Monday, August 14, 2017

Canada: Wonderland

I was at Canada's Wonderland yesterday with my awesome little family, including Uncle Timbo and his delightful new companions. I spent a lot of time on the sidelines, on account of my 12lb say nothing of my recently acquired terror of things fast and high.

But I digress.

There is a lot of scary and sad and infuriating on the news these days. And all of this scary and sad and infuriating needs to be out there and talked about in the hopes that we can fix it, or at least move in the right direction. But it all gets to be too much for many of us, and I believe there is also tremendous value in highlighting the happy and good and heartwarming.

So here is what I know.

I know that the far and away vast majority of people I have encountered in my 40 years are good. And not just people I have met. Most of the sea of people I wade through on a daily basis are *just like me*. They have lives and people that are important to them, and they are just going about their business, doing their best for themselves and the people they love. Do we all have habits and opinions and qualities that don't necessary contribute to the greater good? Of course. Can we tend to focus on those sometimes, forgetting to give each other the benefit of the doubt? Absolutely. But I spent 8 hours yesterday (more if you count Toronto traffic) surrounded by thousands of people of all shapes and sizes and colours, with time on my hands to observe and experience them, and here is what I came away with:

There was not a single ethnicity/race/background that stood out as a majority presence. It made me distinctly proud as a Canadian to look around and see what seemed like every race, religion and sexuality represented.

I saw so many variations on a turban that it made me realize how little I know about them. Is there a hierarchy of turban styles, so that more senior members of a community wear different styles? Is it simply a fashion choice?

I saw so many children with brightly coloured hair that it made me wonder if I've been missing out on a new line of hair colour geared toward children that is safer for hair?

I saw a group of East Indian friends trying to win one of those un-winnable carnival games, then passing on their tips to a gay couple that decided to try their luck.

I saw several groups of women and girls wearing full face-covering burqas who, apart from their clothing, looked and sounded just like a group of filipina girls, giggling and smiling and being silly with each other.

I saw a couple of mentally challenged men wearing yarmulkes going through the exit to a ride. I was about to let them know they were going the wrong way, when I saw that they had special passes to go to the front of the line. I saw them several times during the course of the day, and they were always treated so respectfully by the ride operators.

I saw another woman in a burqa with her face uncovered, pushing her daughter in a stroller past me as I breastfed my daughter. I wondered for a moment what she thought of me, partially exposed in such a public place, and I started to feel self-conscious. Then she smiled at me and I saw warmth and acceptance in her eyes.

In fact, I breastfed all over that park, and didn't feel a single ounce of disapproval or judgement. I felt like no one even really noticed, which is EXACTLY how it should be.

I heard Excuse Me and Sorry (obviously) and Thank You. In a crowded amusement park on a hot sunny day, I saw no pushing and shoving, no irritation at long lines translating into rudeness or disrespect.

We had a great time yesterday, and there were lots of high points. But one of the best parts was feeling so damn proud to live in this country, watching a cross-section of it behave beautifully with each other, as if it was no big deal.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

It has already started. My tiniest little human is starting to grow out of things. She is too big for the smallest size of cloth diapers we have. She is too big for those teeny-tiny NB size jumpers I bought for her before she was born, wondering whether they would be too small and that fit her new little newborn body perfectly. Her feet will absolutely not be crammed into 0-3 month sleepers anymore. There are two outfits I pulled out the other day that she had only worn once before being lost in the back of the drawer because they were way too big. They are now just the right size but won't be for long. I remember this with big E. From now until the age of...sixteen? eighteen?, the race is on. The race to make sure she gets enough wear out of her clothes before they are outgrown. The race to keep pulling out the next size of clothes from storage before she zooms right by it. The race to keep enough of everything in her size on hand and try to go out and buy it BEFORE she needs it.

Sigh. They *literally* grow up so fast.

Speaking of, here is an excerpt from Little E's diary:

This week I am really enjoying the taste of my own hands and am slowly learning not to gag myself with those pesky fingers. I am babbling and drooling up a storm, particularly when my mouth is full of fingers. I am slowly learning to tolerate the car, provided someone is in the back seat with me, actively catering to my entertainment with constant eye contact, silly faces and soothing songs and stories.

I can say my sister's name. I can click my tongue. And I can finally bounce my own bouncy chair by kicking my legs. So fun!

As for my sister, she learned archery last week and then spent the afternoons with me and a friend, which was a lot of fun. We went swimming, and to Clovermead, and one day they made paintings just for me! This week she is rock climbing and I don't get to see her as much. But I sure love hanging out in the back seat with her on the way to and from camp. She is my favourite. Yesterday she showed us how well she can climb - she climbed all the way to the ceiling! Her instructor said she was really quick learner when it came to learning how to put on her harness and tie knots. I want to be as good at climbing as her when I grow up.

