My agent sent me a Happy Mother's Day email, even though I don't have human kids. My "kids" have four legs; they are humans in fur clothing, except for the fish in their scales. Her note rekindled memories of all the things human moms remind, threaten, and warn their kids about during their younger years. For example, I distinctly remember my mother warning me to wear clean underwear in case I was in a car accident. Silly, huh? What difference did clean undies make if my head was hanging on by a string. Then, as a teenager, I got the, "So, if your friend jumped over a cliff, you'd jump, too? I just couldn't say "Yes" to that question, not if I had one ounce of brain cells. My mother's comeback would be, "Well, then, why would you even think of doing blah, blah, blah?" Ah, yes: mothers' proverbs.
As a mother of different species of animals, I have my own warnings, threats, and pet--no pun intended--phrases I use to keep them safe or feeling silly or guilty. I'm breaking them down into "cat"egories for you because different species require different warnings, tones of voice, and expectations.
For the cats:
1. If you don't come into the house right now, I'm not calling you again. Then, you're gonna be stuck out all night. You'll be so-o-o-orry.
2. Don't eat so fast: you're gonna barf.
3. NO! Don't barf on the rug! Go into the kitchen.
4. Take this medicine; it's good for you.
5. Okay, Sucky Face: I'll give you five minutes on my neck.
6. Lyla! Off my pillow!
7. No fighting!
8. Could you please lie somewhere else other than on the computer keyboard?
8. What beautiful pussies!
For the pigs:
1. Lowell, get up! Get UP! Don't pee on your blanket!
2. My Lowell.
3. Out of the garden, Skippy. Yes, you! Yes, I do see you in the flowers. You're a pig, and, no matter how still you stand, I can still see you. Out of the garden! NOW!
4. Out of the pachysandra, Skippy. Yes, you! Don't look shocked. Is there another 'Skippy' around here?
5. Let's check your belly for ticks. Roll over. There is one! HOLD STILL!!
6. It's okay. Mommy's here.
7. No, you don't smell pork roast.
8. Don't eat so fast; you're gonna barf.
9. Good little piggies stay home.
For the horses:
1. Stop bullying Lola before she kicks you into the middle of next week.
2. You never listen: one of these days you're gonna get hurt.
3. You never listen: one of these days I'm gonna get hurt.
4. No running in the barn.
5. Whoa! Damn it!
6. Bite me, and it'll be your last bite.
7. What a handsome horsey.
To all the animals:
Sleep tight: Don't let the stinkbugs bite.
To all mothers of animals. Every day is mother's day: taking the bad with the good. But the good our animals brings us is worth every irritation, cleaning chore, and unending vigilance. We are the luckiest of moms. Happy Mother's Day!