Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Yachi and her four tiny kittens

Here's an update on Yachi and her babies.

I really wanted to take pictures of their day-to-day development. Feeling like a mom, too, to Yachi's tiny kittens. But I noticed that Yachi doesn't seem to like us or anybody else peeping inside at them. And so I was only able to take these few pictures when the mom is out of sight.

Speaking of privacy and spending those intimate moments with her babies, I'm sure I would feel the same way, too, if I were in her place. So all I have are these few pictures to share with you.

Last Saturday evening, upon arriving home after meeting up with a friend, I was surprised to find B and K upstairs to where Yachi and her babies were staying. Then I heard tiny shrieks! The babies!!! I ran just in time to see Yachi slipping out of the door, while 'biting' one of her babies on its nape, and was walking slowly and went inside a small opening on our ceiling.

I hastily asked my two daughters what was happening. 

K replied that she saw Yachi and one of the babies outside the 'zipped cabinet' but she thought Yachi was just cleaning the baby. And so she just left them alone.

The next thing she heard was a kitten's cry which was coming from inside the ceiling.

It suddenly dawned on me that what I saw was already the 2nd baby kitten being carried to this 'new hiding place'. Yes, when I checked inside the 'zipped cabinet', there were only 2 kittens left.

I wanted to get mad, then anxiety started to join the mixed emotions I was feeling inside. Was there anything that threatened Yachi that made her take her babies to another place? To a dirty place for her babies? I knew the ceiling must be filled with dust and sand since it was more than a year since we had it cleaned up.

Right at that moment I couldn't do anything at all. I couldn't stop Yachi from taking her babies to wherever she felt they will be 'safe'. I was staring at the 2 other cats, Wabbit and Turkey, who also loved taking a peek through the small hole on the side of the 'zipped cabinet'. Maybe they were as curious as we were of where those tiny sounds were coming from. Must have stepped on Yachi's boundary for privacy of her new babies.

Both are male cats, by the way. Probably they got no idea about 'mother cat's instincts', I thought to myself, while wanting to find someone to blame or something that will help me understand Yachi's seeming strange behavior.

The whole night was toss and turn for me, thinking how cold it must be in the ceiling. Even when I woke up in the middle of the night and found Yachi taking her usual place, sleeping curled on one side of my feet, my mind was still on the babies left inside the ceiling.

Two days later, while working here at home, I heard a crying sound coming from my room. I asked Bam to check it out. She came back laughing as she was trying to describe what she saw upstairs.

So I went up to my room, myself, and saw my blanket pushed back on the side of the bed. I started laughing, too, when I saw the tiny black kitty crawling on the creases of my blanket.

Yachi brought the kitten back. Not inside the 'zipped cabinet' but on my bed!!! 

The moment Yachi left the room, I picked up the kitten, carried it (don't know yet if it's a he or a she) on my palm. It was feeling cold, I guess...and so I held it gently for a few minutes to keep it warm. A warm feeling crept inside my heart when it looked up and allowed me to see its eyes already open. Woaah, then I slowly returned it back to that part of the blanket where Yachi left it.

I was hoping Yachi would take all the other 3 kittens back out of the ceiling. But a few minutes later, I saw her carry the black kitten back to the ceiling.

My guess is as good as yours.  Yachi wanted to assure me everything's fine by showing to me one of her kitties. 

Until now I still do not know up to what extent should I be feeling responsible for our pets. I want to trust Yachi's instincts about the welfare of her babies. And just leave them alone.  Well, why not?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Giving birth with confidence

Yachi, one of our pet cats, just gave birth to 4 kittens last night!!!

The whole evening I was so frantic, not knowing what to do, how to help our pet the moment she started getting restless and showed signs of labor.

I was rubbing Yachi's spine tenderly when I noticed movements in her tummy. Oh the babies are moving now, I told myself! Yah, there were movements in all sides of her tummy which gave me this idea that there is more than one kitten inside her.

Truth is although I have given birth to 2 daughters myself, both of them were delivered by caesarian section (CS) and that leaves me with no idea how it feels to give birth the natural way. Nope, got no first-hand experience of having labor pains. My OB used to tease me that I didn't give birth at all. My babies just popped out of my tummy. These thoughts only made me feel more incompetent last night as I was sitting there beside Yachi.

