Thursday, April 26, 2012

Drinking and Daycare

Since the downhill slide that was last week, I've actually had a pretty good few days!

The girls started daycare on Tuesday. When I picked up Sam, she declared that she was NOT ready to leave yet. On her way home after the first day, she also declared that she was NOT going back there ever again.

My worst fear about daycare was getting the girls ready in the morning. I hate mornings, and can't get out of bed to save my life, so having to get up earlier than ever and getting both girls fed, dressed, hair done and teeth brushed and out the door had me in a panic. But you know what? I got up even earlier than I needed to and was so early to drop off Kale at doggie daycare they were going to charge me the early drop-off fee! (Don't worry, I got a one-time pass and I assured them that it will probably never happen again. Me being early, that is.)

The cool thing about daycare is all the neat stuff that they do and learn. Charlie was singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star", which is a nice change from her usual Barney "I Love You" song. PS...she has never once sat down and watched Barney.

The not cool thing is how Charlie cries when I drop her off and reaches for me and is still sobbing 5 minutes later when I walk past her room again after I drop off Sam.

Sam has had some profound new thoughts as of late, and I would love it if she imparted her wisdom on her new friends at daycare...just so they can say these things to their parents.

"Bummer, mom."

"Shut up isn't a nice thing to say, unless the dogs are barking."

"I do NOT want to go to school! I am TOO LITTLE!"

"But that blanket is my faaa-vorite! I shoulda grabbed it!" (Said about the blanket which is identical to four others she has, but happened to be the one left at school. We have not made the same mistake again.)

"You can't take your clothes off at school...only at home."

"Ugh! Mom! You drive me to drink." (Umm...I have NO IDEA where she learned that phrase.)

Sam and Charlie are really starting to get along just as sisters should. Case in point. My mom called last night to see how daycare has gone that day. She asked to talk to Sam, which I was happy to hand the phone over. Normally, she LOVES talking on the phone, and wanders around the house, and does so on a regular basis, whether or not there is anyone to talk back.

This time though, she has just put a "tray" of "food" into the oven, and didn't close the door. As soon as Charlie saw that Sam was distracted, she bolted for the "food" and proceeded to whip it all across the room in seven different directions. Which caused Sam to LOSE HER SHIT and scream and yell and chase after a manically laughing Charlie, all while holding the phone to her mouth. Workaholic and I laughed and my poor mother had a screaming toddler in her ear.

We are all settling into the routine of daycare and work and whatintheworldarewegoingtoeatfordinner and "when will daddy be home?" I am hoping, no...praying for some drama-free months in which I get a lot accomplished and come out more sane and much happier. Wish us luck!

Friday, April 20, 2012


I've mentioned before how I don't deal with change well.

In January, new K left us and J joined us. That went...OK.

The other day, we had to let J go. She left for the day, and Workaholic didn't hear her say she was leaving, and she didn't take Charlie to him, and so Charlie was left all alone in the house for about 10 minutes.

In 10 minutes she played in my vanity.

While I am not one to usually envision worse case scenario, in 10 minutes she could have gone outside and wandered into the street and gotten hit by a car. Or stolen by a stranger. Or fallen and hit her head and be all alone, unconscious...until I pulled into the driveway and found her.

But it still took about 30 minutes of pondering how I could rationalize with an outraged Workaholic to allow J to return to us for me to realize that I just could not trust her with my girls anymore. If she was that blase about leaving, when else was she so casual about? I was sad, but immediately started worrying about my childcare situation. Charlie was fine, and I needed to keep her and Sam that way.

Yesterday I spent the day running around, figuring out what the heck I am going to do with them while I am at work.

Workaholic came home in the morning, and informed me that the 2 hours I thought I was getting to run errands had been reduced to 45 minutes. My brain started racing, as it is wont to do when I am experiencing change.

I have to go to the doctor's office. If the girls are going to get into daycare then I have to get a copy of their immunizations. I wonder if I should call the doctor on the way there so they can have it all ready. I wonder if I will have time to run by the post office and Walgreens. I hope that I can arrange a part time payment instead of paying full time, it seems like such a waste of money to pay for 5 days when they will only be there 2 or 3. I think I'll call ahead to the doctor....WHATTHEHELLWASTHATNOISE????