Monday, July 10, 2017

3 months already?!

Yesterday we celebrated little E's 3-month birthday at Sunfest. I simply cannot believe it. She has already changed so much from that tiny little nugget we brought home. For example...

She smiles ALL THE TIME now. She is such a happy little baby, a far cry from the screaming rage machine that had us cowering in the corner for a short while. She has smiles for everyone just about any time you ask her...unless she's hungry, fighting sleep, or it's 8:30-9:30pm. One smile from her and everything is right in the world. It's magic.

She chats up a storm. Who knows what she's actually saying, but I'm quite confident that her most favourite things to say are "Elle", "Yah!" and "I love you". I'm sure "Mama" and "Excuse me, but I'm about to poop" are just around the corner.

She sleeps like a DREAM! Would you believe it if I told you that she once slept for 11 hours in a row?! True story. She can sleep reliably for about 8 hours a night, although since our trip to Ottawa she prefers to meet up for a snack around 2:30am. Don't worry, I'm not complaining.

Although she's a great sleeper, she fights going to sleep like a champ. Besides the boob, her kryptonite includes being sung to and bounced on the ball. Her favourite songs are Peace Like a River and Lost Boy.

She rolled over! Just once, about a week ago, she rolled from her back to her tummy on her playmat and then got super mad about it. She tends to roll onto her side to sleep now, which for some reason I find freaking adorable.

She has graduated from the wrap (aka the "crack wrap" because she cannot resist its slumber-inducing powers) to the Snugli, which allows her a bit more freedom to check out the world. She doesn't automatically fall asleep when we go out anymore, so she appreciates a view of more than just my chest.

She takes a bottle well, so I can leave her with dad or grandma and papa for snippets of time to go to appointments, exercise, or just to feel what it's like to be instantly 12 pounds lighter for a little while.

Big sister is arguably her favourite person in the world, and I think the feeling is mutual. Sure, there are times (like when they're stuck the back of a car together for 8 or 9 hours) when Big E would probably love to run screaming from her, but for the most part they light each other up. Now that little E is engaging with us more, Big E is really enjoying singing songs and playing games with her, and cute photo-ops abound!

As for me, I finally started exercising regularly again about a week ago and it feels great. It's a heady combination of endorphins from working out and the freedom of only having myself to take care of, and it reminds me that there is more to life than just the next nap or diaper change. J is getting busier at work and is usually pretty worn out at the end of the day, but we're doing a pretty good job of helping each other out and making time for everyone.

Gryffindor turns 1 year old this month, and he has more bad habits than good, it seems. But J keeps reminding me that he's a puppy and that he'll grow out of eating everything that fits in his mouth, chewing everything that doesn't and licking all of the above. We'll see. He's a bad dog, but he's cute.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Growing up

She's 8 1/2 already. One minute she's my sweet little girl, still so small, bright eyed and innocent. The next minute she's a worldly soul, testing her autonomy and trying on different personas.

She loves the colour black, particularly in her wardrobe.

She loves catching frogs and taming snakes.

She loves to dress up. She does not like to be rushed as she carefully selects monochromatic ensembles, long, flowing scarves and whimsical accessories.

She loves fidget spinners, super mario brothers, face painting and cartwheels.

She still lets us sleep in on the weekends and will read for hours in bed, but prefers to wait until mom and dad wake up to announce that she's STARVING, rather than get breakfast for herself.

She would eat ice cream every day, and dreams of a day when we'll let her have cones again...

She loves listening to the radio and knows the worlds to most songs better than I do.

She is the slowest. eater. ever.

She is the messiest. eater. ever.

She is the slowest. at. getting. ready. ever.

She is such a great big sister. I really can't say it enough. She takes such good care of little E, and they bring each other such joy.

She loves dogs. Especially other people's dogs.

She's becoming more self-conscious. She gets embarrassed, she worries about making mistakes in front of people, all of the normal stuff that happens, but it makes me sad. I miss the oblivious devil-may-care attitude she had when she didn't get weighed down with the opinions of others.

She says hi to everyone we pass on the street. I love that.

She likes to match her outfits with her friends or with me. One day I'll be off the list, but not yet!

She loves to go the park by herself with a walkie-talkie.

She loves to go on dates with J and with me. She loves having each of us all to herself.

She drives me crazy.

I love her to the moon and back.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

2 months and a bunch of 1sts!

