If You Give a Cat a Ribbon*

Posted by on Jun 3, 2015 in Domesticity, Miscellaneous, Parenting on a Daily Basis | 0 comments


If you give a cat a ribbon…oh, don’t bother. She will find one for herself—most likely when the rest of the household is absent, or asleep.

Then she will eat the ribbon—all eighteen inches of it.

How will you know this? Suspicions will begin at approximately the fifteenth hour of cat vomit, when there isn’t anything else to see but a houseful of puke and a very sick cat.

Your suspicions will be confirmed when the x-ray at the emergency veterinarian identifies a “stringy thing” in the cat’s intestine.

The cat will then have emergency surgery.

The cat will not offer to pay the thousands—yes, thousands—of dollars for the surgery herself. She will expect you to come up with the cash.

When you ask about what the vet found in your cat, the vet will ask if you’d like to see it. You will decline.

You will reminisce about that time in February this same cat ate foam flooring, leading you to dislocate a kneecap and spend several weeks on crutches. You will consider how lucky this cat is that she is adorable and sweet, because, apparently, she came into this world utterly unequipped with Darwinian survival instincts of any kind, and you will have to make up this deficit for her.

You will announce to your family that while this cat is at the vet overnight, the house must be cleaned of “all the things.” When the family groans and rolls eyes, you tell them that if they do not do as they are told, “the cat might die.” Cleaning will commence.

Three nanoseconds after cleaning is completed, you will find a hair elastic sitting on a bathroom counter. You will wonder how many lives cats actually have. You will wonder how many lives your kids have.

You will pick up your cat at the vet the next day. When you see her, she will be shaved in three places, still under the influence of painkillers and sporting the “Cone of Shame.” She will mew pitifully. You will apologize to her, though you will not be able to think why.

The vet will tell you to keep your cat isolated for ten to fourteen days in a room with no furniture and nothing she can jump on or from. You will stare at the vet as you try to picture the kind of house she lives in.

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Posted by on Jan 9, 2015 in Miscellaneous | 0 comments

MBP closed

Uncharted Parent is on hiatus. (You may have deduced as much from the lack of posts lately.) The blog will return at the beginning of March, unless my new status as parent of a teenager has left me cringing in a corner, trying to hide from the mood swings.

Of course, if something comes up before March, I might pop in for a quick word or two. You never know. (If you want to make sure not to miss anything, click on the little envelope at the top right corner of the screen to subscribe to posts via email.)

In the meantime, enjoy winter. Go sledding. Read books. Keep warm. And if you happen to be at the grocery store and see someone buying milk and pasta by the ton, that’s me. (Do you think the cats would mind if I decided it would be easier to bring home a cow?)

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Summer Vacation 2013: The Holding is the Most Important Part of the Reservation

Posted by on Aug 8, 2013 in Kids & Technology, Miscellaneous, The World We Parent In | 4 comments


Last week, my family went on vacation. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that we don’t take the ordinary approach to summer vacations. Journey to a destination, check in, enjoy activities, go home. What kind of an adventure would that be?

During previous vacations, we’ve lost a transmission and had our car towed from the top of the highest peak in the northeastern U.S., endured the near-death of the replacement transmission the following year in a mountain pass where one is more likely to contact a moose than reach a human being via cell phone, and found ourselves rushing to the same Urgent Care two days apart and subsequently filling a shopping basket at Rite Aid with bandages and other supplies to care for our mother-and-son wounds.

This year, I’ll let Jerry Seinfeld demonstrate for you how our vacation began (substitute the word “cottage” for “car”):

With the Seinfeld clip in one hand and a vodka mojito in the other, by dinnertime I was able to laugh at the fact that when we showed up at the beach cottage we’d carefully selected and paid a deposit for in April, said cottage had also been rented to someone else–someone who’d gotten there before us and had already settled in.

Somehow, I managed to keep in mind the entire time we interacted with the proprietor that my children were with me and I wanted to set a good example of how to deal with a bad situation. I kept all the profanity in my head.

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Back Next Week

Posted by on Jun 12, 2013 in Miscellaneous | 0 comments

Uncharted Parent is on hiatus this week. I’ll be back next week with a new post, as soon as I remove the kittens from the lampshade and speed up their training as mousers, which, apparently, is now necessary in our house. Get off the keyboard, kitties–that’s my job. You’ve got other responsibilities…

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Posted by on Jun 15, 2012 in Education & Learning, Miscellaneous, Our Cultures, Races & Religions, Out of the Mouths of My Kids, Parenting on a Daily Basis | 0 comments

end of school

(Photo credit: digitalsean via Flickr.com)

This morning I waved goodbye to a fourth-grader and a first-grader as they climbed the steps of  the elementary school bus on the last day of school.

Day skips into day skips into weeks.  A few hours sleep in between, no more.  Are we here already?

Soccer tryouts, three days in a row, not just playing with his friends anymore.  “Jack” wants to take his game up a notch, see if he can do better, learn more, compete.  We pile into the car, drive for miles, he runs hard, works harder, comes off the field drenched in sweat and says, “Mom, that was fun!”

In between the tryouts, I take my daughter to the drugstore to purchase makeup for her dance recital–make that recitals.  Foundation, blush, eyeliner, eye shadow, mascara, and I find a YouTube video to teach me how to apply dance makeup to Asian eyes.  “Emmie” is no longer content with a little girl’s ballet lessons; she’s expanded to hip-hop now.  She travels the distance from seven to fifteen with the change of a costume.  She sets down her Cinderella trumpet, I unpin her bun and she juts out a hipbone to lyrics like, “I got freaky, freaky baby, I was chillin’ with my ladies.”

Somehow, amidst the chaos, I find time to get rear-ended on a busy Boston street.  The auto insurance companies come through, figure out the details as the back end of my car slowly disintegrates driving from home to end-of-year school picnics, theaters and soccer fields.  Look, another piece of the car is peeling off the frame.

“Mommy, can I have an end-of-elementary school party?” Jack asks me.

When did you get old enough for this?

Any minute now, they’ll step off the school bus, pounds of artwork and papers they’ve never told me they’ve written in their hands.

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