Parenting

The "tail" end of 2012 brings a new outlook for 2013

After welcoming a new kitten into the family, Sonia is starting to see things from a fresh perspective.

1Kitten under tree

Buster, the newest addition to the Mendes family.

When it comes to finding a fresh perspective, nothing quite matches a new, little bundle of joy. Our family was lucky enough to receive one this Christmas.

Before you are tempted to jump to any conclusions, I should clarify that, no, my husband, Ian, and I didn’t change our minds and decide to have that third child. Our ‘new addition’ is actually an adorable, orange-and-white kitten named Buster.

Just after 7 a.m. on Christmas Day, the doorbell rang and our two young daughters got a gift they will not soon forget. The stork — in the form of volunteers with the Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) — delivered Buster to his new home. This was arranged through the OHS’s ingenious Christmas delivery program, which allows parents to pre-select a pet and keep it a surprise until December 25th. This saved me from trying to gift-wrap a three-month-old kitten, which in itself was well worth the $40 delivery charge.

After all of the time and energy Ian invested over the past year in trying to talk the kids out of having a pet, the kitten was definitely unexpected — and was a block-‘Buster’ hit. It also seems that our parental fears about Santa’s Furby delivery were a waste of time; the mechanical strains of the battery-operated toys speaking ‘Furbish’ have definitely taken a backseat to the compelling mew of a live animal.

While I always knew the girls would just love having a cat of their own, what I didn’t anticipate was the fresh spin that a kitten has put on our household. Watching a baby animal discover its surroundings is not unlike observing your own child’s development. There has been a lot of spontaneous laughter as we’ve watched Buster’s sometimes awkward movements, or his frantic attempts to capture his own tail. And, just like a human toddler, every tiny crumb or piece of lint has the potential to be a kitten’s plaything and must be carefully examined (which is providing inspiration for me to step up my housekeeping!).

Seeing things from a new perspective is something that I’ve always strived to do at the start of a new year. Since becoming a parent, however, New Year’s resolutions haven taken on an entirely different dimension. My desire for positive change is no longer solely self-motivated; I also want to be the best that I can be for my family.

What do you want to change about the way you parent in 2013? Do you want to cut back on the junk food and improve your family’s nutrition by discovering some tasty, healthy new recipes? Or maybe the fresh page on the calendar will mean turning off the TV in favour of real adventures — such as exploring the outdoors on skates or snowshoes.

For me, it’s all of the above — as well as simply having just a little more patience for my kids, for my frequently-travelling spouse and even for our curious, sometimes trouble-making, new pet.