Category Archives: Kids

Zone Defense: Days 1 and 2

Yesterday DH left for India for ten days.

An hour before he left, I held Pebbles on my lap while she received four immunizations, two in each thigh.  I will forever hear her screaming “don’t let them do it to me, Mama!”

Six hours before DH left, Dub had his first seizure. He just crouched like the Sphinx, unblinking, drooling, helpless on the office floor.

Twelve hours before DH left, I was on the phone with the on-call pediatrician begging him to call in a prescription for Bam-Bam, who has pink eye. In both eyes.

Twenty-four hours before DH left, I was certain I could handle everything just fine!

Now I’m waiting for the vet to call us back with the results of $300 worth of blood work. (Since the seizure he has played two extended games of fetch and gone for two walks.) I’m administering Bam-Bam the pink-eye medication in four doses daily for five days. Pebbles is proudly explaining to everyone she encounters that her body is now fighting off the diseases the ladies shot “into her bones.”  That is to say, everything seemed to be settling out, until I came home from work this evening and learned that Dub vomited and had diarrhea all over the house.

Under the piano.

Again in the corner.

In the mudroom, dripping down into the air vent.

In the family room.

All over his dog bed.

And our blessed nanny cleaned all of this up, only to vomit HERSELF mid-way through the cleaning job.

I hope the dog doesn’t die. I hope the nanny doesn’t quit. I hear New Delhi is lovely this time of year.

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Filed under Kids, Travel

All Joy and No Fun?

I am not crazy.

I read an article in New York Magazine today and it’s in there. Somewhere in the article is what I’ve been trying to explain to people about this decision to get two Brittanys while working, raising two kids, and trying to keep my marriage from going into the great, gray Netherland of ambivalence. 

“It’s so hot,” I said to DH tonight, ripping into a bottle of white wine. “This weather is just… completely unreasonable. It really is, don’t you think? Unreasonable?”

DH nodded.

“I can smell myself,” I muttered. “I’m sick of smelling myself.” I sniffed. I groaned.

“Me too,” he said.

“You’re sick of smelling yourself, or sick of smelling me?”

He nodded again.

And before we could laugh or even make eye contact, Bam Bam and Pebbles started fighting and pushing over whose crown was whose in their new silly band collection.

The New York Magazine article confirms all of this. Parenthood is a grind. We do have moments of mind-blowing joy with the girls and these, to be fair, are not so few and far between. But it’s also hard work of the constant and mind-numbing variety.  In the middle of an important meeting, my shoulders can knot instantly over a maternal brain fart: you still didn’t submit the medical forms for kindergarten registration, or send the evite for Bam-Bam’s pool party!  And any attempts DH and I make to escape from daily life — when we try to fool ourselves into thinking we’re as fun, interesting, or driven as we once were — are folly. The plain truth is, we are on a domestic death march for the next 16 years.

Then there are Sadie and Dub. They inspire within me great joy and comfort that whispers to hell with it … in perfectly reasonable, daily doses.  I mean, I might as well march along (toward death? toward paying college tuition?)  in step with those things that offer random moments of disassociated delight, right? And peace.  Like yesterday evening, when I walked my two lively, panting, grinning dogs through the woods. I’m still filling an obligation to another creature! It’s productive! It’s even exercise! I watched them nose each other, take turns in the lead, reassure our little pack through body language that we were doing the right thing; that is, we were all having fun.

Because with 30-60 minutes of free time a day, my brain can’t even begin to focus on an intellectual activity. I have no chance of being interesting. Am I gonna knit?  Read 12 pages of a worthy novel or take half a yoga class?

Fuck it. I just want to have fun during the precious moments that belong solely to me.

Read it: All Joy and No Fun.  You’re welcome to come play with the dogs anytime.

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Filed under Kids, Marriage

Dogs and Family, Home Alone

Life’s timing isn’t always convenient for those who like to keep it neat and tidy. I personally don’t care so much about neat and tidy, but am indulging in this self-conscious preamble because I know some people would consider my activities of the last week to be poorly planned at best, irresponsible at worst. (Ok, fine; some people is pretty much just my mom.)

To the point, the point, the point. Right. The point is that we decided to get the dogs last weekend lest risk them going to another family. Within 48 hours, I was on a business trip, leaving DH, Pebbles and Bam-Bam to fend for themselves with our new jumping, licking, wagging, barking, 100-pound-combined-weight bundle of joy.

DH knew what to do. He got one of these:

Handy Dandy Leash Coupler

And these:

Four-Foot Leash (more on this topic later)

 

And lots of these:

Nothing says "I love dogs" more than a pocket full of liver snacks

All while I was here, working very hard:

Crate Lake, The Maroon Bells, Colorado

He kept them all alive! I enjoyed three, count ‘em, nights of gloriously uninterrupted sleep, and got some work done. And, um, hiked to Crater Lake.

