Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Common Sense and the Ferber Method


After writing about the ridiculousness of my morning routine the other day, a routine which reached a peak of ridiculousness that resulted in my coffee spilling into my Alma bag, I decided to do something about the situation.

So as of this morning, I now have a small shopping bag into which I can throw my shoes, the tupperware I use to feed the goats their Chow, files, folders and anything else that would result in a bulky and awkward to carry handbag. What this means is a handbag that dangles easily on my wrist and a shopping bag which also dangles easily from my wrist. Things dangling comfortably from my wrist means I have use of my hands and a much better range of motion for my arms.

Simple common sense. I just wonder why it took so long.

p.s. For those who are wondering about the shoes, I am not Melanie Griffith in Working Girl. I don't like to drive in heels so I actually drive in a pair of JP Tods driving shoes (what else would I use them for?) and carry my heels with me.


***

I wonder if the Ferber Method works on cats. Not that I know a lot about the Ferber Method -- only what friends have told me about that painful first night listening to your child wail for over an hour. So it was tonight that I found myself in a similar situation.

It rained all day here. It was raining when I left this morning at 6:55 a.m and it was raining when I got home at 7:00 p.m. I didn't even see the goats but when I pulled in tonight I was greeted in the garage by Tony who seemed happy to have human contact.

He rubbed against my legs and darted in and out of my feet while I fed him. I scatched his ears and rubbed his belly for a few minutes, but it was late and wet and cold and I wanted to get in the house. Tony followed me from the garage to the house and before I could shut the door, he had followed me into the studio.

I picked him up, gave him a little more lovin' and then plunked him back outside.

I felt bad - it was raining after all. But for a number of reasons we just aren't ready for Tony in the house. The biggest reason is that he hasn't yet gotten a clean bill of health from the vet and I don't want him to pass anything on to Sebastian. But he's also got sharp claws and a proclivity for jumping on furniture.

Besides - Tony has got full shelter in the garage, blankets to keep him warm and a steady supply of food. If he was a real stray I'd have worried. But I knew Tony had some place warm and safe to go to and so that helped ease some of my guilt.

Still, as I busied myself in the kitchen emptying the dishwasher and preparing dinner, I was bombarded with a pitiful chorus of meows. Tony had moved from the studio door to the kitchen door and was begging to be let in.

"Go back to the garage," I mentally commanded. "It's warm. You'll be dry." Apparently my mental commanding skills are lacking. Tony kept meowing. Once or twice he scratched at the door.

For some reason I started thinking of the Ferber Method.

I wondered how long Tony would keep at it and more importantly, how long until I cracked. I kept peering through the window hoping to see him scampering through the grass to his shelter. But he was firmly planted on the doorstep, waiting to be let in, and reminding me constantly with a steady chorus of wails.

My heart ached. I wanted nothing more than to let him in the warm, dry house and scratch his ears. I wanted to trust that he was healthy and flea free and trust that he wouldn't claw the sofa. I truly did. And several times I nearly caved. But I kept returning to the Ferber Method. I wasn't sure if the Ferber Method actually applies to attention-hungry kittens (versus sleep deprived babies), but I knew if I appeased Tony's cries, he'd always expect appeasement. And I knew I couldn't let that happen.

So I forced myself to detach, exercised a little tough love and maybe have become a better pet parent in the process. Who knows - I might even be ready for some cows.

And if that ain't country, U'll kiss your...

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