Perhaps I mentioned we have a new kitty? Well, I'll get to that.
What we also have is a florid yeast infection in Josie's diaper - still. And did you know that the Canesten for foot fungal infections has the same ingredients as in the coochy one (and yet it is still not something I'm flashing around the drugstore checkout)? (Okay - Steve's not. I sent him for the refill.) On Sunday we attempted a family outing, only to turn around and head to the Children's Clinic for a walk-in appointment because the phrase "bum hurts" was being repeated incessantly. We knew that she was suffering a bit from the yeast problem, but all redness had gone away. Frequent diaper changes, alterations to our diets, baths and extra care had removed the worst of it. What could it be that was cause for such insistence?
I kept thinking UTI,that maybe she was saying it all the time because it felt like she had to "go". But no fever? Googling told me that well, it could happen. So we get to the walk-in clinic after travelling from the East end to the West end and back, and what does the doctor find in a very sensitive spot DESPITE Josephine's having had a bath and a clean diaper with cream and the utmost in care before we left just an hour before?
A corn kernel.
I'm having it gilded and mounted as a trophy for the Worst Mommy of the Year award. Who's next in line?
One would think that after removing said kernel, and doing a urine test that didn't indicate an infection was present would end it, but noooooo. Bum still hurts. Another trip to the doctor found nothing but more yeast - but next stop is specialist because bum still hurts every day. We try to get more information out of her, but at twenty months, she is still rather inarticulate. She points to the front, she can tell the difference between pee pee and poo poo she knows the difference between tummy hurts and bum hurts. It's not a cry for attention - it's just weird. It all looks normal, it all seems like it should be fine, but we still hear "bum hurts". Well, I can't wait to see the hits I'll be getting from this one. While we're talking potty talk, here's an image of our bathroom these days. We're introducing the concept that one is usually only in diapers for the first and last stages in life, and that her first stage is coming to a close as our last is drawing ever nearer. She's great on the broader aspects - the finer points not so much. Like, she gets that we use TP.
But training will not begin in earnest until she can pull her pants down herself - because otherwise, the onus is on me to make the call, and I have enough on my plate these days. When I look around and see just how toilets seem to be located so very inconveniently in these old buildings in Toronto, I'm willing to wait until she is VERY ready to train.
Josephine is growing in leaps and bounds in other areas though, and the best part is how she can now use words to tell us what she wants and needs. Whether it's "bum hurts" or "play nice baby song" (which is Neko Case's "No Need to Cry", for the record. And she met Neko at Capsule Music one day, and Ms. Case was charmed!) - life is easier because she can say "milwks, please" when pointing at the fridge, instead of writhing on the floor and occasionally standing up to grasp the handle and then falling down again whining when I offer her applesauce.
It's nice that she can tell us what's on her mind. Even if what's on her mind is rather banal. It's terribly cute, her remarkable grasp of the obvious and her efforts to impart it so very urgently. In her excitement to get the words out about something she's been working on, she'll make a lot of Tasmanian Devil noises, and then with great effort and pride will tell you something really obvious. Like, "ErrrwwhrrrrMOM MOM MOMEEE rrrwhrrreeuuwwwrrrDIS A PURSLE TOK!" Which, as her mom, I can translate as "Mother, this is a purple sock." To which I reply, "Yes. What a nice purple sock. It's on your right foot." Then, after checking that out just to be sure, in an escalating frenzy of inarticulate noises, she'll then add "mmmmmMOMMMEEEEE rrrwrrdapursletokzzzonnnnnnaaaaarrrrwwwhhhrrRRITE FOOT!" This happens ALL. DAY. LONG. Or, I should say, was happening until the day before yesterday. Because shortly after leaving the doctor's office, something happened happened for the first time. Then it happened all the next day. Then all day yesterday. And today, still going strong.
Now, thanks to those wonderful folks at the Berkeley Parents Network and their formerly stuttering kids and their need to commiserate with each other, I know I really don't need to worry. This is normal. But I do worry, so I found this article too, and feel only marginally better. I don't know how long this will last, but the fact is that Josephine stutters in a way that's painful to listen to, and being patient and not attempting to intervene is really hard. She was coming along SO swimmingly, and still is - it just sounds awful that to get to the cute sentence pointing out the obvious we have to start with sometimes as many as fifteen Mom Mom Mom Mom Moms.It is also hard not to poke a little fun at it, after all - we've had this hanging on our corkboard in the kitchen for years:
Divine retribution? You make the call.
