- Milk for the Cat
- When the tea is brought at five o'clock,
And all the neat curtains are drawn with care,
The little black cat with bright green eyes
Is suddenly purring there.
At first she pretends, having nothing to do,
She has come in merely to blink by the grate,
But, though tea may be late or the milk may be sour,
She is never late.
And presently her agate eyes
Take a soft large milky haze,
And her independent casual glance
Becomes a stiff, hard gaze.
Then she stamps her claws or lifts her ears,
Or twists her tail and begins to stir,
Till suddenly all her lithe body becomes
One breathing, trembling purr.
The children eat and wriggle and laugh;
The two old ladies stroke their silk:
But the cat is grown small and thin with desire,
Transformed to a creeping lust for milk.
The white saucer like some full moon descends
At last from the clouds of the table above;
She sighs and dreams and thrills and glows,
Transfigured with love.
She nestles over the shining rim,
Buries her chin in the creamy sea;
Her tail hangs loose; each drowsy paw
Is doubled under each bending knee.
A long, dim ecstasy holds her life;
Her world is an infinite shapeless white,
Till her tongue has curled the last holy drop,
Then she sinks back into the night,
Draws and dips her body to heap
Her sleepy nerves in the great arm-chair,
Lies defeated and buried deep
Three or four hours unconscious there.
At times like these, I wish I had a cat. I'm finally allowed to -- for the first time since I moved out of our house in Ohio -- but they say that it's not a good idea to get (and litter train) a cat while pregnant (because of toxoplasmosis) so I'll have to wait a little longer.
Cats are just so restful -- the rhythm of their purring and your petting, the weight of her on your lap or chest, the complete and utter abandon with which they relax in the sun -- these have always entranced me. They also seem to have a sense about your moods, and even a usually standoffish cat may ingratiate itself onto your lap when you're sad or stressed.
The thing is, I've been stressed lately. I'm not sure why. For about a week and a half now my generalized anxiety level has been slowly creeping up and up. It's getting to the point where I have to tell myself everything is going to be all right in order to sit down and eat a bowl of cereal, and my leg has started doing that nervous bouncing thing more and more frequently. I don't think I'm scared of labor -- I don't worry about it particularly, and I've dealt with enough pain in my life to know that I can handle just about anything for a little while. I don't worry about the responsibility of being a mom, and wonder if I'll be able to do everything OK because I know that I know how to take care of a baby, and I'll be able to get help when I need it.
It could be just the physical exhaustion of being VERY pregnant, combined with the constant unknown of when-will-the-baby-come. I have mixed feelings about when-will-the-baby-come. On one hand, I'm tired of carrying her around, and being constantly uncomfortable, and I want her OUT! I want to have the reward of all my hard work and actually hold the baby and see her and love her. We're within two weeks of the due date, it's perfectly normal for babies to come a little early, so let's get this over with. On the other hand, future convenience dictates that the longer I can keep going, the easier it will be to celebrate her birthday as a separate event from Christmas, which I've heard from people with December birthdays is a VERY important thing.
But...I made it through Christmas, and now New Year's is just a few days away. Following Flylady's advice has made it so I don't really HAVE to do much around the house to keep it running smoothly (though there is a big pile of wrapping paper to go thru if I can convince my body to bend over to pick it up). I only have one chapter of my current Manga to finish by the end of the year. So I really don't have many responsibilities except relaxing and letting the baby finish growing. It would just be nice to have a cat to keep me company and diffuse some of the stress for the next little while.
PS: As I read books about babies, they all encourage breastfeeding -- which I think is great. The thing is, I get SOOOO tired of people telling me that cow's milk is designed for baby cows, and not for people, and that no other animals drink other animals' milk -- like we're some sort of freaks for even considering it. I believe that cow's milk WAS designed for people to drink (though if you don't like it, or if your body doesn't like it, I'm not gonna force you). And anybody reading this poem, or anybody who has seen a cat go after a saucer of milk, has to admit that the second statement is complete bunk. We may be the only species that has figured out how to get another animal's milk on a regular basis, but we're certainly not the only ones that see it as a tasty source of nutrition. That's all. I'll get off my soap-box now.