Maternity Ward, Version 2.0: Now, With More Nanites: The day began with some sort of dust-up in the maternity ward, resulting in the executive decision to break out a 10-gallon tank for Lela's Home Birthing Experience, and the whole kit and caboodle has been moved to the living room. I will probably sleep better without the squeaking, but I am the only one happy with the transfer. Jadzia dealt with yet more upheaval and loneliness in her living situation by flipping out, running around like a demon, and then hiding in my purse for a few hours. "Don't worry, it'll be a bonding experience!" I say. "We'll hang out!" She shakes her tail at me all, if you really loved me, you would let me eat your chapstick.
Handfuls of Rats! Ezri's litter at one day old. Ezri is in the background, mid-romp around the room. She spent as much time as we'd let her today playing outside the cage and seems to find this whole motherhood thing to be a bit of a drag, but she has learned to count to twelve and searches out any missing babies quickly. Yay! No more losing them under napkins!
Zomg, It Has Proto-Genetalia! Then came the exciting adventure of
But they would match the pink layette set so well... And 4 boys!
Lela Gives Birth, OMG! Sick of us telling her, "Have your babies already!" Lela has her babies already. She had a much harder time of it than Ezri did and fell asleep on top of her litter for a few hours afterwards (when Ezri was immediately up and running around and wanting to play with Jadzia). This made it much more challenging for us to count heads, but since she was sitting on all of them, it made it a lot less likely that the babies would wander off and get lost in paper towel. (Oh, and easier for them to nurse, too.)
And When I Say "Devoted Father" I Mean "Mildly Interested Bystander." Rat baby daddies Porthos (the gray one on the right) and Spot (the white one having an oddly camera-shy day) look on, more curious about who is sharing my rice milk and other snack food goodness than about who is giving birth to their young. It is unclear who has fathered which litter, so I will dance around the topic of parentage with skills learned from watching the 8th season of The X-Files until their fur comes in. At that time, we will be able to tell by their coloring and whether or not they can fling pieces of metal across the room with their minds.
All The Beastie Boys Really Want Is Girls: Lela's litter has four girls! I think. There will be a recount tomorrow, and since it's rather hard to tell at day 0, there's a chance someone will end up being named Rodnina after all.
I Have Nothing Clever Left To Say About Boys... But there are seven of them!
Allow me to do a little math for you:
Ezri's litter has eight girls and four boys for a total of twelve.
Lela's litter has four girls and seven boys for a total of eleven.
Twelve Ezri babies, eleven Lela babies, two mama rats, two daddy rats, and
At this juncture, the mama rats are more than happy to leave baby!rats in our care so they can run back to my bedroom and torment poor Jadzia with tales of how they simply don't understand their carefree single friends anymore.
Look, baby rats come with a convenient carrying handle!
"No," says Ezri, and grabs one of the babies out of Gira's hands, carrying it around by the head for a bit to show us silly humans how it's supposed to be done. If the squeaking is any indication, the babies prefer it our way.
We quickly run out of Fun And Amusing Things To Do With Babies That Have No Eyes Yet, so we start arranging them to spell words. Lela's litter is remarkably mobile as a whole -- much more so than Ezri's (they seem to take after their mothers already, God help me) -- and it took about three takes to get them to spell a simple word like Hi without rolling themselves off the paper towel. I find the effect rather creepy, but how will our babies ever get into Brown if we don't start quizzing them on basic spelling right out of the womb!?
There are twelve babies in Ezri's litter. Which famous group of twelve hypothetically deserves namesakes?
And for Lela's group of 11?
Rat Baby Diaries?