In backing out of the garage, I had managed to hit Workaholic's van. With the front of my van. How does one do that?? Oops. Oopsy. Big oopsy. I managed to damage the front bumper, front quarter panel, the windshield washer holder thing, and possibly the hood. When I drove away, it made this sound when I turned because the wheel well was rubbing against my tire. And I thought there was no damage because when I got out and looked at our vehicles, I looked at the BACK of my car. I hit him with the FRONT. I will never live this down. Like, ever. In 20 years, my in-laws will be sitting around talking about the one time that Charlie was left all alone in the house with a butcher knife for an hour and I how backed into Workaholic's van, totaling both vehicles. (What? Stories don't grow in your family?)

A couple of hours later, we were headed over to J's apartment to return some things she had left at our house and to pick up things of ours that she had. Plus, her and the girls needed to say good-bye. I anticipated an awkward and sad encounter, and hadn't thought to pop a Xanex ahead of time. I was nervous about what J would say, if she would try to get her job back or argue with me or start a fight. I just didn't know.

Sam was not in a good mood, and she spent most of the car ride over telling me that she was NOT going to go into J's house! I had forgotten her shoes, and that 3 year old tone just got to me. I finally said, "Sam, you have to go in to see J because this will be the last time you will ever see her!" I really felt that honesty was the best policy and I really just did not know what else to tell her. 

Cue the whiny crying. "Why, momma, why?"

"Because you are going to go to school now, Sam."  

Her response was immediate and harsh, "I am NOT going to go to SCHOOL!" 

OK, whatever.

We walk into J's apartment after a fight over whether I would carry Sam without shoes or Charlie, who is perfectly capable of walking herself in, but didn't want me to carry Sam and not her. Juggling 2 kids, the diaper bag and the bag with J's things was just fantastic, and a spectacle all people of child-bearing age should witness.

Sam wandered around for a few seconds then said in her best pathetic little girl whiny voice, "J, this is the last time I'm ever going to see you! I'm going to miss you soooo much."

Cue J choking up. 

We got out of there as fast as we could.

Change, it is awesome.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

This Is What They Think

List 7 things your pet thought about today.

I have three pets. And all three have very different days.

Let’s start with Kabo. He’s 12 ½ and very much the old man/alpha male/awesome dog of the house.
1. I don’t want to wake up. Why does it hurt to get up? Can’t Kale just get out of my way? He’s so annoying.
2. Did she feed him before me again? Where is my breakfast? Oh wait…it is there in my bowl. She better not have forgotten my biscuits again. I can’t believe she would ever have the nerve to forget my biscuits.
3. Finally, they have left. I get to sleep. I’m going to go and hide from the little monsters.
4. Zzzzzzz……
6. Wait, what’s going on? Food? Car ride? Walk? Where are we going????
7. I want to go out. Now I want to come in. Now I want to go out. Now it is time to come in and go to bed.

And then there is Kale. He turned one in February and never got over the fact that he was one puppy in a litter of twelve.

3. Where are the little people? Little People=Food.
4. Are we going anywhere? I want to go to daycare! HOW COULD YOU LEAVE WITHOUT ME???!!??!
5. SAMPSON!! Let’s wrestle!!!!!
7. Snuggle me. Love me. Pet me. I love you.

Last, but never least, Sampson, our black cat. Who is more like a dog than any cat I’ve ever met. Albeit a snobby dog.

1. Streeeetcch…ahhh…that feels good.
2. I want to out outside. Now. I have things to do and houses to visit and patrols to make. Excuse me? This should be your first priority, letting me out.
3. Why hello, small humans at the bus stop. Why don’t you come over here and pet my belly before I climb that tree and you get on the loud, yellow, 4 wheeled contraption to go to “school.”
4. …. (I don’t know what Sampson is thinking here because he is generally gone all day.)
5. Well hello human! I believe you should let me in and give me fresh food in my bowl. I don’t care if there is already food there…I absolutely insist on freshness.
6. Sleep! Glorious, wonderful sleep! How I love this couch, keeps me cool and warm all at the same time.
7. Go away Kale. I warned you. Kale. Kale. Kale! KALE!!!!

