I've been pretty open about the members of Karenpie's family. You've met the husband and the young 'uns. You've met the cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles. But there's a family member that hasn't received much press . . .
The boys named Toby after a character in the "Thomas the Tank Engine" series. Toby the Tram Engine. Admit it - you needed some Thomas the Tank Engine indoctrination today.
Toby wandered into our yard one summer evening about 5 years ago. He meandered through our lilac hedge and didn't even pause as my kids plus three other kids swooped down and scooped him up. He hung there in their arms as they passed him around and petted him. And when I realized how good-natured he was - putting up with those 6 kids and their smothering - I knew we'd keep him.
Never regretted it, either.
He gets regular loves and swaddling from Katie,
and when the kids are sick or upset, he stays with them.
He waits patiently until someone sits down on the couch - he can hear the recliner swing into place - then he jumps into that person's lap and will sleep there indefinitely. When he can't take advantage of a lap, he makes do.
"Duuuuuuuude. If I was any more relaxed I'd be dead, man."
This seems to be his favorite position. He'll lay like this, on his back with legs spread out, in the middle of the kitchen on the hardwood floor. I'll be in there making supper and stepping over him every time I move.
He isn't bothered by stroller rides and I can't even begin to tell you how funny this was. Katie strapped him in and rolled him around the house. Then she parked the stroller and forgot about him. But did he try to escape? Oh no. He stayed there for about a half hour. Just sitting there with the hot pink seat belt strapping him in.
He will get twitchy when Katie puts doll clothes on him but that's probably because he's too fat and they don't fit.
Sometimes when he's done cleaning himself, he forgets to put his tongue back in his mouth. We try to explain to him that he looks like a total dork, that someday he'll get beat up in the lunchroom for this behavior, but he doesn't care. It takes too much energy to care.
He doesn't seem to be afraid of anything. Not dogs. Not vacuum cleaners. He takes it all in stride.
He's one laid back kitty. Which is why, for the last five days, his behavior has been so baffling, and it all started with this guy . . . .
. . . Beamer the iguana.
Beamer lives in this big cage in Matthew's 4th-grade classroom. We're babysitting him over spring break and brought him home last Friday afternoon, completely unaware of the havoc he would wreak in our kitty's happy life.
Beamer came home, we put the cage in our hardly-ever-used living room and Toby very carefully tried to examine it. Unfortunately, Beamer didn't agree to the examination and let out a hiss along with a snap of his long tail. He was inside the cage, Toby was outside the cage then Toby was a foot off the ground, tail bristling and running for his life.
He's been freaked out ever since.
Duane was sitting on the couch, eating a banana the other night and Toby was scared of the banana peel. He won't sit in our laps anymore when we're relaxing and watching TV - he's too busy slinking around, listening to Beamer moving in his cage. If Toby gets too close to the cage, Beamer throws himself around, whipping his tail and climbing, making a huge racket.
Occasionally we let Beamer out to stretch his legs. He likes to hang out in the open, crawling up backs -
and sitting on heads. But we have to shut Toby up when we do. Can't imagine the craziness that would ensue if Beamer caught wind of Toby when he was out of his cage.
Beamer will go back to school on Monday. Following that - and with therapy and medication - Toby will resume his carefree life, living primarily on our laps, being unafraid of banana peels.
We can only hope.