02 February, 2020

the trials of one's teens

Tinycat will be 13 in February. Since her check-up in June, she's lost almost a pound. That makes her Extra-Tinycat, now, at a mere 6.8 lbs. She's eating (as well as ever, which is to say not enough, but she's also a scarf-and-barfer, so we'd rather less that stays down than more that comes back up). She loves her treats. She's sassy and takes no nonsense from either of the boys. Coat quality is good. Eyes are bright. She's just...shrinking. 

Tinycat has no time for you
Obviously there is something not right, though we have no idea what. We took her in this weekend, because in the last two weeks she'd developed these big red bumps on her chin that seemed to be oozing. At first I thought Kaiju-kitten had popped her in one of their spats, but the proliferating bumps suggested something else. She's had autoimmune problems in the past, and coupled with her weight loss, we expected something dire. 

The vet took one look and said "cat acne" and proceeded to pop them all. She's home with a shaved, scrubbed chin and an antibiotic shot. The cat bowls are all stainless steel, so it's not a plastic allergy. (Well. Maybe. She licks plastic--the laundry basket is not safe--but she's done that her whole life.) The vet didn't seem as concerned about figuring out why kitty-zits as he did in why so skinny, so he drew blood and urine and we await results this week. Last time her bloodwork was done--6 months ago--everything was fine. Maybe that's changed. If not, we may be looking at an ultrasound. Something isn't right in there. Pix was voracious when her thyroid went whack, and she got super gaunt, but Tinycat's not showing the hyperactivity that goes with a hyperthyroid. Could be kidneys, if those numbers have tanked, but they were good 6 months ago. So we don't know. In the meantime, the tiny tyrant has been granted her fondest wish: baby food mixed with her real food. 

But in other teen news... we started playing D&D in the HS this week. We're using the Stranger Things starter-set, so all the characters are premade, magic-using (jhfc WoC. So much fucking magic), 3rd level. Also all good alignments. The kids did some customizing (we have a pet cougar named Tim now), names, genders, sexes, bonds and ideals and flaws, oh my. The idea had been to let them play their characters while taking turns DMing for the group. But attendance in high school is spotty, and I was not at all confident that a designated DM would be in class on their day. Hell, I still have kids who have not chosen a character, much less worked out their spell books. 

So I improvised. 

I grouped them by class and I DMed for them collectively. All the players of a particular class had to agree on an action and a spokesperson, and though there were a couple bumps with the stronger personalities dominating, it went... well. Surprisingly. I did bad accents and funny voices and kept the story moving (it's a pregen adventure that I've test-run before, but it's also pretty skeletally supported). They got to see real-time what happens when a DM has no notes in front of her to cover a player request ("We want to go to the infirmary to interrogate the wounded!" You...okay. Right.)  They cheered when I made the captain of the guard a non-binary human with obvious half-orc heritage named Bryce. The Wizards(tm) rolled at the end of the conversation to kiss this half-orc as a thank you for their help (player made sure to get consent first) and busted out a natural 20. "Bryce is into you," I said, while praying none of the administration came into the room. "With that roll, you can... you know. Whatever."

...which kicked off a flurry of speculation about what Bryce looked like, gods defend poor Bryce. All I said was "Bryce is cut. They're a guard captain and of muscular build." 

I fear for the fanfics I may've inspired.  

Next week: collective combat, while the students absent this week get up to speed on their spells. I have promised everyone they can play their characters individually when the groups write their own adventures to run for other groups, so that DMing duty is spread among all the group members. I look forward to the moment that I can intone, Gauntlet -style, "Cleric is about to die!" even if I'm the only one to get the joke. 

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