So last night I got to introduce the tinies to the wonderful world of Christmas wrapping paper. At first they were a bit confused. After a few minutes of rustling, Ilene (of course) decided pouncing into the paper would be a good plan. That set off several frantic minutes of rumpus action.
Of course this coincided with my camera battery going thud while my backup battery was charging. So rather than try to figure out how to take pictures, I decided to just be in the moment a bit.
Kittens act like the babies they are. Everything is new, and everything is explore worthy. Kirsten had to figure out what happened if she burrowed under the paper. Ilene wanted to see what happen if she jumped while Mommy was using the scissors. (An abrupt halting of snippage while grabbing flying kitten if you are curious.)Jo was all about the TAPE. I had to go hunt the tape down several times. Most of my packages have kitten tooth marks in the tape. Poor Ollie was just confused.
While this was going on, Nimitz quietly padded out of the bedroom. He had a rough move when we came here from DC. On top of that he's developed arthritis in his hips. He's been known to swipe at people who come in to visit. Generally he's got the disposition of an untipped waiter. He's been fairly cranky since the kids moved in. He pounds on poor Ollie and will hiss at the little guys. I knew he'd be the tough one. Tico just ignores them. Nibbs sees the kittens as invaders. Over the last few days he's been settling down a bit. He'll let the kids sit near him. By that I mean within 5 feet without threats of violence. Mostly he stays in the bedroom and glares at them.
So I was a bit apprehensive when he came out of the bedroom. You see, Nibbs LOVES Christmas. He enjoys sleeping under the tree and playing with the wrapping paper. His favorite trick is taking the bows off packages. He'll work at a bow for 10 minutes to get it loose. Then he carries it around for a bit, drops it, and goes back for another one. I actually have to stick extra bows on everything just for him.
He padded over to the pile of paper and kittens and sat down. Jo promptly bounced into him. I held my breath as Jo fluffed up, preparing to get thumped. To my surprise, he just leaned forward and sniffed at her. No hiss, no whack. This inspired Kirsten and Ilene to come over and sniff. Same thing.
Mildly reassured that I wasn't going to have Kitten Armageddon, I went back to wrapping. Nimitz promptly started helping. I managed to tape his paw twice. He then stole a piece of paper and carried it off to bat at it. He hasn't done that in two years.
Then I pulled out the bow bag. Before I could start, guess who had his head in the bag. He flicked a bow out of the bag, I quickly grabbed it back. So started his favorite game. Pull the bows out before Mom could get them.
I finished wrapping packages and stuck the results under the tree. I walked away, knowing what would come next. Nibbs would start pulling bows off the packages. I could hear the familiar sound of bows popping off. I peeked around the couch and got my second surprise of the night. There sat Nimitz, supervising as the Butterbeans worked to pull bows off the boxes.
I just stood and watched for a bit. When one of the Beans was too rough with the bow, he'd give her a mild cuff, then let her start again. Ilene was the only one who managed to get her bow off. After about 5 minutes he got tired of watching and went to work on his own prize. He worked a big silver bow off a box and quickly bounced away from the tree. He dropped it, looked up at me and chirped.
He hasn't done that in ages. I moved towards him, he grabbed his prize and trotted off. What else could I do but give chase.
Fostering is tough work. That moment last night makes it all worth it. Some way, some how, I've gotten my 15 pound kitten back. I wouldn't trade that for anything.
Tidings of comfort and joy to you and yours tonight.