Q. No boil, toil, or trouble here: I have two wonderful cats that I dearly love. I acquired one during a time I was depressed a few years back and one just last year. They were both wandering the streets, taken to a vet, nursed back to health, and now live happy healthy lives with my roommate and me. We have a great bond. They wait for me at the door. They come nuzzle me when I am sad. They even sprint around the house when I am angry! The issue is my mother. She has seen this behavior and now thinks they are evil and wonders if I might be a practicing witch. Why? Because they are black cats (though this is pure coincidence). When my mother was visiting, the oldest opened her unlocked door, put a paw between the blinds to peek, and began to do that clicking sound when he saw a bird. She thought he was possessed! How can I express to my mother that they are simple loving and smart felines?
A: I wish that having a cat sleep on my head like a purring beret for many years made me a witch because there are so many spells I would have liked to have cast. It's a good thing you and your mother are not living in colonial Salem, or else you'd already be burned at the stake. If you mother believes in witches and Satanic possession she may have more problems than her concern about your cats. However, just tell her, "Mom, you're being silly. My cats just happen to be geniuses."
Q. Mentioning adoption: The “harping on it” language put me off a little. As a mom via adoption— what constitutes harping on it? My 9-year-old daughter easily admits to being adopted to friends/strangers, considering it a cool thing about herself. She hasn't yet expressed any interest in her bio origins, but when we for instance see something on TV about adoption (even the cartoon Miss Spider is an adoption story) we ask if she has questions, etc. I'd say it comes up easily a couple times a week. But now you have me wondering if that's too much.
A: Please don't let a remark from me make you question what obviously is excellent parenting! It also sounds as if this is a topic your daughter generates conversation about— all for the good. I'm talking about situations in which parents bring up adoption almost reflexively, even if it doesn't seem relevant at the moment. But, please, I'm just throwing it out there, not making a pronouncement.
Q. re: photography: He/she did say that the photos would not be posted online without her permission.
A: I took that to mean they were going to be posted, but he'd check with her about the photos first, which isn't really doable over the long term for someone who's "the photographer." I think she should be warned first, then it's her job to stay out of the picture.
Emily Yoffe: Thanks, everyone. That's the end of the pronouncements from me! Talk to you next week.