Little E was 2 months old on Sunday and has been crushing goals ever since.

Her first set of shots were not the high point of the day, but she got through them with just the right amount of drama. After eliciting an appropriate amount of sympathy, she had a snack and napped it out. There was a little extra cranking throughout the day, but I've heard more post-immunization whining from my husband.

For a long time, diaper changing was a source of tears and frustration for our little lamb. She just did not like it, no matter how much we tried to convince her how much fun she was having. Lately though, she has started to lighten up a bit and even maybe enjoy it a little. Yesterday she even produced her very first giggle! I didn't get that one on camera, but I did get this one today:

And to round out her hat trick of firsts, we went swimming! Our wonderful neighbour JoJo has a pool, and is always encouraging big E to use it. A humidex of 41 yesterday was the perfect opportunity to cool off after school. Big E brought a friend and they practiced dives and belly flops. Little E was a little skeptical at first when her toes hit the water, but soon she was lounging like a pro:

Then, and I can hardly believe this as I type it, little E gave me the best present ever by sleeping for 8.5 hours in a row!

Best baby ever.

Friday, June 2, 2017

7 weeks and 5 days

First things first: You're still alive! After an 8 year hiatus, it appears that I still have at least the minimum allotment of skills required to keep an infant alive. This is a relief.

Second things second: This is all very familiar...and I guess that's a good thing! There have been several "ah, yes" moments of recognition since you were born - both good and not-my-favourite - that have brought me right back to parenting for the first time. The super-sleepiness of the first few weeks, the first smile, the smell (OMG THE SMELL) of newborn baby heads, the feeling of a baby snoozing peacefully on my chest...the poop-through, the sudden spit-up of an entire boob's worth of milk, the agony of early breastfeeding, of night after night of sleeping in a half-seated position, of arms locked in spasm from holding a baby all day and all night. What has changed for the most part has been my perspective. Sure, I still find myself getting caught up in the worry and the panic and the gnawing anxiousness from time to time, but for the most part I can see the forest for the trees. Each of these challenges, these phases, are so transient. Breastfeeding DOES get easier. The baby WILL stop screaming. She WILL eventually go to sleep. Newborn poop DOES come out in the wash. While I am by no means a parenting expert, most days I am able to look at myself in the mirror and say: I got this. And that, my friends, is a small, but very important victory.

Today, I'm feeling sad. I went to bed feeling sad and a bit overwhelmed and it has carried over to this morning. We had a meeting with a decorator last night, which went very well in terms of content. She was lovely and full of wonderful ideas. Little E, on the other hand, decided to be as distracting as possible, spending most of the almost two hours crying or cranking or wanting to be fed. Big E was super sweet and wanting to be involved in the process which I enjoyed in theory, but in reality it meant that there were always three people in my face at the same time demanding my attention for two hours. By the end I was utterly exhausted. But also excited about the plans swirling around in my brain. Until I learned that my darling husband's ideas did not jive with those of my new dream home. And between the mental fatigue from the meeting and the sudden realization that all of this was going to involve much more back and forth and compromise than I had hoped, it left me feeling a bit defeated. Today I'm feeling fragile, and Little E is alternating between spitting up and crying and thank goodness she is asleep right now so I can write some things down and feel a little bit accomplished.

She's sleeping in the wrap, which is her favourite place and mine. Yes, soon enough I should really consider getting her comfortable in her crib, but today is not the day. I know my limits. I truly believe that little tiny babies can only benefit from as much closeness to mom and dad as possible. With Big E, she spent some time at the beginning sleeping in our bed, but it was never our intention and we were never very comfortable with it. We started transitioning her to the crib as soon as she would tolerate it. This time, little E started out with a little time in her crib, but quickly took up permanent status in our bed, and I have no qualms about it. She now reliably goes to sleep after nursing on her back in between J and I, and I'm happy with that. Of course I recognize that there is a point that she should make the transition to the crib for her sake and for ours (wink wink), and that time is getting near, but waking up to nurse is hard enough without having to get out of bed to do it. These days she has only been waking up one time to nurse, so at this point I think having her in her crib would be manageable. She might not agree.