Seriously, though. Three cheers for DH.  His survival is an accomplishment worth noting. Please do so now, in honor of mostly-modern, contributing husbands and fathers everywhere.

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Filed under Adopting Dogs, Dog Training, Kids, Travel

Roanoke or Bust

On Saturday morning DH and I packed the kids into the minivan, loaded it with snacks and DVDs and cameras and coffee, and headed south.

Not far now...

 Our prospective dogs’ current owners agreed to meet us halfway between Northern Virginia and Knoxville, their current home. Consider four hours of this from the back of the car: 

(In the car, they speak as one. Frankly, it doesn’t matter which one): Mama. Mama. Mamamamamamama? Mommy? I need a snack.

DH: Give your mother a minute. She’s…doing something on her computer.  Hey, do you have wireless on that?

Me: Yes. (I turn on the radio.)

Back: I wanna watch a show. Can we have a show? Dora? No, Diego. Can we have Dora?

Me: (typing) May we have Dora.  Please.  And yes you may, in a minute.

DH: Can you google where we are? I want to see what exit is next.”

Me: (still typing) We stay on 81 for like 300 miles. We don’t have to get off anytime soon. Who needs a snack?

Back: ME! Me! Meeeeeee!

DH: I like to know where we are, though. (turns off the radio)

Me: Hey, I was listening to that!

DH: I thought you were getting them a snack.

Back: Snacky! Snacky snacky snacky snack! Can we have chips? Can we have a show now?

DH: May we. Please. (To me:) What are you doing?

Me: Working on my blog.

DH: Can you please get them a snack?

Me:  I said I would. (I close the laptop and pull out some raisins and cashews.)

Back: But I wanted goldfish! I no yike cashews!

DH: What are we doing?

Me: (sigh) Injecting two strange dogs into the equation so that this moment, by comparison in retrospect, makes us nostalgic for simpler, saner times when we were really “in control?”

DH: Yup.

We know this feeling.  Or, at least, in keeping with the spirit of blogging truthiness, I certainly recognized it. Same feeling I had we got engaged (following the yin/yang vice soul-mate relationship model); when we bought puppy Samson and brought him to our DC condo without so much preparation as a pre-purchasing a leash; when we moved to NYC; when we moved back; when we drove home from the hospital with the screaming, colicky Pebbles; when we bought a broken down farmhouse in a historic district to renovate.

And I knew, with these dogs, what we could be getting into.

And DH did too, in this nauseating little life moment. I could see his satisfied, mid-west-modest grin out of the corner of my eye.

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Filed under Adopting Dogs, Brittanys, Kids

What to expect?

  1. This blog is about the dogs in my life. And maybe motherhood. Wifely duties. A deep affinity for the amber liquors that bolster my ability to endure all three. But mostly about the dogs.  Dogs I once owned, and the dogs to come. 
  2. You’re welcome to share stories about your dogs. Same for the motherhood and wifely duties crap.
  3. Blog Rating: PG-13. May contain adult situations.
  4. I will, however, refrain from unnecessarily foul language.
  5. In keeping with the greatest animal writers, and out of respect for animals, I will work hard to avoid anthropomorphizing dogs and for that matter, all of God’s creatures.
  6. Count on regular references to literary dogs. (And by this I mean, for example, Tulip. Not Philip Roth.)
  7. I’m not a religious freak; that “God’s creatures” business was just me unable to think of another word for animals.
  8. Chipmunks may talk from time to time. Because chipmunks, and I think history proves this, deserve it. Maddening little motherfuckers.
  9. I will continue posting for 6 months and then reevaluate. That gives me until… hang on…counting ahead from the day I launched….December 21st.  The winter solstice.  My goal has a name! Now it’s definitely my end date.  I believe this to be a sure-fire sign of a book deal.
  10. Recall point #1; this is not about a getting book deal, it’s about my dogs.
  11. Wow. The winter solstice!  Shortest day of the year. Interestingly, this is also my parents’ wedding anniversary.
  12. My father died 12 years ago. My mother has been happily remarried for years.  Her new anniversary is in May.
  13. I will not end any blog lists on the number 13.  Who gets selected to adopt a beautiful Brittany, much less lands a book deal, by not attending to superstitions? I don’t stop on sidewalk cracks either; please reference #12 for substantiating proof point.
  14. I will post a few times a week. That is the all I can offer you.
  15. I should be clear; I don’t actually HAVE a dog at the moment. I’m between animals.
  16. And finally, I will stop before the cutesy, devicey stuff gets to be too much
  17. Or shortly thereafter.

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Filed under Adopting Dogs, Brittanys, Kids, literature, Marriage