"Oh, Mom," my eldest daughter kept reminding me. "Don't worry. Cats know what to do! This is something they do by instinct, and would be better off without us intervening at all!" She really sounds so confident here. I remember it well how excited she was when Ducky, our pet dog, delivered her first babies a few years ago. Okay, allow me to digress here for a while.

I was working on an evaluation report then when we noticed Ducky getting restless. This, we easily recognized as signs of 'nesting'. I couldn't leave my writing work at that moment because I knew it would be difficult to go back again to this 'mode' the moment I turn my attention to somethings else.

So Bam was the one who stayed with Ducky while giving birth inside her whelping box. Every few minutes Bam was announcing, "Hey Ma, there's one now.....Ma!.... there's another one here!!" ... until she finally said with an amazed voice, "Ma, there are 5 of them here now? They look like dugong!!!"

Okay, okay, back to Yachi. This time she agreed to stay in the same room where Yachi is ... as I really couldn't contain my excitement and might affect Yachi's own birthing process.

A few minutes later we heard a small sound. While holding back our breath, we slowly peeped inside the old zipped 'cabinet' (where I keep my house clothes, a place Yachi chose to be her nesting place, while ignoring the box we made for her) and saw Yachi licking a very tiny kitten. After assuring Yachi with our soft voices that we are just around, we went back to what we were doing earlier.

Within the next hour, we saw 3 new babies, still with eyes closed crawling around their mom. It was almost midnight when Bam decided to go back to her own room. It took me another hour before I decided to go to sleep, too, and stop checking on Yachi and her babies.

I was nearing dreamland when I was suddenly awakened by another YELP inside the 'cabinet'. I hastily stood up, turned on the lights and peeped inside to find another baby lying there beside Yachi. Hmmm, and that makes it four. Then I went back to bed again ...

The only thing I was thinking of while drifting back to dreamland last night was ... I hope all the four placenta have been out so that there won't be any complications or possibility of infection for Yachi...and I hope Yachi doesn't get suffocated or vomit from eating too many placenta ... zzzzzzzzzz

When I opened my eyes early this morning I saw Yachi step out of the zipped cabinet to drink from her water bowl...and was eating ravenously. That was the only time a heaved a sigh of relief and started to relax. Hayy...

Must have been a long night for her. It's really amazing how cats can give birth on their own, and to four babies all in a row!!!

I have listed a few materials that helped us understand and prepare when our pet dog and cat were about to give birth.

Related links:
That's all for now. Thanks for dropping by and hope you visit again! I will be posting more stories here in the next few days.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Communicating with your teenage kids … (Part II)

Here’s a segue to my previous entry about communicating with your teenage kids.

Two days after posting my last blog, I got this feedback from my eldest daughter.

"Ma, you really got it wrong! I wasn't laughing at your friend! I just can't help laughing when an image of somebody else came into my mind! ... you weren't listening kasi eh.” After a short pause, she added, “I read your blog, Ma.”

Ah ok, that gave me an idea what my daughter was referring to. I had mixed feelings when I heard her talk about it -– glad to know she read my blog, and at the same time I was also wondering how she felt about what she read, which made me ask her: “If you were somebody else, say, one of your cousins or friends, and you read that blog … what would be your impression about it?”

“Hmmm…I would think it’s Bam bashing,” was her immediate reply.

My mind went ‘uh-uh’ as I was about to ‘defend’ what I wrote but instead of doing that I chose to remain silent and listen more intently to what she was about to say. Am sure both of us wouldn’t want to enter into another argument about it. And sure enough, this decision paid off when she suddenly said …

“But that’s your blog anyway, Mom!” and smiled at me.

Upon hearing this I suddenly realized that indeed, here's a young adult before me now ... oh my kids are both grown up already.  I really have to relax a bit and start learning how to grow up with them. There's a lot of my stored knowledge about raising kids that need some updating.  This sent me wondering ...

Do I really have to be irritated when I see clutter in their own space? Is there a better way to handle this?

Should I be bothered that they don't seem to be that affected when they watch horror movies? (...and am too afraid to watch one with them?)

Do I need to feel hurt when they put on a strong argument when I say "because i say so..."?

Oh, it seems like there is really a lot of rethinking needed about these things. I thought having gone through their early adolescence years was already much of a challenge to my intelligence, and yes, my own sanity. Kaloka talaga yon!

