Oh Baby, Baby


Have you ever disconnected from the world, forcing yourself to think about life’s big issues? What do I want to do with my life? Do I want to have a family? Does my butt look big in this skort? It’s an interesting thing to do. And it’s indeed what we did in Skopelos, as the stillness of the island forced us to ponder such things.
At the less-than-tender age of 31 and with the looming question of “Should we have a baby?” always somewhere in the back of my mind, despite no desire whatsoever to have one, I suppose my Dad constantly reminding me “Your eggs are dying! Don’t believe those Hollywood media liberals who misleadingly tell women they can wait ’til 40 to have a baby!” (Thanks, Pops, that helps a lot.), plays a part. I suppose it’s something that many of us ponder. And ponder. And ponder.
But let’s just say the question was answered differently at the beginning of the trip than at the end (spoiler alert: there is no bun in this oven, however if someone would like to get me a bun, please slather some Nutella on top of it, thanks).
It went a little something like this:
Day 1
Me: I don’t want a baby.
Hubby: Me either.
Day 2
After sufficiently becoming bored and not knowing what to do with ourselves today, or for the rest of our lives:
Hubby: I don’t know. Maybe a baby wouldn’t be so bad.
Me: Yeah, I guess it could be fun. And our baby would be so much better than all those other babies.
Hubby: Yeah.
Me: Yeah.
Hubby: And we wouldn’t be like all those paranoid parents who overschedule their kids and never let them breathe.
Me: Yeah, why do people do that?
Hubby: I dunno.
Day 3
On a hike, which is just a fancy word I like to use for walk to make me feel better about myself and my current lack of physical activity, the most darling, bedraggled, homeless kitten peeked its tiny nose out of the scraggly bushes, meowing down a rock, begging at us for help. Scrawny to the point of runway-model status, she needed food. Now.
As the less giving one in the relationship and the one who grew up with dogs, I surprised even myself by being the one who said we should feed Kitten. Darling Hubby showed more hesitation, likely because in the preceding days of various run-ins with other cats (cats reign supreme and roam freely on Skopelos), I’d paranoidly (yes, I think I made that word up) said “Be careful, it could have rabbies or some other disease!”
Prior to our trip, we got flu shots, tetanus shots and hepatitis shots (allowing us to eat contaminated food and to have, um, relations, with locals — score), but hadn’t undergone rabies shots and certainly didn’t want to. But Kitten seemed sweet enough and as long as we didn’t touch her, what could be the harm, right?
So we did an about-face, walking back home to our villa-lala, telling Kitten to stay put, as we didn’t want her to follow us, filled a bowl with milk and brought it back to her. She lapped it up like a starlet in need of compliments and we went on our merry way, vowing to check on her when we returned from our walk, nay, hike.

Long story short, this went on for another day, until we let — okay, encouraged — Kitten to follow us home, where Hubby gave her food. Lots and lots of food. He then proceeded to outfit a makeshift bed/box for her in our bedroom windowsill (outside). With no TV and no Internet and, quite frankly, zero distractions, Kitten became the topic of all of our conversations.

Any time we would leave, we’d struggle with whether we should or not. “Do you think she’ll be okay?” Then, when we would pull back up to the villa, before the car was even turned off. “Kitten, Kitten, are you here?” we’d nervously call, hoping and praying she was okay and still alive until she appeared. We found ourselves hesitant to leave. “What if something happens to her?” She quickly became the center of our Skopelos-verse. We photographed her incessantly, constantly asked her if she was okay, even appointed her head of the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee. Somewhere along the way, she had adopted us.
And, somewhere in all of this, Husband had become the alpha provider, being the one to give her all her food, and to check on her during the night. Kitten repaid him by becoming his shadow. My heart simultaneously burst witrh pride and, purrhaps, the tiniest hiccup of envy.

Night 1 of Kitten at the villa-lala went something like this:
Me: {sleeping}
Hubby: {trying to sleep, worried about Kitten}
{Noise outside}
Hubby: {jumps up} Kitten, Kitten, are you okay?
Kitten: Meeeow.
Me: {annoyed my sleep is disrupted (see previous entry about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs; mine goes something like this: Food. Sleep. Warmth. Undivided Attention. No, Don’t Pay Any Attention To Me. Why Are You Staring at Me?! Sleep. Food. Warmth. Did I mention Sleep?)}
Repeat above every hour until sunrise.

Morning:
Hubby: Good morning!
Me: What?! Shhhh! I’m trying to sleep! You were up all night with Kitten and woke me up every time you got up.
{Hubby and I simultaneously realize how ridiculous this sounds, as it’s the script new mothers and fathers normally have when there’s a newborn baby in the picture, only usually reversed.}
Hubby: I hate this. I’ve become paranoid, always worrying about what Kitten is up to, if she’s okay, if she’s safe. Yuck. Who am I?!
Me: I know. I hate it too.
Hubby also realizes that anytime we’ve pet-sat in the past, he’s the one to feed and care for said pet. I can’t exactly disagree and have never pretended I’d be a good parent. In fact, the only part of the process that appeals to me is the newborn-baby phase. Once those suckers can move and talk, I’m out (my perfect niece Kaylee excluded, of course).
So, as far as big life decisions go, Skopelos declared no bambinos for us, though we were both very sad to leave Kitten behind. We were happy to have had the opportunity to nurse her back to health, to watch her cloudy eyes turn clear again, to watch her go from wobbly sideways walking to bold, straight up strutting. She confidently became more playful and was able to relaxedly lounge in the sun (hey, a kitten’s gotta rest). We, okay, Hubby, even acclimated her to the villa below, where two cats already live, making sure all three would share food and get along. We asked the villa caretakers to look after her, even leaving them a note, along with many, many cans of kitten food, with the agreement that they would watch after her.
Who knows what self-introspection Rome will hold. But if day one is any indication, it’ll probably go something like this:
Me: I know we just had a full dinner with tiramisu for dessert. But am I the only one who feels like we need to get some gelato too?
Hubby: Nope. I fully agree.
An hour later.
Me: Why’d you let me eat that dessert AND a cone of gelato? I feel like I’m pregnant…with a gelato baby.
Hubby: As long as it’s hazelnut…

Street Style: Rome
Stories from Skopelos
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