Wednesday, June 27, 2007
So, the little guy wasn't planned but is of course a blessing. Of course we all wanted to know right away what his hair color is, because my sister has red hair. My Mom says it's something like light brown. My sister's water broke Monday night and she labored for something like 16 hours before they decided to do a c-section. The baby's heart rate was dropping so it became somewhat urgent to go ahead and get him out. I talked to my sister yesterday and she seemed to be doing well. I pointed out to her that her career as a bikini model is never going to get off the ground now and she said she had made peace with that.
I'd post a photo of him but my Mom can't find her camera. If I know my mother, it is somewhere in her bag and she will find it next week when she is packing up to leave. I can't believe my baby sister is a mommy! I was almost 12 years old when my youngest sister was born so in some ways I was more like a second mom than a sister. When she was little I used to take her to Chuck E. Cheese and to the KMart cafeteria for french fries. She was only in first grade when I went off to college. In my mind she should still hold my hand when she crosses the street, so my brain is having trouble computing the concept that a) she has sex and b) she had a baby! But, even though I have trouble thinking of my baby sister as a grown-up, she is in fact very capable and I know she's going to be a great mom.
I probably won't be able to see the wee lad until November, when we all go home to DC for Thanksgiving. I'm not holding my breath for any photos. My sister has no internet access which to me is the same as saying "my sister does not breathe oxygen." Does . . . not . . . compute.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
I obtained Frank via an ad in the paper. Some rural folks had a huge litter of identical tabby kittens. My mom came with me to pick one out. I wanted a male, because at that time in my life I didn't have a lot of cash and neuters are cheaper than spays. The kittens were running around everywhere so my mom and I just started catching them at random. I kept the first male we caught, which turned out to be Frank. I recall that they charged me something like $10.00 for him, just to ensure that I wasn't going to do something nefarious with him, I suppose.
Frank was always a social, outgoing kitty. He was such a naughty kitten. Somewhere I have a photo of him standing on his two hind legs, stretched waaaaay up in order to chew on an electrical cord that was plugged into the wall. He was also an alpha cat. At that time my Persian mix, Bobby Shafto was still alive (he later died of diabetes-related complications) and Frank would beat Bobby up about once a year.
Not long after bringing Frank home, I was diagnosed with allergies and asthma. Frank, unfortunately, was a cat who required a lot of interaction. He always wanted to make out. I tried to tell him that making out with him caused my eyes to bleed, but he didn't care. I did my best to give him a little head butt when I walked by (his favorite thing) or give him a scritch-scratch on his spine. In 2000 I got heavily involved in Boxer Rescue and started fostering dogs. Frank was never afraid of the dogs - in fact, he smacked most of them across the nose (my cats have their full set of claws). However, I do think the presence of the dogs caused him extra stress and I have a lot of guilt about that. Sure, you could say that I've saved some dogs, but I never meant to trade my kitty's life for theirs.
Over the past 2-3 years, Frank's health started to decline. He began plucking out his fur and eating it. His belly and legs were usually bald. I gave him tube after tube of Petramalt. He vomited constantly. I had him at the vet regularly and we tried various remedies. He was on Bach's Flower Essences for quite a while, but they didn't help.
Finally, Frank's weight slipped under 5 pounds and he wasn't keeping anything down (in his prime he weighed 11-12 pounds). I decided to let him go. I took him to the clinic by myself. He was his usual sweet self throughout, even while the vet tech was putting a catheter in Frank's foreleg. Frank died quickly, with me holding him in my shaky hands. After Dr. S left, I stayed with Frank's body for a little while, petting his fur-covered bones. I told him that when he comes back to me, I will put his ashes next to Bobby's, even though he never liked Bobby very much.
When people ask me what Frank was dying of, I'm not completely sure. I think he wrecked his digestive system from chewing his hair. At the time of his death he was pooping blood and vomiting everything he ate. Frank was always a high-strung cat and I wonder if his nerves just got the better of him. Cats his age usually sleep most of the day. I never saw Frank sleeping - never. I gave him a safe haven where the dogs couldn't come anywhere near him, but maybe he just couldn't relax. I fed him the best food money can buy, but it didn't help. I can't help but think I could've done more for him.
