I'm so sorry that I haven't kept you up to date with kitten progress. I won't make excuses other than that life has been hectic, I've been tired, and the combination has meant that I haven't had much computer time or any inclination to write.
You see, the kittens have all gone through a spate of losing weight, and when that happens, I'm called on to make sure it doesn't continue. It started with Porker. Now that's a huge worry, as he out of them all should have the least trouble feeding, given that he's the biggest and all. Then little Hamster lost on the same night that Porker lost for a second time. Something had to be done, so I got to stay up, just as I was doing before, and latch not only Porker, but Hamster, then make sure nobody fought those two, stop them fighting each other, and still leave room for the Baby to get a feed. It was mighty difficult, I can tell you! Hamster gained a little, and so did Porker, but it wasn't enough really. However, it was a gain, so the next night, I'd planned to only get up three times. However, over the course of that day, the Baby lost weight too, so it meant another pretty much sleepless night and more helping. I had commitments to fulfill during the day, and I was just shattered to put it mildly.
However, it was worth it, as they're all gaining again on their own! This means that i can sleep for three hours at a time now. Oh what luxury that is! I'll usually put them to bed between 10 and 11. The moving triggers them to suckle which means I can sleep in until 2, then again until 5 and then I next get up at 8. That gives me time to latch them on and clean out the day pen for them before the 9 AM get up time when the kittens are weighed. Then it's off to do the night pen while they have a comfort suckle with mum. The routine that these kittens need is astoundingly rigid.
Porker is playing consistently now, and they're all getting better on their feet. They'll now patrol around the kitten box. Well, more accurately, they'll wobble round it, fall over, cry because they've fallen, get bored of crying when it doesn't achieve anything, get up and start the whole thing again. The Baby is cutting her teeth by the feel of things when she gummed my finger to death today. Poor little girl cries a lot whenever I touch her or do anything with her, but she did come towards the front of the box last night and this morning and climb up the side to stand just under my chin. Of course, she was squeaking all the while which brought mum running, but I think it's because she's a moaner rather than because she's afraid of me. I'm almost getting a purr out of someone when I tickle them, but I'm not quite sure who yet, because as soon as I go to check, they stop and I can never be sure if it was them or someone else.
I'm really missing cuddling time with my Tia though. Even though she doesn't want to be in the kittening box, she doesn't want picking up either, and the kits aren't at the stage where they enjoy it yet. Truth be told, it's getting me down. In my darker moments, it feels like I'm doing a lot of back-breaking, exhausting work for no return at all. I know that's ludicrous, as my kittens are thriving, but the stupid part of me asks if it would really be so hard for Tia to snuggle me from time to time, to show her appreciation for me outside of crying at me, waking me up or demanding food. I'm stupid, but there you have it. Well, this is the only time I'll have to go through it, as when the next litter comes along, there'll be other adult cats still around to heal my lonely heart syndrome!
The two little ones should break 300 grams by the time the morning hits. Do you know, that'll make them over 3/4 of a pound, and they're not even three weeks old yet! I'm going to start them on solid food soon too. Watch this space!
PS: Sorry about the lack of pictures, but the friend who's putting them up just hasn't had the time to do it yet. I promise, you'll have them soon!