Everyone in my house wakes up hungry.
The little cat is the first to stir, almost immediately followed by the big cat. The clock in their stomachs eerily consistent, they always wake me up between 6:08 and 6:13.
As the little cat head butts me and the big one works my feet, the baby begins to quake. She begins with a trilling sound and moves to a back-of-the-throat noise that sounds like wow.
The baby’s aria continues as I get up and feed the cats. By the time I set the food down, my wife has risen and seated herself on the couch. I can’t go get the baby until mom is in position, her milk cannons ready to fire (her turn of phrase). The wife gets coffee and a bowl of granola while she feeds the baby.
This is my morning routine now, a deviation from when I was a single man and waking up meant cigarettes, coffee, and a book. I prefer this new regime. Being responsible for feeding other people (and cats), means I take better care of myself. So where once Wednesday morning was a Camel Blue and Philip Roth, it is now a bowl of oatmeal and yogic stretching.
A man could be forgiven for romanticizing the days when his was the only mouth that needed feeding, but I try not to do that. These days, I feel nothing but gratitude for even having the ability to feed a family of three people and two cats. I read that one and seven people in America report not having enough food from day to day; in places further afield, like New Delhi, the situation is graver still.