Now I'm left with just one cat, Ella Fitzkitty. She and Frank were never friends so my guess is that she won't miss him much. Ella was found on a golf course when she was a kitten and has always been as close to feral as a housecat can get. She doesn't want me touching her and hisses at me when I trim her nails. She does love to rub against our legs, though. P always says that Ella's like a stripper - she can touch us but we can't touch her.
As for me, I am wise enough not to bring home another kitten, although I find it difficult to resist the temptation. I was raised with cats. My mom currently has four. If you're ever watching Animal Cops on Animal Planet and you see them raiding a house in suburban Washington DC that is full of cats - it's probably my mom's house. I told her that if she gets one more, she is officially a Crazy Cat Lady. I do love cats and it sucks that I'm so allergic to them. I feel like I've betrayed them by turning into so much of a dog person, too.
Frank, I loved you so much and I hope you know that. You were a good kitty.
Monday, June 25, 2007
On Saturday we went to a local county park to do a little hiking. It was a beautiful day and there were photo ops in abundance. We foolishly brought strollers along and then found out that most of the trails were not strollerable (even for our rugged big-tired strollers). P's main job was to chase A around and keep her from plummeting to her death.
Later, the kids napped and most of the adults (save one kidsitter) went tubing down the river that runs past the cabin. I don't think I had gone tubing since I was a wee lass. It was a fun trip. We went through two sets of rapids and I quickly learned that if your arse sticks too far through the innertube, it will connect with a rock and that's all there is to it.
On Saturday evening my friend and I gave our two-year-olds a bath together. I found two ticks on my kid. She didn't see the one on her thigh but she did notice the one on her foot. She exclaimed "A spider!" as my friend plucked it off and that was the end of it. I didn't feel the need to tell her that the "spider" was plotting to drink her blood, give her tick-borne disesases, etc.
On Sunday we enjoyed a pancake breakfast and then packed up our copious amounts of "stuff" and headed back home. Karl was the only dog who joined us for the weekend. Since he is black and fluffy, I gave him a good brushing when we got home and found one tick as well as various chunks of foliage. Normally I am not one to put chemicals in or on my dogs but I dosed Karl with everything I could find before we left. So I'm hopeful that he is mostly tick-free. Later, I was talking to my mom on the phone and found one behind my ear, which gave me the heebie-jeebies for the rest of the night.
Friday, June 22, 2007
We are going out of town ("up north") for the weekend which means that, as usual, I had a few hundred things to do in order to prepare for that. For whatever reason, my other half doesn't dedicate any mental resources at all to making sure that our our child has food to eat, clothes to wear, etc. Last night I told him that allllllll he had to do was to keep her occupied. That was it. He didn't have to bathe her or take her for a walk or do anything strenuous. He put up the baby gate so as to keep her corraled in the living room.
I busied myself with packing, doing laundry, etc. I didn't hear much noise coming out of the living room so eventually I decided that I'd better check and see what was going on. I found P laying on the couch, sleeping. Eyes shut, mouth open. Meanwhile, our daughter was running around behind the recliner, stabbing at the carpet with the DIRTY FIREPLACE POKER. I called P by his full name and waited for him to wake up. He looked at me, eyes unfocused. "What?"
Finally he figures out what is going on and he heads toward the kid, who gleefully runs away from him and resumes stabbing at stuff with the poker. I ask P if he wants me to get the steak knives out so that she can play with those. Or maybe the 409 and Windex?
This weekend maybe we'll let her swim unattended or play with a wild raccoon or something.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Another plug: my friend Carl is riding his bike to support a local Boys & Girls Club: Carl's donation page
So, I started to do some research. Ideally, I'd like another SUV. Sorry to be so environmentally incorrect but I can't fit three Boxers and a toddler and a stroller into a Toyota Matrix and that's all there is to it. But SUVs are expensive and we are already saddled with the car payment for P's car (a car that I hate with a burning passion that will never die, but I digress). We have lots of other fun bills, too, like an adoption loan (if you think having a kid the old-fashioned way is expensive, try adopting one!)
