Mother of all mad mums

02:50, Aug 09 2014
REVELATION: "I am an absolute helicopter parent."

When I was a kid, I bought a mouse from a pet shop in Timaru. It cost 50 cents. A real bargain considering it was pregnant and would eventually become six mice.

It didn't smell great so mum made me keep it in a cage in the garage lined with shredded newspaper.

Anyway, mousie had five offspring and promptly ate a couple of them. I've been keeping a wary eye on my own mother ever since.

Salmon are kinder. They literally die to breed. I'm told that they do that so their carcasses rot, insects breed on them, and their baby fish can have a good feed when they hatch.

Those parents give their lives and bodies to feed kids they will never meet. Still, I would never even consider eating my mother.

Then I found out about these monkeys in India where each group is dominated by a single male. If another male wins a violent challenge to lead the group, all infants of the females are then killed.


Then sometimes I hear that parents don't get to sleep in once they have children, and then spend the next 15 years driving them places.

This leads me to the obvious conclusion that parenthood of any description is not easy. You're either awake, eating your kids, killing them, dropping them at a sports match or letting them feed on your rotting carcass.

I said in a previous column that I no longer desired children of my own but I'd often thought I would have made a decent mother.

Then I got a cat. Oh my very giddy aunt, this foray into being a pet owner has shown me that parenting probably was never for me. I am an absolute helicopter parent. I watch everything that poor cat does and woe betide the unsuspecting visitor who innocently wanders through the house and has to be shown all of PussPuss's "tricks".

I am reminding myself of certain relations who narrate and demand I watch their new offspring.

"Look! She's about to clap hands!"

"Look! He's trying to walk!"

"Look! Bi-lateral waving and other vaguely interesting motor control developments!"

These are all the things I vowed I would never do with my own child now here I am, doing worse things with a cat.

"Look! He chases a ball!"

"Look! He fetches a catnip-infused emu!"

I don't even like to let PussPuss out of my sight. Yes, even when I'm sleeping.

I'd never really enjoyed sharing a bed with a cat because of fidgety legs. The minute a cat is settled between my two resting legs, I need to move. I've had a lifelong moratorium on cats on beds but when PussPuss arrived, he started sleeping on the pillow beside my head, right between me and my boyfriend.

It was ideal. I'd wake a few times each night and had something to pat and slowly drift back to sleep. This lasted a few weeks. Then something changed. PussPuss started sleeping on my boyfriend's side, all tucked up in the leeward side of his knees. I was accused of annoying him too much in the night. Now, when I wake up at 3am, I lean over and steal the poor sleeping cat and jam him on the pillow.

At some stage between 4am and the alarm my boyfriend awakes and accuses me of ruining the poor cat's night. I am told that if I was allowed to pat him as much as I wanted then the cat would get a bald spot.

Loving something to death is perfectly natural as I have highlighted above. It's not like I'm planning to eat my cat; in fact it's much more likely I am going to be the rotting carcass it feeds on.

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