When Baby Makes Five by Jessica McColl

I'm so excited to introduce to you the second of our new bloggers, artist, teacher, cake maker and mother of fur and fur-less babies, Sydney-based Jessica McColl!

We adopted our two rescue cats in the early days of our marriage, Macy [supermodel tuexedo] and Mr. Bean [silver tabby boof] while living in a trendy harbourside suburb of Sydney. They were referred to as our furrbabies, by us and all who encountered us. Even the landlord treated them with a sense of reverence. They were a little * ahem * spoilt.

A few years, a move to the suburbs and two pink lines later meant we would be bringing a non furry baby into the mix. We were excited, terrified, everything.

People always ask about how the preparations are going; which pram will you choose, which baby carrier, how many nappies, how many tiny outfits and mini baby booties, what will go in the hospital bag, cot or bassinet, have you painted the nursery, when will you finish work  and my personal favourite : Oh God, what will you do with the cats? [commence inward eye roll].

My first preparation, at three months pregnant, when most people didn’t even know there was a tiny fetus on board, was to prepare my furry babies. I slowly began changing the rules of the house. Here are some of the preparations I made:

1. First thing I stopped doing was allowing my two very much lap cats, to jump on laps at will. Sometimes I would let them, sometimes I wouldn’t. I hated it, but it was important for them to understand that there were times they couldn’t be on my lap. Macy took this with good grace. It is simply her nature. Mr. Bean on the other hand took much longer to get the hint. Once rejected from my lap, he began sitting across the back of the couch and draping him self over my shoulder. As you can see, that did not change once Young Miss was born.

2. The room that would become Young Miss’ nursery became off limits during the day for a few weeks. I was concerned about this the most as the cats always slept in there at night – which is why I started making it off limits during the day first. After a few weeks I made it off limits at night too, by this point they were used to the door being shut part of the time and didn’t really care once it was closed full time.

3. We got them a rather tall cat tree. I wanted them to have a high place to retreat to should they need it. Again this is an environmental change, all these changes should happen gradually and spaced well apart.

4. I tried playing them the baby noises. They cared about as much as you would imagine. I am not sure why that always gets suggested by the baby books etc. Even boofy Mr. Bean can tell the difference between the ipad and a newborn.

5. I invited young children over, to which the cats hissed and hid on each occasion. I was a little concerned about this but figured if it was still an issue when Young Miss was born we would work on it then.

6. A few weeks before Young Miss was due I organized my Sister Inlaw to come look after the cats while I was in hospital. We had a set of keys cut and gave them to her, I also showed her where the food was kept an wrote out some feeding instructions which I taped inside the cupboard door. As I suspected, once labour hits, you don’t want to be dropping off keys. It was as simple as sending her a quick text “Please feed and cuddle my cats”.

7.While I was in hospital I got my husband to bring home little outfits and receiving blankets which had Young Miss’ scent on them. He reported back that they were ‘mildly interested.’

8. When we came home from hospital I was very nervous as to how they’d react. I also had been missing them a whole lot and didn’t want them to be upset with me. I got my husband to carry Young Miss inside in her capsule so that I could greet them without them thinking I’d ditched them for someone else for the past five days.

Did they notice the capsule? Of course.

Did they care? Of course not. Their Mistress, formerly M.I.A was returned, she smelt funny and hadn’t given a good pat in an eternity.

They did look like someone had given them an electric shock when she wailed for the first time , and it did take them a few weeks to not run and hide everytime she cried.

Tune in for Part II soon…

In the meantime I would love to hear how you prepared you furry babies for your hopefully not –so-furry baby/s!