After digging around on some car sites online I started to think . . . would having a mini-van be the worst thing that ever happened to me? When we were in Texas the car we reserved (a mid-size sedan) was not available so they gave us a mini-van. Our first thought was, "Ugh." I had to admit, though, that not only was it roomy, it had a smooth ride and got decent gas mileage. We traded our coolness for practicality.
But who am I kidding? I'm a 37-year-old Midwestern mom with two dogs, two cats, two fish, and a mortgage. Any modicum of coolness was probably just wishful thinking on my part anyway.
If anyone present would like to object to this blogger purchasing a mini-van, speak now or forever hold your peace. Amen.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
In addition to serving gallons of milk to me and her daddy, she also prepares meals for the dogs. Yesterday I found Karl (our old black dog) sitting on the floor with a pink plate between his paws. On the plate was a pink doughnut and a blue fork (what, you don't eat your doughnuts with a fork???) She also prepares meals for Gideon (our Boxer) and Odin (our foster Boxer). The problem here is that the dogs will definitely eat the plastic food if given half a chance. So I go around picking up the plastic plates and the plastic food, all the while sending my compliments back to the chef ("Gideon says thanks! He said it was the best lemon he's ever eaten!") About the lemon - sometimes she squeezes it into the milk she's given me, which I find a little alarming.
I'm always trying to think of toys that might keep A occupied on her own for a few minutes at a time (I keep telling her, "You're an only child - you really should learn to play by yourself.") The kitchen, as it turns out, is as interactive as they come. You don't have to wonder what I'll be doing this evening - I'll be gnawing on an ear of corn and drinking my lemony-good milk, of course.
Monday, June 18, 2007
For the last six months she has been taking a developmental gymnastics class at The Little Gym. They have all sorts of fun equipment and A has a blast running around and jumping on stuff. P and I have been taking turns attending the class with her. Each week there has been a new skill to learn and practice.
Here's the thing, though: she didn't learn any of them. She runs around and she runs her mouth and that's about the size of it. I told P that I'm pretty sure we'd better keep contributing to the kid's college fund because I don't think there is an athletic scholarship in her future.
When you adopt a child the old "nature vs nurture" debate takes on a whole new meaning. I look at A and think, "How is she like me? How is she different?" She's clumsy like me. She's incredibly brilliant like me. She has a good sense of humor like me. On the other hand, I'm hoping she'll have some talents that she never could have gotten from me through genetics. She loves to sing and I think she may turn out to be pretty good at it. She's outgoing and friendly, which I envy. And she's so pretty that sometimes I am almost overwhelmed when I look at her.
Another trait I've noticed about A is that she doesn't do something until she already knows she can do it. She never practiced walking. She was a little later than average but at 14 1/2 months she just got up and started walking one day. She didn't bother with all the clinging-to-furniture stuff that other kids do. Likewise, I think she just doesn't want to take any risks in her gymnastics class. I'm pretty sure she was the only kid in the class who didn't learn how to do a forward roll on her own. She also didn't learn the monkey jump, donkey kick, or how to land on two feet when she jumps. Not only did she not learn any of the maneuvers on the bar, she refused to hang on the bar for even one second.
Her favorite part of class was when they would bring out a bin of balls for playtime. Instead of kicking and throwing the balls, though, A would usually just hoard them.
Saturday was the last day of class. They had a "medal ceremony" where each kid got up on a podium and received a medal. For the rest of the day the kid talked about her "necklace."
Six months and a fair amount of money later, we have a happy kid who can't do a forward roll but who had a blast nonetheless. I noticed that some of the other kids in class were practically mute but could do flips around the bar. My kid speaks in complete sentences and talks non-stop for all of her waking hours, but still trips over her own feet. My beautiful girl may not be the next Nadia Comaneci but I can't help but think she is going to do something amazing.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
The excursion started off innocently enough with the nice lady handing the nice toddler a nice yellow sticker. The kid stuck it on me and pulled it off a few times, and finally left it on my right boob.