Right now our days have no schedule. Fortunately, I remembered this from last time and was totally ready for it. Sure, I've read a couple of articles describing the daily "schedules" and "routines" that other parents have established for their 1- and 2-month old babies with regular morning walks and naptimes and feeding times and playtimes. But this time, instead of worrying about the damage I'm doing by not having a daily routine and wearing myself out trying to fight nature by nailing a baby down to a schedule, I'm going with the flow. It's not my forte, for sure. I LOVE schedules. But I'm much happier without one as the parent of a newborn. This I know. I was absolutely baffled about how I would get Big E to school on time now that Little E needed to be factored in. Luckily, J took care of the first week and my dad did the second, so I only needed to really start freaking out about it in week 3. I stressed, I lost sleep, I simply could not figure out how to make sure to be anywhere at a specific time, when who knows if the baby will scream to be fed or have a giant poop or GOD FORBID still be sleeping (more later on my insistence on letting sleeping babies lie). But you know what? It happens. It just does. And yes, sometimes we're late. Sometimes we're early. Most times we arrive at pretty much the same time we did pre-baby. Like all my mom-of-several friends say, it's the "new normal". And the best gift I can give myself and my family is the permission to be late. Without yelling, without rushing. Just being late and being ok with it. It's positively liberating. You should try it. As for the rest of our day, we walk, we chat, we squeeze in some tummy time and some singing, we sleep, we eat, we poop and pee. She spits up and screams quite a bit. I try to fit in the odd chore while she sleeps or sits happily in one of her chairs for 2.4 minutes. I get dinner on the table within an hour or so of dinner time. We try to remember to give her a bath twice a week. And if she lets us J and I watch an episode of The Good Wife before crashing into bed around 11:00. Lately she's been having a cranky period from about 7:30-10:30 or so, so our 40 minute episode often takes about 80 minutes to get through. But we take what we can get. And try to remember that it's all temporary. I'm sure that she won't keep having 3 hour nightly tantrums as a teenager, but even if she does it won't be while sitting in my lap.

She smiles a lot now. Man, she's cute. She has big bright eyes and she's super strong and she's trying so hard to talk to us. She makes little "goo" and "loo" and "ell" noises and likes to practice standing. She ADORES her big sister. Big E can almost always get her to stop crying. If Big E is around, Little E is her captive audience. Big E sings to her, rocks her, carries her around and helps her practice new things. They are positively smitten with each other, and that is BY FAR the best thing so far about baby #2. That and the naps we have together. Lying on the couch with Little E sleeping on my chest is my favourite place in the world.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Birth Story #2

It has come to my realization that I didn't publish Big E's birth story. I will have to rectify that oversight, but for now...


The hockey game had just ended. The Leafs won, which should have been my first clue that it was no ordinary Saturday night. It was also my due date, and as Big E was born on her due date, I was on high alert, but also looking for any opportunity to get some rest. J wanted to watch a movie. But it was almost 10pm and all I could think about was how much I would regret staying up until midnight or later if I went into labour. So we compromised. J turned on a movie I wasn’t interested in, and I immediately fell asleep on the couch.  For about 5 minutes.

I felt a twinge. Nothing very uncomfortable, just a weird little twinge in the bottom of my uterus made me say “hm”. I glanced at my watch, just in case. I continued to snooze. 4 minutes later, another twinge. Still not even worth cracking an eye open, except to check the time. And then in another 4 minutes, and another.  After 20 minutes or so, I mentioned it to J. We decided to keep watching the clock. Soon it had been an hour of twinges, getting ever so slightly stronger, every 4 minutes. We weighed our options. I was negative for Group B strep this time, so there was no need to rush to the hospital for IV antibiotics. On the other hand, the contractions were already 4 minutes apart and our doctor had suggested going to the hospital at 5 minutes. With second babies, chances were good that I’d be delivering faster than my 20-hour clocking with Big E, but the timing of labour is truly one of life’s last great mysteries. Also, we would need my parents to look after Big E while we were at the hospital, and by calling sooner rather than later we were less likely to have to drag them out of bed. We made the call, telling them not to rush, but that the moment had arrived. I don’t think it took them any longer than 20 minutes to ring the doorbell, and considering that the drive is 15 minutes, I suspect they may have been camped out in the elevator, taking bets on when the call would come. It took about that long to convince Big E to get out of bed, but once she was conscious enough to process the fact that her baby sister or brother was on its way, she wasn’t hard to get moving. I would later learn that getting her back to sleep at Grandma and Grandpa’s place was another ball game entirely.

We had sort of thought we were getting ahead of the game by having my parents collect Big E, and planned on hanging around the house for a while until things intensified. But I was having some bleeding, and the contractions stayed very close together, so it wasn’t long before we packed the car and headed to the hospital. By the time we were driving, the contractions were uncomfortable enough for me to notice EVERY bump in the road. And our block is VERY bumpy.

