Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Fool's with the Cat!

 Perhaps my greatest challenge in teacher is a black tortoiseshell fuzzball that feels her business is to interrupt school on a daily basis! 

Now doesn't Slipper look so innocent in that picture?  She does spend most of her time doing that, now that she is at least a whopping 19 years of age!  But she continues to have her moments where she steals the limelight of the teaching lesson, causing my children, who are easily distracted, to abandon their lessons in a fit of giggles. 

Several years ago when I was trying to do a phonics lesson with the flannel and sandpaper alphabet, I noticed that she was busy playing with it.  Try focusing on phonics when you have a fuzzball in the middle of the lesson.

I don't have pictures of all the things she's done to sabotage school.  But here is little Miss Innocent who climbed into the tower I had made so I could vacuum...

She's looking for an opportunity to attack...

Those were the years in base housing, when the children were little and the cat loved to terrorize them.  Slipper would sit on top of a piece of furniture (to be at eye level with them) then she'd w-a-i-t.  The patience of a cat is something to be admired.  When one of the children would happen by, Slipper would get big and meow at them and stick out her front paw (which had no claws).  The children would scream at the top of their lungs, arms over their heads, and run to me to rescue them from the mountain lion on the furniture.  I'd pick up the ferocious mountain lion and cuddle it and the children would giggle and pet her...and Slipper would find her escape to plan another attack. 

By the time we moved into our present home, the cat had new ways of interrupting us.  We usually do school in the loft and Slipper loved to zoom up the stairs, run into the schoolroom, jump onto the rocking recliner we used to have up here, and then leap off of it onto the railing...then look at us in a state of complete calm.   Another lesson interrupted... 

As the children got older and bigger, Slipper no longer was capable of terrorizing them. She started to run away from them and hide. While hiding, she devised other schemes.

While we sang at the piano, she'd start catterwailing.   

Whenever I use the flannelgraph, with the board propped against the easel, there are always problems.  The board keeps getting knocked and the flannelgraph pictures fall off, sending the children into fits of laughter.  I look behind the board, but all I can see is an innocent cat looking at me.

There are the schizophrenic moments of Slipper's double life.  She runs into the room where we are holding a lesson.  She is all puffed up, scared out of her wits!!! She looks wildly over her shoulder, as if the Big Bad Wolf is chasing her. Then she runs into the kitchen, on top of the counter (bad cat!  I never allow her up there!) on top of the fridge and on top of the cabinet over the fridge.  What?  You don't believe she is capable of such a thing?  I actually had time to get my camera for this one!  I have proof!

By the time I had gotten my camera, she had calmed down and reverted to her normal self, calmly looking down at me as though I was crazy! Of course the lesson had been totally destroyed, as my children were in hysterics.   

Slipper loves to sit in my lap, especially in winter.  When I'm at my desk, trying to help my daughter with her math, Slipper has been known to jump on my lap and bat at my daughter's hand and it ends up being a game. The math lesson is gone; my daughter and the cat are now slapping each other in a fit of giggles.    

Slipper loves story time.  While we are cuddled on the couch and I am reading out loud from a book, she loves to jump up and rub her head on the book and stick her tail in my face.  ahem...

Here is proof from Christmas Eve when my daughter took a turn at reading but got interrupted by the cat.

Well what to do when in the middle of a book and a cat keeps rubbing against it?

Ahhhhh, just what she wanted, attention!

Finally, drastic measures had to be taken, because we weren't getting any reading done. That's when my son took over...

Slipper even manages to interrupt movie night (sometimes movies can be educational, so of course she has to foil that too).  Slipper adores laying on my lap when I have a chenille blanket over it.  Here she is, while we are watching a movie, with my daughter laying along my side.  Of course, you can tell that my daughter is distracted from the movie.

Slipper loves to lay wherever I've been.  Since I'm usually too busy during the day to provide a good lap. Slipper haunts my previous spots.  She has even been known to condescend to lay on my son's lap, as long as he has "the" blanket on his lap and stays still, which is unusual for him. 

 Here he is apparently doing his history reading.  Actually, I had to put a stop to this.  I figured out my son  wasn't getting any reading done.  He spent the entire time talking to the cat, petting her, shifting her to better positions, shifting himself to better positions, propping the book into better positions...like I said, my son has trouble sitting still.

Slipper has very recently discovered my daughter's room.  Here she is,trying to study.

After 19 years, Slipper has developed arthritis, so she no longer zooms. The piano and singing no longer bother her. She has become hard of hearing, so she has a new interruption for us.   She can't always find us (since she can't hear us) and feels alone in her world, so we are constantly interrupted by plaintive high pitched strains of "Meow!  I'm lonely.  Will someone come and get me?"  That has just now happened. My daughter has just rescued Slipper from her aloneness.  Slipper is standing her on lap while my daughter is "doing" her Latin. 

Slipper has also taken to sleeping with my daughter at night.  She used to lay at my feet, but my husband has expelled the noisy creature from our bedroom.  Now she lays on my daughter's bed, sometimes on her back, sometimes on her tummy.  Since Slipper is now deaf, she of course thinks that all of us are deaf.  So in the middle of the night she's been known to walk gently up to my daughter's ear and "MEOW!"

Of course, my daughter's sleepiness has been known to slow down school.  sigh


  1. Aren't cats great? lol The story about kitty swiping at small children and making them cry rings a bell! Mine meows when lonely, too. The second the lights go out, we are serenaded for several minutes!

  2. To encourage our boys to complete their work in a timely manner, we developed an incentive chart, which I'll write more about later this week. I'll ignore the phone while we are homeschooling and sometimes I won't even answer the door. We don't have a cat to interrupt our days, though it sounds like you couldn't live without yours. :)

  3. AcceptanceWithJoyApril 1, 2008 at 1:13 PM

    I love the photos of the cat on the books. Why do they do that? That is really the only time mine comes around.

  4. Slipper sure sounds like a social cat. She definitely wants the attention. I've gotten so sick of the phone ringing, that I just let the answering machine come on for each call. The calls are usually solicitors any how.


  5. Oh, what a sweet story. I love your cat already, and I'm not a cat person. Probably doesn't help with the flow of lessons in your world, but I'm thinking she is wonderfully adorable. :)



  6. That was a fun story to read! We have two dogs that try to interrupt at times, but they aren't as disruptive as Slipper. :-)


  7. They are always a source of entertainment. Our dearly departed Midnight would do the same things when we started homeschooling. Now Willow has taken the torch and continues the tradition. I can relate to your daughter's sleeplessness. Willow sleeps beside my head and purrs in my ears all night. I think we're going to have to make other sleeping arrangements for her. LOL Thanks for sharing these stories.

  8. What a sweet kitty! I can only ooh and aah over other people's cats. Alas, I have HORRIBLE allergies to pretty much every animal on the planet, so no kitties here. :( But I do love them and would love to be able to have one. So your post has allowed me to live vicariously for a bit! lol Thanks for sharing.

    Happy teaching,