Don’t Let Your Kid Name the Cat

This week, COVID finally hit us. We’ve been as cautious as we reasonably could be, but you know, COVID’s like honey badger; it don’t care. We somehow narrowly escaped its thorny grasp for over two years, despite moving, traveling, the kids being in school, Robb going to work, me going to yoga class, etc. We are all fully vaxxed and have been taking weekly PCR tests through the school and even when I’ve been CONVINCED we surely had been exposed, they’ve always come back negative. Not gonna lie, I was feeling a bit cocky. I thought maybe we had super genes or our vegan diet gave us armor.


Apparently our fairy godparent got sick of our shit and quit, though, because now the COVIDS are here. The big kid woke up with a fever, cough, runny nose, and the pukes early this week and when we tested, it came back saying TAG, YOU’RE IT, which I thought was kind of unprofessional of the health department, but fine, whatever. This is not the first time in my life I’ve been a public health menace. I had an intimate relationship with the health department in college, too, when I traveled to Cuba and brought back some really special brand of diarrhea that hadn’t been seen in the U.S. for a few decades.

The kid has gotten better as the week progressed, and is thankfully feeling pretty normal now. Quarantine hasn’t been a ton of fun, obviously, and the rest of us have felt a bit funky, but are so far surviving and testing negative. It’s always rough to have a sick kid, but what’s had me really freaked out is the threat of long-haul COVID. Just last week I wrote an extremely depressing article about long-haul COVID (to be published next week- brace yourself, it’s a super bummer) and I’m very terrified of what this virus can do to us.

Sigh. Anyway, I tell you that story so I can tell you the story of PUSSY KING:

Yesterday, all home, trying not to make each other nertz, we went for a walk around the block- same block, same direction we always go. Now, there’s a cat my kids are obsessed with, who lives in a house on our normal route and is always out in the front yard, waiting for some snuggles. We didn’t know the cat’s name for a long time (it’s Walter) so until recently, the children would make up names for it: Frisky Whiskers, Fluffy Fluffkins, and, after we realized it was a boy cat ….Pussy King. We tried to divert them away from that last one, but it was their favorite, and so, our children would loudly approach the neighbor’s yard calling “HERE PUSSY KING! PUSSY KING, ARE YOU HERE?”

Sigh into infinite. His name is Walter. Please say Walter.

So, yesterday, about halfway around the block, my kid stopped and said, all panicky, “WE WON’T SEE *WALTER* IF WE GO THIS WAY- THIS IS NOT THE RIGHT WAY!!” I paused for a full ten seconds trying to figure out if they were right, since they were so convinced. I had to reorient myself to space and time, before confirming that this is our regular route, and we just needed to keep going to be at *Walter’s* house. It made me wonder how many times a day my kids say things that fuck with my sanity? A lot. Of lot of times, I bet.

So that is the story of how COVID has so far messed my kids and my kids have messed with me, and why my kids can sometimes be heard yelling the p-word across my neighborhood. Thank you for your time.




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