My husband and I were pretty excited when we stopped needing to buy nappies and baby food.
Our kids are old enough to eat meals with us and both are completely toilet trained. They are fairly self sufficient and we have started putting nice things on shelves and tables again.
So when we got our pet kitten Ollie, we were quite shocked to realise that it's not too different to having a baby in the house.
Food: While we have passed the stage of formula or fancy organic baby food, we now pay a fortune for special kitten food with all the essential nutrients for a growing kitten.
Toileting: Exit nappies and wipes, enter kitty litter and litter tray liners.
Accidents: Generally our kids no longer have toilet accidents, however, we now have a kitten who occasionally gets a little too enthusiastic with covering his deposits and sometimes gets mess on his paws before traipsing through the house.
Night and early morning wake ups: Our kids are sleeping through consistently now aside from occasional bad dreams or being unwell. Unfortunately Ollie hasn't figured out that night time is for sleep and if we forget to close bedroom doors we are often woken by a white fluffy lump jumping onto our heads in the middle of the night. In the morning we are woken by the relentless meow of a hungry and lonely kitten.
Teething: Our kitten went through a delightful phase of losing his baby teeth. We were finding them everywhere. Then his new teeth came through and now he is biting everything and everyone. I was lucky that neither of children went through a biting phase as toddlers, however the kitten is making up for that.
Baby proofing: The phrase "curiosity killed the cat" has never been more apt. We have had glass jars knocked over and smashed, and a very near miss with a candle. He is constantly climbing into the dishwasher and the washing machine, is often found in cupboards after the doors were accidentally closed, and he has a strange habit of crawling into open drawers and disappearing down the back of them. We have had to baby proof as though we had a toddler in the house and even more challenging is that baby gates are useless.
But we are fairly smitten with our crazy little addition. Thankfully he seems to know just when he has pushed us to our very limits and will come over for a snuggle and purr loudly. I just hope that, like toddlers, he settles down as he grows.
- Christy Kidner is a trained newborn care specialist and mother of two. Visit Christy's blog: www.motheringme.com.au