my lack of consideration for other mammals.

A few days later, I was piling their toys up on a chair next to the counter so that I could vacuum the floor. Both boys ignored what I was up to until I pulled out the vacuum. Aidan looked at it in alarm and jumped up onto the couch where he knew he was safe from being sucked up, while Rex slunk out of the living room as slyly as he could, keeping a close eye on the offending appliance as he did so. When I finished, Aidan wandered over to the chair and stretched up on his hind legs to inspect its contents.

"Why'd you put my toys there? Man, those are trapped from me," said Aidan, sadly, bustling back over to the couch and taking a sad nap.

Twenty minutes later, convinced it was safe, Rex returned to the living room and, just like Aidan, stretched up onto his hind legs, and inspected the contents of the chair.

"Why'd you put my toys there? That's okay, I'm a good jumper, and this way Aidan can't get them," said Rex, wandering back down the hallway to go hide on Davey's dresser in our closet.

Even this afternoon, when I got home from spending Mother's Day at church with my Mom, both boys descended upon me at once, each standing on one side of me, each exactly the same distance away from my legs, and each gazing adoringly into my face.

"I missed you," said Aidan.

"I missed you more," whispered Rex.

"You were gone for a long time," said Aidan.

"It seemed like forever," one-upped Rex.

I smiled at them both and then went into the kitchen to heat up some tomato soup.

"Oh, whoops. Medicine," I remembered as I moved through the kitchen, taking a second to slide an allergy pill into a piece of string cheese for Aidan, who scuttled over and scarfed it down with relish.

"Oh, Mom, that was delicious," he complimented, trotting daintily over to the couch to sit on Davey's lap.

"Hey! Hey! Look at me! Look at me!" shrieked Rex from the water bowl.

I complied. "What is it, sweetie?"

"Don't pay more attention to him than me," Rex said.

I picked him up and rubbed him on the back. "Awwww, you're my little good luck guy, aren't you, though?" I cooed. "You're my number one cat, and I really won when I got to take you home."

"Yeah, I'm the prize you got for winning," said Rex, relaxing against my shoulder, and possibly sending a meaningful look at Aidan, whohad sat up to watch our exchange. I could see his brain working. He was about to get jealous.

"Don't even think about getting your feelings hurt," I said to him. "You're sitting on a lap, too."

Aidan blinked at me, silently.

"Look at this dog," I said to Davey, who craned around to get a better look at the pug on his lap.

"Hey," said Davey, giving Aidan's ear a playful tweak. The distraction was just what Aidan needed to jump off the train to Rivalryland and let Rex have his moment with me. He plopped his head down on Davey's knee with a wheeze, and all was well.

Thinking of these moments, a smile tugged at my lips as I watched my boys at the sliding glass door. Aidan was happy to be getting attention from someone, and Rex, I could see, was slowly warming up to Aidan's blunt attempts at building a brotherhood between them. I'm excited to see where this leads.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Aidan Goes To the Beach

I woke up too early and in a bad mood. I lay in bed, too irritated to fall back asleep, and too tired to give up hope that if I lay under the covers long enough I would drift off into a world of dreams. So far, it didn't seem to be working. My mind was jumping around all over the place and I couldn't stop it long enough to relax and resume my slumber.

A cheery little jingle bobbled its way down the hall and into my bedroom, where it took a leap and landed on my bed in the form of Rex.

"Hi, sweetie," I mumbled through the blanket.

He looked at me sternly, clearly annoyed that once again I had carelessly endangered my precious life by covering my mouth with cloth. He firmly believed that if my mouth was obstructed from view, I was liable to suffocate.

"Sorry," I whispered, securing the blankets under my chin. 

He observed me carefully as I pet him, then decided not to say anything snide about me or Darwin Awards. Instead, he pushed his way under the blankets with me, mushing his fuzzy little back as close up against my stomach as he possibly could.

"I love you," he said.

I peeked under the blanket at him. He craned his head around to look at me. "Don't be in a bad mood. I'm here," he said, putting his head back down and closing his eyes with a purr.

I carefully positioned my arms so that if I fell asleep I wouldn't trap him and played around with his fur. He began to make the weird sound through his nose that meant he had dropped off to sleep.

For my part, I could feel my mile-a-minute brain coming to a slow halt. All my thoughts about what was pissing me off faded into nothing and were replaced by hazy notions that danced into my minds eye for a brief moment before disappering into the ether in a thoroughly relaxing way. Before I knew it, I was asleep.