Steve rather jokingly blamed it on the cat. The kitty? Why yes, his name is Boo Boo. Yes, as in Boo Boo Kitty. Boo for short. Our friends in Texas will occasionally call someone "Boo" as an endearment, and we find that charming. It was close to Halloween when he came to us, so that also made it appropriate. Some dear friends have a kitty named Bubba that held Josie enthralled for months. Any black cat was dubbed "Tha BUBBA" to the extent that she would spend the entire time we went to Riverdale Farm on Tuesdays last summer looking for the black cat in the chicken barn, only to scream "THA BUBBAAAAAAH!" when she saw him.
It would probably be cruel to continue encouraging her to think that every black cat in the world is named Bubba, so Boo Boo seems/seemed like a fine addition to the cat name family in Josie's vocabulary. However, the repetitious nature of each name means that when she stutters now, it's more like our kitty's name is Buh Bah Boo Boo. And we sigh.
But, with no further adieu, here he is:
He is lovely. Now. He spent three days hiding under the kitchen sink cupboard and behind the dishwasher. Normal for a formerly feral cat, but no fun for those of us who actually wanted to have a nice kitty cat. At one point I ran the diswasher to try to get him to come out, and when I didn't hear him meow for two days after I thought I'd killed him. But I didn't, because you saw the picture. He was a gift from Grandma Joan who volunteers for Action Volunteers for Animals, and at seventy-six she feeds, rescues and works toward spaying or neutering feral cats every week. She's amazing. It was she that got him back out from hiding, and now he does all the proper kitty things that make us laugh and welcome him as a way of lightening our grief over the loss of Beauty.
He washes his face, and it is adorable:
He has the most lovely green eyes - peacock green around the irises, changing to lime and then they're amber before you can tell where one colour stops and one starts. His fur is truly black - not that so-brown-it's-black colour. There are a few stray white hairs - just like Beauty used to have. I look at that as a constant reminder of her, as if I needed one. He is as soft as sheared beaver (um, okay, I know I'll get yucky hits for that one too - but in my former career as the head of the Couture department at an auction house, I learned by direct comparison that sheared beaver is the softest fur next to chinchilla. And I know that's yucky from an animal lover's standpoint. And unfortunately I know that beavers duck and cover their heads when hunters go to club them. And my grandma used to have a sheared beaver coat, and I loved hugging her in it, and if live sheared beavers would just run around so I could pet them, I wouldn't have had to feel pelts to find out how soft they are.) If I pat him just behind his foreleg, it feels like Beauty's ears used to feel when she and I would cuddle on the sofa, and it's comforting. His claws are tiny and freaking sharp, but he doesn't use them often. He's very, very, VERY good at letting Josie hold him. Even when she holds him like Olivia the pig carries Edwin, her cat (couldn't find a good image), and he lets her.
In fact, Steve caught her with Boo Boo in a camel clutch the other day, and so we've realized we need to referee their little matches a little more closely.
At night, after everyone else is in bed, I sneak back downstairs and throw tinfoil balls for him and crinkle empty candy wrappers (that I've emptied) for him, because the sound is absolutely tantalizing to him. He has a little bent tail that I love to see him chase, and his raspy little meow sounds like the little creature in this video. He has the pinkest puckerhole I've ever seen on a cat, and often has three grains of litter stuck to it. That along with the rancid kitty farts means that if he were human, he'd be the guy coming out of the stall with TP hanging out the back of his pants and the bad odour wafting around him that Steve is always afraid he'll run into in the men's room. Because what would you say?
Anyway, Boo - he is just captivating. We had planned to get him even before Beauty passed, because we thought he'd be a good distraction for Josie. She loved hugging and laying near Beauty, and Beauty was so sore I wanted to distract Josie so that she wouldn't irritate her more. I can only be glad that he is here now regardless of our original intentions (we meant to use him as a shield only in the nicest way, you know). In fact, perhaps it's better that the old girl didn't have to suffer this rascally new interloper. The sound of her formerly sensible human companion saying "Get you mousie Boo Boo! Det him! Det 'im!" in my best talking-to-a-funny-kitty voice would have made her roll over and die anyway.
Now, it's time for me to get off the computer and get ready for work. I'm passing this on as a gift that works on two levels. First, for you moms, it's hilarious on an adult level. But for the wee kiddie - it gives me enough time to get dressed not only with my underwear on right side out and deodorant under BOTH arms - but both eyebrows get drawn on properly so I don't look perpetually surprised. The DVD is coming down the chimney this year! Imagine. Months of me trying to teach it for fun and exercise and as an important iconic cultural reference point, and she picks it up right away from the 'puter screen. Sigh.