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

One Year of Kale

About 13 months ago, I received a phone call that changed my life.

A nice lady named Barb called, in response to an e-mail I had sent her.

She is a Flat-Coated Retriever breeder, and I wanted to see if someday in the future she would give me one of her puppies. Flat-Coat breeders are notoriously picky about who they sell their puppies to.

Her happy voice asked for me, and then said something that made me sit down, hard. "Well, I just happen to have a litter on the ground right now!"

Here's the thing...I had an 8 month old, and a toddler, and a husband who was never home. I had a mother-in-law and, well, everyone else in my life who was vehemently opposed to me getting a puppy. And I hadn't even asked them their opinion yet. I was thinking that it would be at least a year before Barb would have a litter where I could get a puppy. And here she was, telling me that she had 12, TWELVE, puppies that were 4 weeks old and in need of good homes.

Eeks. I couldn't say no. I was afraid that if I said no, she would never give me one. But here is the thing. Even though everything in my life was so hectic and busy, I was ready for a puppy. I was ready to have Fonz mentor a cute little ball of fur into something wonderful.

And so I said yes. And four short weeks late I brought him home.

He was so little! But not that little. He was so cute! But not cute enough to not get mad when he chewed up my flip flops. He was so good at sitting! No, really, he was really good at sitting.

In the past year, I think both my parents and my in-laws have wanted to both kill and disown me for bringing this disruptive little thing into their lives. From chewing on EVERYTHING in my mom's house, to repeatedly running through the screen door at my in-laws, he was a puppy, through and through.
"How can you get angry at something so cute??"

But over the past few months, something awesome has transpired.

He has turned into a truly wonderful dog.
"What...I wasn't always this angelic?"

Sure he likes to bark at the guys mowing the golf course in our back yard.

Sure he still has gone through my in-laws screen, again and again.

Yes, he recently chewed up my favorite pair of flip flops.

And don't even get me started on his food obsession.

"Peanut butter? Yes please."

But he is currently sleeping on my office floor. He stays right with me whether in the house or in the yard. When we are playing outside in Michigan, he always has Charlie in his sights, watching over her. Yes, is it possible that is he is simply waiting for her to get some food and drop it or give it to him, but he is the next best thing to Lassie for her. If me or Charlie are not around, he still won't run away. Mainly because he knows that our house is where he gets fed. And that is what is most important.

That stick was hers 10 seconds ago.
I have two big dogs that my kids aren't afraid of. The girls are constantly knocked over and pushed around and they think nothing of getting back up and dusting themselves off and continuing on with life. They know how to "share" food, how to feed and walk the dogs, and to pick up poop. 

And for his part, Kale is absolutely wonderful with kids. He is gentle and as considerate as a one year old dog can be. He doesn't nip or growl, he lets them pet him and step on him and lay on him and take toys right out of his mouth. He is always up for a game of fetch or a romp in the yard or a walk in the woods. He is turning out to be the dog I had hoped he would be.

He snuggles with me on a nightly basis, something that Fonz never really liked to do. He tolerated it because it was something I loved, but he got away as soon as he could.
"My bed, my pillow, my spot." 

Kale respects the old man of the house, but gets him riled up and playful too. He is keeping my old man young. 

Long story short, Barb knew that I sounded like a good home. The statistics may have not been the best (young kids, full time job, etc), but I sounded sincere, and I sounded like I knew what I was getting myself into. The timing actually worked out OK, because I am glad that this coming summer I have a moderately well-trained dog instead of a rambunctious little puppy. And thanks to our favorite doggie daycare, Kale is a fantastically socialized guy, one who I trust around just about any other dog. 

It's been a hell of a year. But given the choice, I'd do it all over again. We love you Kale!

He's a happy dog, I swear!!