By Brianna Walker
Nine fat little puppies wriggled around on the dog bed, while our golden retriever looked on with a sense of accomplishment. My kids were delighted, we have never had a litter of puppies born on the farm. Now suddenly there were mine!
“We are not naming them!” I reiterated for the umpteenth time, as my youngest started cooing over “Blondie.”
“We are not naming them, because we are not keeping them!” I said again—partly to remind myself. Because the adorable little newborn sausages were too cute for their own good.
“Are they boys are girls?” my mom asked, picking one up.
“I don't know,” I shrugged, “I haven't even looked yet.”
“You always need to look,” my mom said picking up the last one born. “This is definitely a little boy,” she announced.
Then she picked up another “This is definitely a little girl.”
She set the second one down and picked up a third. “This is definitely a....hmmm....” she said furrowing her brown in consideration. She picked up the first one again and set it down to the left, then picked up the second and set it on the right. She lifted the third one again and paused for a long time. She finally set it back down, and announced with certainty: “You definitely have both boys and girls!”
Eight months later, the shop cat had a kitten. Yes—singular. She had the kitten on the top of the scaffolding. After climbing a ladder to check that both mom and baby were okay, I left them alone. I never even got close enough to see more than the nursing head of the kitten. A few days later, my mom arrived, and my kids—delighted at having a kitten, were telling her all about it.
“Is it a boy or a girl?” she asked.
“I don't know, I haven't looked yet.”
She sighed in heavy disappointment with me. How could she have had a daughter who never thinks to check on the important matters of life? I found her a ladder and she scurried up to the top of the scaffolding. Once there she stepped onto the shelf and climbed over boxes and other items to get to the cat's hiding spot. “Oh look at the orange fuzz ball,” she exclaimed, picking it up and turning it over. There was a long silence as she turned the kitten this way and that.
“Well?” I asked from below. “What is it?”
“It's definitely either a boy or a girl!” she declared positively.
Now to clarify, my mom rarely has trouble distinguishing between the genders on animals. Which made two uncertainties in a row, surprising and hilarious. So as such things sometimes happen, we have a new phrase in our household, “that is definitely (insert something indefinite.)
“Who left their shirt on the porch?”
“It was definitely somebody.”
“What is this sticky stuff on the floor?”
“It is definitely something sticky.”
Which nearly always elicits groans from the person asking—which is usually me. But other times...
Like when my husband discovers the dog has eaten all of the fingers out of his new pair of leather work gloves. “Who's idea was it to keep one of those nine wriggling puppies that we agreed we weren't keeping?”
I can imitate the overly-dramatic innocence of my mom when I reply“It was definitely somebody's idea!”