Say it with me now...practice practice practice.
I think that's the overarching mission of our cats right now -- to give us as much practice as possible in the art of parenting and living with interrupted nights' sleep before we ever get around to having Plus One join our family.
19-year old Annabel, also known as the Grey Bullet, routinely starts howling at 4AM every night. It's not that she's hungry. It's not that she's hurt. Basically, she's awake and wants attention. Plus, if she crouches at the head of the stairs, the reverberations down the stairwell are positively operatic. So I roll out of bed, shuffle down the hall, scoop her up, and carry her back to bed where she immediately falls asleep.
And then there's 15-year old Cecilia, who thankfully doesn't do too much besides be grumpy, with the notable exception of last evening when she walked into our family room with a decidedly awkward gait. As I turned to watch her, she promptly put her butt down on the tile, lifted her hind legs, and started scootching across the floor using her front legs, all the while with a look on her face that clearly said "I have lost all dignity and it really sucks." Needless to say, Jennifer and I got to enjoy a quick preview of the "Mom! Dad! Wipe my butt!" syndrome and all with a pissed-off and humiliated cat squirming for escape.
All of this reflects the experiences our friends with children have been oh so eager to share in recent weeks. There's the story about how F coated her father J with milk puke just as their bus was arriving at Logan Airport for a 3-hour flight to the midwest. Last weekend, a new friend proceeded to bring us up to speed on various pee- and poo-related incidents that occurred with her young son both in and out of the car during drives to and from Pennsylvania. I've lost track of the tales of things that end up in your hair, in your lap, in your mouth, on the walls, etc. Of course, the coda to all of these stories is that "It's absolutely worth it." That's what everyone has told us and I believe them. I'm just going to try and keep my mouth shut.