Psychologically Torturing my Parents, Part Puddles

As promised, I am introducing a new feature on the blog. Welcome to “Psychologically Torturing my Parents,” where I will recount all the tragedies and headaches I have inflicted on them in our nearly 24 years together. Originally, I had intended a one time follow up to Friday’s post, but then I realized that raising me was really no walk in the park and there might be more than 600-800 words on the subject.

The most important thing to be aware of here is that I was an extremely precocious child. From an early age I learned to use my smarts and charm to accomplish all sorts of wonderful things, the least of which was fooling my parents into doing my bidding. These days they are not as easily bamboozled, I don’t know if they have gotten smarter or if I have become less adorable, but it’s just not as easy to cajole them into seeing things my way as it used to be.

My most epic scheme of all time occurred when I was just 5 years old. Now at this point I had been asking for a pet, specifically a gray cat that I would name Puddles on account of the fact that puddles are gray, for about as long as I could remember. Like all of my wildest dreams, I was most certainly not going to let this go until I was cuddling said cat. My mother was adamantly against cat ownership. My dad talked a big game about siding with my mom on this, but I knew he secretly was all for it. After all, we are talking about the man who once surprised me a with giant fish tank filled with 20 gold fish, yet neglected to first clear this with Mom. Boy, was she in for a surprise when she came home that night.

Since Dad was on board, I knew that cat ownership was well within my grasp, but that I would have to bide my time. Whether my mom caved or I conned my dad into just sneaking a cat in the house, I knew I would catch one of them in a moment of weakness and the cat would be mine. As it turned out, I didn’t have to wait all that long because shortly before my fifth birthday the perfect opportunity fell into my lap…

It was a peaceful Saturday in early spring, just the three of us hanging out at home. Dad was out in the garage tinkering with something while Mom and I played Care Bears on their bed. I prattled on to Mom about the imaginary lives of Hugs and Tugs while she struggled to stay awake. Once I saw her head start lolling I knew this was my chance; she is notorious for carrying on conversations in her sleep. As her lids drooped and her breath became shallow, I tested her out with a few innocuous questions: what’s for dinner?, can we go to Grandma’s?, how many sleeps until my birthday? Chicken fingers, mmm-mmm, a bunch. Great, just cognizant enough to answer, but not enough to think it through.

“Mom, can we get a cat?”

Silence.

“If you don’t wake up in 10 seconds, we’re getting a cat.”

“Hmm, sure.”

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Nudge, nudge. Nothing.

“Ok, we’re getting a cat.”

“Mmm-hmmm, yup.”

I ran as fast as I could out to the garage to give my dad the good news.

“Dad, dad! WE’RE GETTING A CAT!!!!”

His eyes widened with joy that paralleled mine, “Really?”

“Mom said,” I shouted as he trailed into the house to investigate this change of heart further.

After a few minutes of head scratching and some confused exclamations of ‘I agreed to what?’ it became clear that she was losing this battle. A few weeks later, much to her dismay we brought home the best, prettiest gray cat in the history of the world and we named her Puddles. Eventually, my Mom learned to love her and eventually I devised a multitude of other scams, but those are for another post.

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