Upon re-reading (and, ahem, editing) this post from June 11th, the unlit light bulb that usually floats above my head sparked. The result is the following post about how the cats have adjusted to our new life.
Here was my prediction at the time...
"We know that Beardslee is quite mellow, and has dealt quite well with his brothers coming home in the past, AND simply naps when my sister's little one is around, so hopefully his transition will be smooth. We predict that Jasper will (eventually, at least) be the little one's "buddy"...especially since he has slept next to the belly almost every night lately. But, he's a bit spazzy, so that may take time. Eventually, he's sure to be a toddler's best friend, though.
Winston, however, is the wild card. He's currently "the baby." A very sensitive little guy who has a wicked mean streak (Jasper and occasionally Beardslee get their butts KICKED every morning, usually starting around 3 or 4 am; which I've learned must be handled with patience rather than screaming and a squirt gun...parenting tip #1) and is a downright bully at times...but when the others aren't around, or he gets "in the proper mood," he's the cuddliest, sweetest little guy in the house. He'll simply have to adapt, but I'm hoping I'll be pleasantly surprised by the little guy. (Although he does think that several of the baby's toys are his, already...along with other spots in the nursery, LOL.)"
I was pretty much dead right as far as how the lil' guys have adjusted. But, let's start at the beginning.
Being away from my "first children" was harder than I thought. It's been hard in the past even to sleep over at my sister's for Black Friday, away from Dave and the furries. But, this time they knew something was up when I left, and my emotions were on high from the hormones and disappointment of the scheduled C-section, so it hit me even harder to leave them for several days.
After several days of taking care of a newborn and adjusting to breastfeeding/the incision/lack of sleep, it was surreal just stepping foot back into our house. Instantly, all three boys (even the skinny-minnie Winston) seemed big. Not fat, but BIG. Big paws. Thick legs. Big bodies. Saucer eyes. Everything.
They also seemed to be on high alert. It appeared that they were pleased to have me back home, but the fact that I brought with me a living, moving creature (that smelled like the blanket Daddy had brought home for them to sniff) might have made me enemy #1. I just recall walking in, giving high-pitched squeals of love to my boys, observing their very careful steps, setting down Hadley (uber quiet in his carrier), plopping down into my chair, thinking, "now what?!" and bursting into tears of exhaustion and joy.
The guys didn't appear "normal" to me for awhile after that. No one hid or howled in sadness or anger, which was my #2 fear; my #1 fear was that they'd hurt Hadley (and none of our boys are declawed). This didn't happen, either. There was just a slight air of skidishness throughout the house, but that could've been from new parenthood as much as from nervous cats.
As time quickly passed, we learned that none of the boys is fearless. Jasper, in his own simple-minded way, is the "bravest" (ie most stupid?) and would hunker down on our bed in the middle of even the worst of Hadley's tantrums. He has also been the first (and only, so far as I remember) to rub up against Had's feet or the side of his head. I think it's one of those "Mommy's my best friend, and the baby came from Mommy, so I'm his best friend, too" sort of things. Heck, it's how he took to Dave, too. "If Daddy's her best friend...and I'm her best friend...I should like him!" So, he's a definite buddy. I knew he would be.
Beardslee's the most adjustable cat on earth...well, next to Jasper. He DOES have a rare-but-fierce temper when instigated. Otherwise, do whatchya want. Wanna pick me up out of a bush when I'm too weak to even meow? Thanks, sure. Wanna get me a "friend" who's a huge drama queen? K. Wanna change what I eat and where I poop? I'll follow. Wanna get me ANOTHER "friend" who doesn't know where to scratch or the right way to potty? That's fine. Baby? I got this.
Then there's Wee Wee. "They call me MISTER Winston." He's been our biggest issue, and it's not a huge one. More of a huge annoyance. Let's just say that ever since those binkies (and bottle nipples? Yes, PLEASE, ma'am!) made their first appearance, he was a fan. He is known to prance and run around carrying them in his mouth (nipple first...yep...he thinks he's a baby) and batting them all over the place. So much damn sterilization's going on just from his midnight thefts. Oh, and, yes, if Hadley drops it while he's sleeping, Winston will stretch his paw through the slats of the crib to steal the thing; he'll never take it OUT of his mouth, though, almost to say, "Oh, you're not using that right now? Mind if I do? Thanks." Grr.
But watch them all when Dave's a few minutes late bringing Hadley home. Watch them strategically place themselves around the doorway (Beardslee the closest on the stairs, Winston squatting near the shoes, Jasper finishing the half circle between them), showing body language that can only be seen as a friend missing a friend. Watch their eyes not leave the door until they hear Dad's car pull in (when their heads turn to the sound, then back to the door, eagerly). Watch them sniff his socked toes in his carrier and contentedly hunker down for the night when they know their favorite man and their favorite boy are both home safely. We had an incredible family before; we have a perfect family now.