I woke up again when Davey's alarm clock went off. Rex was still nestled under my arm, but got out of the way when I started to stir. I was still feeling good from earlier. Rex is the only creature or thing that can ease my distresses so thoroughly or swiftly, which is one of the many reasons I love him more than anything else. I wished he could go to the beach with us, but it was a sure bet he wouldn't like it there, especially since he would have to be on his harness.

Aidan, on the other hand, was ready and willing to go on a car ride anywhere.

"I don't know where we're going," he said, elated, as he, Davey, Sir, and I all marched towards the car. "But, boy, am I sure glad to be going to somewhere!"

The general consensus among humans in the car was that Aidan would not like the beach. He is far too gentrified for nature. He isn't even really interested in going into our backyard unless he is accompanied by a person or really, really, really needs to poop. I firmly believe that if Aidan were small enough, he would gladly spend his days being carted around the mall in a purse.

So it was a surprise to see how well Aidan took to the beach. He scurried around, smelling the sand and occasionally licking it.

When we arrived, I had immediately separated from the males to go take some pictures of ugly things, figuring nothing interesting would happen while I was gone. Davey would be wandering around taking some beautiful photographs of the ocean while Aidan fell asleep in the sun, and Sir would just sit around and look at stuff, and maybe announce it if there was something stupid in the vicinity.

When I got back, I was mostly correct, except that Aidan was not, in fact, asleep. Davey saw me arrive and exploded at me in excitement.

"Aidan ran!"

"Huh?" I said.

"Aidan ran across the beach!"

"So?" I said. Aidan running was more like a trot, and he didn't get anywhere fast, but it's not like he never moved quickly.

"No, I mean he really ran. Like, fast. I've never seen him do that before," Davey explained, face aglow with the thrill of Aidan's newly discovered physical prowess.

"No way," I said.

"Watch," said Davey, handing me his camera and taking off across the sand. "Aidan, come on," he yelled.

"Daddy! I'm coming!" bellowed Aidan, springing towards him, working himself into an actual sprint. My jaw dropped as the little pudding galloped as fast as he could across the sand. He was like a greyhound someone wadded up into a ball and then set loose on the race track. Davey turned around and ran back, with Aidan chugging along after him.

I couldn't believe my eyes. I wish I had thought to get a picture.

Missing my little gentleman at home, I made a memorial to him in the sand.

I was very painstaking in my efforts as I had the time to try and make the letters as perfect as possible. It took me a long time. Just when I had finished and was about to take a picture of it, Davey gave a shout.

"Watch out! Aidan is coming."

I looked up just in time to see Aidan, a huge grin on his face, come stampeding towards me and my art project.

"No!" I said. But it was too late. Aidan stepped all over Rex's name, and the plus sign, snuffling around the sand and beaming at me before turning around and running back to Davey, who was laughing.

"I checked, and she's playing over there. She put holes in sand, and I smelled them. It was fun," Aidan reported. "Good playing, Mom!"

"It's not funny!" I wailed, kneeling before my spoiled token of affection, arms dangling at my sides in a thoroughly dramatic pose.

"Yeah it is!" said Davey. "Aidan just ran over and stepped all over it, right when you finished."

"I was going to take a picture!" I turned my face to the heavens, so that if there were a camera up there they could get a wide shot of the carnage before me, as well as my mournful expression. "Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy?"

"Come over here and make another one," Davey said, patting the sand next to him. "It's flat over here."

"I'm going to fix this one," I said, setting about my repairs. Fortunately, Aidan had only trampled on half of it, so I did not have as much of a task in rebuilding.

When I finished I hurriedly snapped some pictures, then went to play by the waves. Aidan followed me. We stood together on the wet sand as the wave in front of us began to build to a crest.

"This is fun," said Aidan. "Standing here, looking at water, but not getting it on our feet." Aidan hates getting his paws wet.

The wave crashed and rushed towards us.

"Ack!" peeped Aidan, looking alarmed as he just barely managed to scuttle away from the water. I hurried after him, for fun, then returned to the wet sand when the water receded. Aidan joined me.

"What a funny fluke!" said Aidan, looking up at me. Another wave crashed and rushed towards us. Aidan's eyes bugged and he hustled away, just before the water ran over his toes.

I thought he might have had enough after that, but he kept joining me down by the water.

Turns out Aidan likes the beach.