The Portugal Years – Year 6 Tudo o que é pequeno tem graça.

The Portuguese have a saying:”Tudo o que é pequeno tem graça.” Loosely translated, it means that all things that are small are cute. Along with all the fun that we had with the campers, the bakery that made our Mafra bread had a six-week old litter of kittens. Our Samantha cat when we were first married did not survive our first furlough. The bakers offered us one of the kittens. I argued that it was too young, but they said something like, “Now or never.”

We named her Fofinha (Fluffy) and she came to live with us. We soon discovered that she was ill named. Oh, her fur was soft and fluffy, but she was a wild child. Or kitten if you prefer. I had to feed her with canned milk from a medicine dropper. I had to learn to keep her clean as her mother did (I didn’t wash her with my tongue, though, I used a wash cloth.) Eventually, I gave her the pureed soup that I fed to Susie. While Fofinha was still small, I made a sling for her so I could hold her and keep her warm.

Fofinha grew and thrived. Eventually, she decided that squatting over the bathtub drain was more sanitary than the litter box. She employed the litter box for the solid waste.

Susie was also thriving. I had patterned my feeding “schedule” from the information I had received from La Leche. They encouraged mothers to “feed on demand.” So, when Susie whimpered at night, I picked her up and nursed her. I figured that she would get over it eventually.

One night, Susie cried in the night and was inconsolable. I got up and checked her over, and I found a lump on the side of her neck. The only sleep I got that night was when I held her close to me. In the morning we called the pediatrician. The doctor said to bring her right in to the hospital.

Susie had an abscess. The doctor said she was going to lance it. I immediately took Bethy with me into an examining room some distance away from where I closed the door and started to tell her stories. It wasn’t enough to keep the outraged screams. We went home with an antibiotic, and Susie recovered soon (except for the scar that she still has). Except mine. No one had told me that mothers feel the pain that their children suffer.

Susie and Fofinha post surgery.
Susie and Fofinha post surgery.

31 thoughts on “The Portugal Years – Year 6 Tudo o que é pequeno tem graça.

  1. Beautiful kitten! The baby’s not bad either! 😉 When I worked in a doctor’s surgery, and the babies were in for their injections, the mothers were just as likely to cry as the babies – maybe more! Lollipops all round…

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  2. I totally enjoyed your post, Susan. Yes, Mother’s Hearts do feel pain from their babies. Bless you for another stroll down “normal road” which brought solace to my Heart. Thank you. Love, Amy


  3. Aww, what a sweet story Perhaps if you had licked Susie like a mother cat…. No, never mind, that would be gross. 😉 You’re a sweet Mama and a sweet Cat Mama, too! Did they find out how the abscess got there? Yes, that’s always scary when your baby undergoes a procedure. While you want to be right there and comfort them, you also want to be a million miles away and not know how much they are hurting.


  4. Very sweet entry. Love the saying and the kitten. As for Susie, any medical procedure is worrisome! I would have been a basket case. It’s hard to hear them hurting.

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