A Tale of Kittens


This morning Halen and Grace’s friend Shawn came over. He played for a while and then announced that a baby just came out of his cat, Pebbles.

“She had kittens?” Grace exclaimed.

Seeing this as my big chance to motivate Grace and Halen to get dressed quickly, I suggested that they go see the new babies. Eyes alight, the two of them flew up the stairs to change clothes as Shawn set about studying his shoes near the doorway.

When Grace returned, fully dressed, about 4.2 seconds later, questions were spilling out of her. “When did Pebbles have the kittens, Shawn?”

A bit uncomfortably, Shawn answered, “I think yesterday . . . or maybe last month. I don’t remember.” Grace found that slipping her toes into her flip-flops took a bit of concentration so she didn’t listen to Shawn very hard.

She looked up only briefly when Shawn measured out a twelve-inch width with his hands. “The baby is about this big,” he explained.

“Is it really, really cute?” Grace asked, struggling to maintain her balance as I brushed her tangled hair back into a ponytail.

“Yeah . . . but I’m not sure exactly whether the baby came out of Pebbles, actually. It might have come out of a different cat—I’m not sure.”

“Wait for me!” Halen yelled desperately from the top of the stairs. He leaped down, two steps at a time. “Shawn,” he said breathlessly, “is it a boy kitten or a girl kitten?”

“It’s a boy!”

“Really? How do you know?”

Shawn looked around for answers and seemed momentarily distracted by the disappointment he read in Grace’s eyes. “Actually, it might be a girl cat. I’m not sure. I only found it yesterday. . .” His voice trailed off as the three bustled out the door, and I caught the tail of a conversation change as Shawn wondered aloud whether Halen and Grace would be interested in having some cinnamon toast at his house.