Rude awakening


In which DD realises that mornings will never be the same again

Illustration by Jenny Lamont

What a life! Isn’t it funny how easily one forgets what living with young animals is like? We were woken this morning by dive-bombing Ninja cats, aka The Twins – Arty and Lewie! Honestly, I felt as if I was sleeping in a WWF ring; they are relentless and I was feeling panicky on behalf of my very full bladder… Lewie has discovered that, as an evil and definitely premeditated last resort, if he scratches the side of the mattress it will REALLY wake us up to moan at him, or The Dad will attempt to feebly swat at him in the dark. He doesn’t mind the moan or the swat so much; it’ a small price to pay IF The Dad relents and gets up to feed him and his brother. 

Being an animal lover, you will understand when I say one CANNOT open your eyes, move a toe or even allow your breathing pattern to change or ALL the fur kids will be overwhelmed with excitement that you have finally woken and the day will begin with all seriousness.

Total CALM (i.e. pretending to be fast asleep) is called for until the stroke of 06h00, at which point the alarm goes off, promptly followed by Sheba’s exaggerated yawn (I swear she has almost perfected her doggie ‘hello’) and her need to stick her face in James’ to check he is awake. Sammy throws caution to the wind and drags an item of clothing onto my ample bosom as a wake-up present, Arty speeds up ‘making biscuits’ (kitty kneading) on The Dad’s chest, and Lewie dives under the bottom of the duvet to see whose feet he can fish out with his very sharp claws. And so the day begins!

Of course, being the honey he is, The Dad stumbles out of bed first and – looking much like an older Pied Piper – he is followed eagerly by all the fur kids and I (and my trusty cellphone) am left in peace to check in on the world and gather my mojo for the day. I refuse to step out of the bed until 06h30, at which point I have to make the hundred-mile dash to the loo, fighting my way past Sheba and Sammy, who are both armed with their tennis balls, ready and waiting for their morning game of ball with The Momma, and The Twins, who are having the post-breakfast game of tag around the cottage. There is nothing quite like a ball game at the crack of dawn to get the blood flowing and the old joints moving. The girls NEVER let me off… my only exemption would be death!

In winter, the morning game is held indoors, starting while I hurriedly make the beds and pull the bedrooms straight so that we can move to the lounge. Of course we have to be careful as, by then, both Aaron and James are sitting and eating their cereal and I just know we would all be in deep trouble (well, me mostly) if a rogue ball had to land in a bowl – and, believe me, there have been a few close shaves! Sammy has to be on her best behaviour and remember NOT to bark when she doesn’t think I am getting to throw her ball for her quickly enough, and I have to remember that Sheba slides a little on the carpet, so only gentle throws for her – no scampering down the passage, as Sammy can do with glee. So many things to remember to keep our fur kids happy! In summer, of course, it is much more fun because then we play outside while I pray that I won’t be seen in my pjs with my Medusa hair by the friendly neighbours.

The only thing that consoles me is that I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in my morning animal-induced state of chaos – all you animal lovers with fur kids of your own probably experience a state of chaos of your very own.