2J Sylvie’s Tribulations

June 24, 2007

Actually Sylvie probably does not consider any of the events described in the following tale as tribulations. Sylvie is my daughter’s small cat. Sylvie is a fierce guard cat. If an intruder entered the little house in the middle sized city while all the regular humans were away, Sylvie would immediately leap into the intruder’s lap and start purring, thereby scaring him away.Sylvie’s life has improved considerably over the last few months. It may hard to imagine how this could be, as Sylvie is loved and pampered many times a day.

However, Sylvie used to have to run away from my daughter’s other cat, Sebastian. Sebastian resented sharing a house and two Mommies with Sylvie. However, Sebastian is now late.

Sylvie, who used to be very svelte, is now rather plump. Probably this change is the result of Sylvie no longer having to quickly leap on to sideboards and tables to escape Sebastian’s angry lunges.

Second, Random Granddaughter now recognizes that Sylvie is another person, not a stuffed animal. Several times a day, she approaches Sylvie, says, “I love you, Sylvie,” and demonstrates her love by petting Sylvie’s fur, gently.

Sometimes she pets Sylvie’s fur the wrong way, but Sylvie takes this attention fairly philosophically. For example, when RG was two years old, she would show her love by pulling Sylvie’s tail or by picking her up in a bear hug.

Sylvie is a smart cat. She recognizes that having her fur petted in the wrong direction is a big improvement over having her tail pulled and being chased by Sebastian. Not many cats would be smart enough to evaluate cost-value benefits in such a sophisticated way, but Sylvie is a very smart cat.

It used to distress Sylvie a great deal when the family went outside. She would look through the screen door and meow piteously. All the other people were having fun outside and she was being excluded. Isn’t she a person, too?

Soon Sylvie was trying to sneak out whenever the door was open for a second. Soon Sylvie was outside once in a while. Everyone was very worried whenever she got outside, so they would rush out and grab her and bring her back in and say, “Bad cat! Don’t go outside! You might get lost.”

Random Granddaughter, not having a little sister or brother to boss around, would say to Sylvie, “Bad cat! Don’t go outside.”

Sylvie would look at RG soulfully and purr.

After a while, my daughter noticed that Sylvie didn’t run away when she did get outside. After a while, my daughter would let Sylvie go outside with the family once in a while. Sylvie would stay inside the white picket fence with the family. She would wander around the yard, eat a bit of grass every so often, and sniff everything that seemed interesting (which was pretty much everything she found outside).

As soon as everyone came inside, they would bring Sylvie inside.

On Tuesday, the first day my wife and I took care of RG, we took her to the playground. When we got back to the house, I watched RG while she played in the yard. Grandma fixed some lunch. Sylvie sat by the white picket fence looking out at the street.

I took RG inside. My wife went to bring Sylvie in. She said, “Where’s Sylvie?”

I said, “She was right by the fence, looking outsi–.”

There was no little black (with a little white) cat by the fence looking out.

My wife started looking around the outside of the house. After a while, she came back in, carrying Sylvie.

“Where was she?” I asked.

“She was over by the truck.” My wife had parked her pickup truck in the driveway by the garage, behind the house. The truck was outside the fence. In the moment we had looked away to attend to our granddaughter, Sylvie had slipped out of the yard, like a little black shadow (with a little white).

On Wednesday, morning, Random Granddaughter said, “Goodbye, Mama.” Random Daughter left for work. A little later, RG said, “Goodbye, Mommy.” Random Daughter’s Out of Law Partner left for work. RG was left alone with Grandma and Grandpa, but she seemed to be dealing with the situation fine.

Until a few minutes later, RG started howling. She ran to Grandma. “Sylvie scratched me!” she sobbed.

“What did you do to Sylvie?” asked Grandma. Sylvie is a very good cat (as cats go). She never scratches RG, despite many provocations.

“Nothing!” RG said indignantly. Unfortunately, RG has started the “I didn’t do it” syndrome, even when she isn’t being accused of doing anything. The day before, Grandma helped RG put together her Curious George puzzle. When they finished, two pieces were missing. Grandma said (with no tone of accusation, just wondering), “I wonder what happened to the two puzzle pieces?”

“I didn’t lose them!” RG said.

In the case of Sylvie, RG may have stepped on her tail or touched a sensitive spot.

Mrs. Random and I have been talking about this developing trait. RG needs to learn that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, sometimes an accident is just an accident, and sometimes a mistake is just a mistake. Maybe there’s a preschool story book on this theme. I haven’t found it so far. Maybe I need to write it.

The scratch wasn’t very bad. Grandma attended to it, and after a while, RG stopped crying. She said, “I’m not going to play with Sylvie any more.”

My car needed some attention. I was going to take it to the car doctor. [I will explain in another episode.]

RG would be alone with Grandma on Wednesday.

The day before, the Mommies asked RG what she wanted to do on her day with Grandma. “I want Grandma to help me make chocolate cupcakes,” said RG.

Grandma looked dubious, but finally agreed. (I’ll explain in another episode.)

I drove off to visit the car doctor, leaving RG alone with Grandma and Sylvie.

[To be continued.]


3 Responses to “2J Sylvie’s Tribulations”

  1. My very dear Mr. Random,

    I realize that I am only one of your many devoted readers, but I flatter myself (doubtless incorrectly) that I am high on your list of other bloggers whom you esteem. Therefore I am going to make the importunate yet truly humble suggestion that you suggest changing your template. Mr. Random, I am a mere thirty-five years old, though admittedly frail and failing, and I find it most trying to read the size and color of the posted text. It interferes with my enjoyment of RG’s antics, and the adventures of the Random family. Today I squinted and peered like a very old person, trying to focus on the thrilling adventures of the small Sylvie cat. My poor miswired head already hurts, sir, and I can’t endure much more suffering.

    Sincerely yours,
    David Rochester

  2. Dear Mr. Random,

    I beg that you will ignore my last comment, as it occurred to me belatedly that I could increase the text size by using the “view” feature on my screen. Surely it is worthwhile to switch my view size back and forth, so that I may properly enjoy your delectations. I will however leave my original comment, so that you can shake your head and wonder at my stupidity.

  3. modestypress Says:


    Comments 1 & 2:

    The few things I know mostly come from doing dumb things and then saying to myself, “That was a dumb thing. Maybe I shouldn’t do it again.”

    I’m going to suggest to my granddaughter that she not wait until she’s 63 before she starts 1) admitting mistakes and 2) learning from them. Probably she won’t listen.

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