By Heather O.
I’m sick. So very, very sick. It started last night, and it got worse today. A vicious stomach bug has completely flattened me. And while some are saying it’s the food, I have a hard time believing it–none of my kids are sick, and DH isn’t sick. We’ve been eating the exact same food, most of it prepared by my own hands. But I haven’t been able to leave the house, as I’ve been hard pressed to go a half an hour without needing to use the bathroom. DH took pity on my plight, and came home early to get the kids out of the apartment. He took them to the Old City for pizza and, at Little Sister’s request, candy. Yes, my 3 year old daughter associates gummy worms with the Holy Land.
We found some newborn kittens and a nursing momma cat in our garden a few days ago. The cats here are feral and are, by and large, pretty gross, but my kids were enchanted by the sight of the tiny animals. They named the 4 kittens, and despite my warnings to not touch them or go near them, J put out a saucer of milk yesterday afternoon. When I found out what he was doing, I didn’t have the heart to stop him, especially when the momma cat eagerly lapped the fluid up. She hadn’t left the garden for 3 days, so she probably needed the nourishment. And there’s something universal about nursing babies that appeals to every mother in nature, isn’t there? I watched her little kittens squirm and cry and poke her in the eye and climb all over her back and head and stomach, and I felt her pain.
This morning, the first thing both my children said when they woke up was, “Let’s go check on the kittens!” J got up before Little Sister, though, and he was the first to discover that the cat family was gone. We searched the garden, but found no sign of them. I don’t know if momma moved the kittens (they certainly weren’t old enough to get very far on their own), or if some predator had gotten to them in the night. My kids were crushed, and we searched again in the afternoon, just to be sure momma didn’t come back. She didn’t.
I’ve been wondering for a while what my kids will get out of this experience. After all, they’re not that old–age 9 and 3 (almost 4). The museums go way over Little Sister’s head, and even J pleads to play hide and seek among 1st century ruins. They’ve been troopers, and overall pretty well behaved. I’m actually very proud of how they’ve handled this trip, but I wonder what is going through their heads, and what they will take away from it.
And if it happens that Little Sister remembers buying gummy worms for 9 shekels from an Arab merchant, and if J remembers looking for lost baby kittens, maybe that’s okay with me.
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