Imagine That

Winnie napping after terrorizing my sewing room.

Winston is a whopping 7 weeks old now and weighs in at a hefty 2 lbs 9 ounces. Ok, it’s only hefty when you compare it to the 1 lb that he weighed when we got him. I can almost see him changing daily, going from a small, furry ball with legs to a standard model, cute-as-can-be play-mobile of a kitten. One of the changes that struck me lately was a change in his playtime activities. When we first brought Winnie home, his toy of choice was fingers. Forget the bell balls and feather wands (well, ok the feather wand got it’s share of play) but just wave your hand gently over any surface and Winston would attack. With tiny teeth, he wrestled those darned fingers into submission again and again.

Just a couple of days ago, Winnie was playing on the bed. I trailed my fingers in his line of sight and waited for a pounce that didn’t come. Hmmm, what was this? I trailed again to no avail. I pulled the cuff of my polar fleece sweater over my fingers and tried again. My hand was instantly transformed into a gazelle on the Serengeti about to become lion lunch. Over and over, my tiny king of the jungle attacked and felled his imaginary prey. My “costume” made all the difference. Without my costume, I was just another set of fingers. Practical tools and good for feeding and petting but just fingers.   How could he have become so jaded in just a few weeks?  Was this inevitable? I wondered. The bloom of imagination fading under the harsh lights of reality? I thought about children, how a simple rattle or block is a wonder to a baby but to an older child they are “just a block.” When do we begin to lose the wonder of that simple square of wood or the fingers that pose as gazelles?

I brought up Winnie’s new behavior to my husband (who is, without argument, Winnie’s favorite human.) “I’ve noticed it, too,” he said, “but he’s only that way until the lights are out…then he’ll chase fingers again.” Ah, sweet proof that kittens, like humans, may grow up, but there is always a trace of childhood inside…you just need to find the right setting to coax it out.

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