The trip went downhill from there. Eventually the cart fills up and that causes a problem because it means that she can turn around and reach stuff. I bribed her with some fruit snacks that I had brought along in my purse. She shoved them all in her mouth at once and resumed the manipulation and torture. She saw a small Dora ball and asked for it so in a momentary lapse of reason I gave it to her. It seemed preferable to having to hear "BALLLLLLLLLL! DURA!!!!!!" for the next half hour. Then of course she threw the ball. "Mama, wanna catch it?" I had to retrieve it from beneath a Mountain Dew display, then a salsa display, and so on it went.
I said this about a hundred times: "Knock it off or you are going in time-out. I'm not kidding." You can imagine how effective that was. I whipped through the store as fast as I could but I had to make some concerted attempt to get the stuff I came for, LEST I FORGET SOMETHING AND HAVE TO DO IT ALL AGAIN. I decided to bake some cookies for Father's Day so I tossed the needed ingredients into the cart. Meanwhile I had to keep shuffling everything around in the cart to keep her from ripping open the packages. After a while I started to wonder why the floor seemed so grainy and slippery. Then I looked down and saw that our bag of sugar had been pierced somehow. We left a sugar trail all the way down the aisle, and you could see a little mound of it each time I had stopped the cart for a few seconds. I was trying to deal with the sugar situation while A was standing in the cart yelling, "OUUUUUUUUT! Wanna get down!" I threatened time-out again because you know how effective it was the first hundred times.
Soon she was in full-blown tantrum mode. A lady came up to her and said that such a pretty girl with such pretty curly hair shouldn't be crying. I smiled tightly. I begged A to hang in there long enough for me to grab some bananas and get out of there. The snot was flowing freely by this time. She began grabbing frozen food from the cart and stacking it precariously. I picked them up off the floor and momentarily thought of curling up in a fetal position over by the ice cream.
After that she set her sights on ripping open a box of sandwich bags because she was convinced that there were fruit snacks inside (what can I say, she can't read yet!)
Somehow we paid and made it out the door. Or almost. Then I heard a man yelling, "MA'AM, YOU DROPPED YOUR POP!" I am not from the Midwest originally and the pop thing always gets me. My what? Ohhhhh. Somehow an entire case of Pepsi had fallen off my cart and I hadn't even noticed.
We finally made it home about an hour and a half after we started. I had the groceries we needed, but my soul had died just a little.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Odin is a nice dog and he gets along with my boys and my kid, so that's as much as I can ask for. He was surrendered by a family who said they were moving into an apartment and that Odin exceeded the allowable weight limit. First they said they had to move because their child is ill and they needed to be near a specific medical facility. Later they said they were moving because of a job change. Remember, kids, when you tell a lie, you have to try to remember what you said so that you can be consistent with your lying.
I took Odin to the vet yesterday. He is three and hadn't seen the inside of a vet clinic since 2004. If you don't have the time/money/inclination to provide proper veterinary care to your dog, maybe it's best not to get one, you know? Call me crazy! I had him brought up to date on everything and ran fecal and heartworm tests. He is underweight and his coat is dull. His former owner fed him Ol' Roy and said he was a picky eater. So far Odin has wolfed down everything I've put in front of him. I'm firmly convinced that Ol' Roy kills dogs. You may as well feed your dog the actual bag that it comes in - the nutritional value would be about the same. It'll take a few weeks but Odin's weight, skin, and coat will all be up to par by the time he gets adopted.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
We got unpacked and it was time for her to nap. But she couldn't seem to handle that task while I was in the same room. So I pretended to sleep. No dice. "Poooooopy diiiiiiiaper," she announced. I changed her and we started the process over. Finally I grabbed a People magazine (because I'm all about the intellectual stuff) and sat on the toilet lid for about 20 minutes, turning the pages verrrrrry quietly. The ploy worked. In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps . . .
After naptime we headed to a nearby mall to kill some time before dinner. We had our photos taken at one of those $3 photo booths. I tried to get her to ride one of those little kiddie rides at the mall but she wouldn't have anything to do with them. This may have something to do with the fact that I forced her to stay on one a couple weeks ago even after she started saying "wanna get off" (but can you blame me? It cost $.75!)
We met some of our friends for dinner at a local Red Robin (I need to make you aware that if you order the Whiskey River Barbecue burger and have them substitute a Boca burger for the dead animal flesh, it's a darned good sandwich) and then the two of us grabbed some ice cream and headed back to our room. Somebody wouldn't share so I had to wait until she was in the bathtub before I could partake.
This morning we packed up our gear and headed over to the doggie festival. The weather was beautiful and it was a successful day for the rescue. We got quite a few donations. A and I visited some of the other rescue booths. Many of them were offering kiddie games. She did things like spinning a big wheel and rolling some big fuzzy dice. She won all kinds of crap, like a plastic snake and a rubber duckie. The big downer of the day: some morons rolled by with a wagon full of 5 1/2 week-old Boxer puppies that they were trying to sell. So here we are trying to find permanent digs for some homeless adult Boxers while others are working hard at making sure that our job never ends.
The kid was pooped when we got home so I put her to bed early. She is in there now singing along to "Froggie Went a Courtin'" and as for me, I still have a perfectly good bottle of twist-off cap wine to finish.
Friday, June 8, 2007
This particular dog is coming into rescue because his owners are moving to an apartment and Odin exceeds the allowable weight limit. He is three years old. If nothing else, I'm sure he will keep Gideon out of my hair for a while. Gideon is also three. My other dog, Karl, is nine and thinks Gideon should go F himself. I mean, Karl will play with him sometimes but mostly I think he just secretly plots Giddy's demise.
So anyway, I've got lots of packing to do tonight. I've booked an "economical" hotel (we're still kinda broke after the trip to Texas). All in all, I think it should be a fun weekend. Because I am a thinking-ahead kind of gal, I purchased a bottle of wine with a twist top (I'm pretty sure the EconoLodge does not stock their rooms with corkscrews). I'm going to go to Weight Watchers tomorrow morning and weigh in before we leave, for better or for worse. I've dropped most of the weight I gained while on vacation (yes, I am surprised, too). You know what I am craving lately? Keebler Fudge Sticks. I don't buy those because I cannot be trusted. I have even been known to hide them - how sad is that?
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
She knows how to neither steer nor pedal so how it works is that she sits on it and I push her. Oh, and she rings the bell periodically. The other thing is that she requires me to keep both hands on the handle as I push the bike. She busts me on this all the time because she watches my shadow on the pavement and can tell if I have both hands on there. "Hold your hands!" she demands.
I actually push her pretty far - our nightly "walks" take about 30-45 minutes. Last night we were about ten blocks from our house when she refused to sit on the bike any longer. I tried everything to get her back on the bike. The kicker is that she also refused to walk. She wanted me to carry her. It didn't take long before I grew tired of holding 28 pounds on my hip while pushing the bike with my free hand. I decided to put her on my shoulders. As I was lifting her over my head I thought I detected an aroma.
"Pie, did you poop?"
"Okay, are you sure? Because you kinda smell like poop."
Why she lies about this, I have no idea. It's not like I'm going to open her diaper and somehow think that some third party has crapped in my daughter's pants.
So anyway, we walked the last ten blocks with her holding onto my ears and with me knowing that her poody was squishing around behind my neck.
We may not try the bike again for a while. How a toddler's brain works is just one of life's mysteries, I suppose. This morning she had a full-on tantrum about waffles. Yes, waffles. She loves waffles with surry-up (as she pronounces it). I guess her waffle got a little soggy this morning and she was having trouble picking up the cut-up pieces with her fork. I found her crying hysterically (crocodile tears and all) while madly stabbing at her tray with her Dora the Explorer fork. I put a piece of waffle on her fork and handed it to her. She pulled the piece off the fork and resumed the frantic stabbing.
