07 October 2003 by Published in: Sophia No comments yet

So on Sunday night we were all sitting in the living room watching the Women’s Soccer Team fail to make the finals and Sophia had just spent 20 minutes climbing on, hugging tightly, screaming with glee at and generally chasing the dog, Sergei, and was ready for a change of pace. She went over to her table and sat down. To her dismay, however, Oz was taking up a not inconsiderable portion of her tabletop with his bulk. She poked him once or twice and, in general, this works to get Oz moving, as he doesn’t particularly like to be close to the center of toddle action. However, once in a great while, he gets his hackles up and decides that he was there first (at the spot and in the household) and any and all other pets, including the human one, can just take a hike. This was one of those occasions, and instead of taking himself elsewhere, he turned his head and gave her a low growling meow. A warning. Hearing this, I looked over at the situation. “Sophia, Oz is warning you. Leave him alone. If you are not nice to him, he will scratch you.” Let her learn consequences, I thought. Let her figure out that Oz is not to be messed with. She looked over at Oz consideringly. She stood up, backed up a pace or two and in her lowest growliest voice started to berate him.

“You better not, Oz! You know better than that. Oz! You know better than that.”

After a couple of iterations of this Kurt turned to me, “Do you say that to her?” I nodded guiltily. “Yes, yes I do.”

A couple more iterations of “You know better than that, Oz!” and I decided I had to do something.


She turned to me.

“Are you trying to make Oz feel bad?”

She grinned triumphantly and nodded vigorously, “Oz feel bad!”

I hadn’t the heart to tell her it wouldn’t work.

This morning, I was preparing my lunch and Sophia had wandered into the living room. In a moment I heard the wail of slight pain. If you’re a parent you know what I mean. This is not the wail of genuine extreme pain, but more the I need attention because something just didn’t go the way I wanted it to and I may be slightly uncomfortable about what just happened or some physical result of what just happened but kisses will fix it and no journeys to the ER will need to be made. So I wait for Sophia to drag herself into the kitchen, producing copious dramatic tears and wailing “I did it, I did it.” I crouch to her level.

“You did what?”

“I did iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah.”

“Are you hurt?”


“Where are you hurt?”

“Oz did it.”

Oh! Oz did it. I get it now.

“Awww sweetie, did Oz hurt you?”

“Oz hurt you.”

I hug her and pick her up, carrying her to the couch.

“Did Oz scratch you a little bit?”

“Scratch me a little bit.”

Kisses are delivered. Tears dry. Oz is sitting quietly on top of Sophia’s train set, a place which both cats love for reasons that escape me and looking supremely unconcerned. I examine Sophia for scratches but find none, and assume that Oz did the right thing and batted her with no claws and the aggression of his action is what scared her, not any actual scratching on his part.

Sophia clambers down. She looks over at Oz. She looks at me.

“Mama, touch Oz!” she tells me.

“You want me to touch Oz?” I’m wondering about her angle here. Does she think he’ll strike me and be able to show me how mean he is? Does she want to reconcile with Oz through me, and is too scared just yet to do it herself? I make a big show of sitting next to Oz and letting him sniff my fingers for a moment. She moves in close and watches avidly. I touch his head.

“Be gentle, mama!” She warns me.

“I’m being gentle. We’re always gentle with Oz,” I say as I pet him and he closes his eyes happily. Sophia watches, smiling. I think she may have wanted me to roleplay her petting Oz the right way, while she played the adult who gave instructions on how to treat the cat. It may also have been her way of making up with him over their disagreement. I’m not sure.


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