And now, am treading a new path with them once again. Why do kids have to grow up so fast? I haven't familiarized myself yet in relating with teenage daughters, and now there are more instances my eldest daughter is more sensible than I think I am. Painful, yes, but also very humbling. And I love that moment when I heard them say ...

"Of course, Mom, the next generation should be better than the previous one, di ba?"

This time I was the one who smiled back at them. I can't help from smiling inside when I see a compliment coming, intended or not, I still wanna smile. ^_^

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Communicating with your teenage kids (errr...a young adult, I should say)

As soon as the sound of firecrackers and spectacular display of pyrotechnics started to fade, we ran back inside our house to sit down for our media noche. Bam was so hyper that night, teasing everyone in sight, sparing nobody who live inside our compound.

Medyo pikon pala ako that night. I didn’t realize this until I heard Bam make a funny (not so funny for me) remark about one of my friends. While my blood was starting to boil, she was still laughing so hard at her own joke, not noticing the stern look I was already throwing at her (the ‘Mama look’ as they often call it).

Normally, I simply smile when Bam starts making teasing remarks like this, not minding at all since we were talking about other people. But not anyone among our friends (hers, Kim’s, or mine). This was the first time I heard her make fun of how one of my friends looks like.

After a few exchange of ‘arguments’ with her about this, as you see we are both able to find our own reasons for our actions and reactions, I turned on my ‘silent wall’, not wanting to say anything anymore about the topic and just went on cleaning up our kitchen.

It took me one day before I went back to thinking about what happened that New Year’s eve. I always felt uncomfortable whenever we have this kind of arguments wherein nobody wants to give in, and nobody is talking to anybody inside the house. Just going on with our usual routines doesn’t feel good without the usual comments and remarks exchanged whenever we are together in any part of the house. On new year’s day we were literally avoiding each other, except of course, during meal times. What a way to start our year, I thought to myself.

While reflecting on this recent happening, I knew that I raised my two daughters to grow up with the ability to speak out their thoughts and feelings freely, but I felt I need to set my bottom-line about certain things. I really don’t feel comfortable talking about the physical attributes of other people and making this a butt of joke.

It was only the following day did we start talking to each other again. But still there were a few arguments that followed, so I went back to my 'silent wall'.

One of my friends who learned about it texted me, “Hala, you might be arguing with Bam for the entire year!!!” I was actually worried that this might worsen if I don’t open up my heart to relating with her again. That would be a torture not only for the two of us, but also to Kim. Sumisikip ang loob ng bahay, is how they describe it whenever there is animosity felt by one of us. Moreso if there are two of us feeling that way. I guess this is what happens when 3 strong women (or ladies) are living inside a house. The space expands when everything’s okay, and it shrinks when things are not that okay.

On the third day we were talking amiably about buying a new digicam (since Kim will be needing this for her school projects, and Bam also needs it) when Bam suddenly said, “Ma, I saw my classmate using a camera that’s also an mp3 or mp4 player!”

Oh, I think I saw one in that store where I bought Kim’s mp3 player, I replied.

“But I don’t like going to that store. I don’t like that store at all. Their products are not that good!”, was her reply.

When I heard her last comment, I just stared at her and asked: “Did you hear what you just said?”


If you were in my shoes and one of your friends made that same remark you just said, how would you feel?, I asked her again.

She thought for a moment and said: “Babatukan ko siya!

Okay, so ilang batok kaya ang kailangan ko nang ibigay sayo?

Then she started giggling and replied, “hehe, mga sampu siguro Mama!

Still making my face look serious, I added, “Nagigets mo ba Bam why we often have those arguments? We are both strong individuals, we know that di ba? And when we are both mad, sumasakit ang ulo ni Kim because of the strong negative energy we are both emitting. Kaya oh please, stop provoking me. Nakakabobo pag galit!

And that was it. Everything went fine again after that. No sneering comments, no arguments. Siguro ayaw din niyang maging bobo. Ako din.

This is one thing I love whenever we are able to talk things out and express ourselves more clearly. It’s always as if nothing happened at all. Able to re-start again with a clean slate.

Maybe I shouldn’t feel bad about these arguments I sometimes have with Bam or with Kim after all. Maybe we need that to clear things out and get to know each other better. This is exactly how I felt after going through this kind of experience. I learned to understand and appreciate what Bam is trying to tell me. I hope she also feels the same way about this.