Mine is not to wonder why . . .
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
I did the hot/cold/hot/cold thing all night on Sunday and by Monday morning I felt like death warmed over. So, we both decided to stay home. And being the fabulous parents we are, we sent the kid off to daycare anyway. The conversation went something like this:
"I don't feel like chasing her"
"Well, who's gonna drive her there?"
The next hurdle was getting her dressed (my other half doesn't know the basic rules of fashion, like that pink and red don't match, for example), getting her fed (despite the fact that neither of us could handle the idea of touching/smelling food of any kind), combing her hair, and getting her out the door. I handed him an outfit and he put her in it. Her hair was another story. I had washed it the night before so it was extremely curly. I couldn't stand upright for more than a few seconds so I jabbed her in the head a few times with the comb, stuck a barrette in her hair and said, "Okay, there." He took one look at her and said, "Are you serious? That looks awful." So I jabbed at her a few more times. Sending my kid off to daycare looking like Medusa was the least of my problems.
I voted to throw a cereal bar at her and send her on her way but I don't know what he actually ended up feeding her. I was laying face down on the couch by then, using my right arm to swat the dogs away (WHY am I so interesting when I am sick?)
Because I do still have a nasty cough, I just wanted to let the world know that my experiment is complete and that yes, it is possibe for the human body to host two viruses at once. Good times, aye.
Sunday, June 3, 2007
So then the inevitable happened. She has just gotten over a case of the stomach flu. The vomiting has stopped, but it has been replaced by something almost as bad - diarrhea. And, you know, that kind of thing starts to cause a wee bit of discomfort after a while. I was changing A's diaper last night when she said, "Mama, owie in the heinie. Kiss it."
I did what any good mommy would do. I air-kissed her little round butt and said, "Okay, all better!" She smiled and said, "Make a all better."
Friday, June 1, 2007
He's a great dog, as long as you don't touch his paws (he freaks out and acts as though you've come at him with a machete).
"Your daughter is calling you," I said to my other half.
A few seconds later I heard him yelling and knew it wasn't good. As I jogged into her room the smell of vomit hit me like a speeding bus. Ugh. Believe it or not, this is only the second round of stomach flu we've encountered in the past two years. We weren't entirely surprised because we knew that one of the kids at daycare had been puking two days before.
When I was a kid, I always wondered how my mom could clean up my vomit. My mom said that when it's your own kid's vomit, somehow you can just do it. My nephew Liam once threw up in my hand but that's a whole other story. As a kid I was a tough case because I could never tell when I was going to hurl. Sometimes I still can't tell. It just comes on FAST. One time my poor mom had to scrape hamburger off the bathroom wall. This was because I threw up on the floor, slipped in it, fell, and threw up on the wall in mid-flight. (This was long before I became a vegetarian, in case you're wondering.)
So, back to last night. I stripped her bed while he put her in the tub. It's hard when they're so little (she just turned two) because they don't know why this is happening to them. I took the vomit-y stuff down to the washer and tried not to let anything fall out on the way. Fortunately, she hadn't eaten much dinner. As usual, she threw most of it to the dogs instead.
About a half hour later we had her cleaned up and back to her bed, with its nice clean mattress pad, sheet, and blanket. She was oddly compliant throughout the whole ordeal. Her usual M.O. is to battle me at every turn. I asked her if she wanted some music and she nodded and said weakly, "Dance party." The CD is actually called "House Party" but I'm not going to split hairs with the kid.
Two hours later we repeated the whole scenario.
Her daddy is home with her today because I used up all of my vacation time on our trip to Texas last week. This seems to be a 24-hour bug so I'm sure she'll feel better soon. Now we wait to see if we catch it. I already have a nasty chest cold and have been trying to expel my lungs for several days now. I'd like to think my body is not capable of hosting two viruses simultaneously but something tells me I may just be wrong about that . . .