We parked in the parking garage, noted our location (impressive for us on a good day) and made our way to the Labour and Delivery ward at around midnight. I think the fact that we sauntered in there smiling and speaking in coherent sentences alerted them to the idea that this wasn’t a particularly emergent situation. But it was only a minute or two before the triage nurse came out and escorted us to our room. She did a quick check, assured me that it was a boy on account of the lower heart rate and that I was only about 2cm dilated, and instructed me to spend the next 2 hours walking around. Feeling a bit disappointed that we couldn’t be doing this at home, I doubled up on the dressing gowns to avoid a Jack Nicholson moment and off we went to roam the deserted halls. It was actually quite peaceful. I sipped water, ate a nutella croissant from Tim Hortons instead of my banana, held on to the handrails when a contraction came while J rubbed my back or held my hips, depending on what my body was very clearly telling me at any given time. We admired the fancy lights in the hospital courtyard that changed colours and tried not to think about how many germs we were coming into contact with. After two hours, at just after 2am, I was fairly uncomfortable but still managing well. So I was discouraged to hear that I was only 3cm dilated, although she did add that I was almost completely effaced. She once again confirmed that I was having a boy, echoing what every single person with an opinion on the subject has predicted throughout my pregnancy.  She said that I was now in active labour so they could move me to the delivery room, and they would check me again in another couple of hours.

Shortly afterwards, we were transferred to the room where I would deliver. And shortly after that I decided to explore the world of pain management. I asked for some nitrous, and that worked really well for about an hour or so, giving me something to focus on (sucking air) through each contraction and taking just enough of the edge off.  But at some point I decided that the nitrous wasn’t cutting it. I told J and the nurse that I wasn’t managing well, and though they attempted to tell me what a great job I was doing, I knew that I was mentally at the end of my game. I needed the epidural, and I was totally cool with that. They called the anaesthesiologist.

Looking back, I realize how green this guy was.  The overly thorough health history, the painstakingly detailed description of the process, the eternity of preparing the tools and the injection site. His nervousness. But at the time, my brain had enough to contemplate that I didn’t put it all together. It turns out he was a resident, and I was the lucky girl who got to be the first woman in active labour to whom he would (try to) administer an epidural.  Now, J is a doctor. Which means that at one time, he was a resident. I get it. They have to learn. And I’m totally on board with providing them with plenty of opportunity to do so. But. I do think that a woman on the verge of birthing a child is not the most flexible and accommodating of patients, and that in these situations, a supervisor should accompany a resident in the event that things do not go smoothly and time is of the essence. But hey, that’s just my two cents. What do I know?

I also didn’t realize at the time that J was dying a slow death of frustration, watching this guy fumble around. He said afterwards that it was all he could do not to scream “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!!!” at the guy, not wanting to freak me out. He’s such a gentleman.

Now things started to get a little chaotic at this point, mostly from my perspective because I was in so much pain and I was just trying to get through one last contraction before the epidural took effect for about 20 contractions in a row, and J and the nurses were giving me as little information as they could to keep me calm, with minimal success. The details are a bit fuzzy, but from what I’ve pieced together from my memory as well as what the nurses and J told me after the fact, the resident failed miserably at his first “real” epidural. Apparently the spaces between my vertebrae make are quite small, making it difficult to insert the IV. Sounds like BS to me, particularly since the epidural I got 8 years ago worked like a dream. A sweet, sweet dream. So after spending far too much time attempting in vain to succeed, he called the supervisor. During this time, someone thought it a good idea to check me to see where I was, and surprise surprise I was 9cm and it was just about time to push. At this point they had also lost the fetal heart monitor so they couldn’t tell how the baby was doing. So while I’m having horrible medication-free contractions, someone was trying to jam a scalp monitor in there and attach it to the baby’s head. I don’t think I have to tell you that all I could think was “WRONG WAY PEOPLE. GET OUTTA THERE.” Honestly. I can’t express clearly enough how much it sucks to have a person trying to come out of my vagina while people try to put stuff into it. But I digress.

I remember someone saying to me that I could either continue to wait for the epidural, which would take an indeterminate amount of time, or we could just have this baby and it would be over in a few minutes. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but it was something to the effect of “I NEED HELP.” Apparently at this point the supervisor was manually administering medication through a syringe into my back, but could only get a bit in at a time. In hindsight, I think it kicked in just in time for me to get a freezing needle for the stitches, which is a small blessing I suppose.

I could feel the baby coming. I didn’t feel it last time with the epidural, but this time I felt my body pushing from the inside with each contraction, and I was squeezing my legs shut to stop the baby from coming out. Seems counterintuitive, but there you are. When someone asked me if I felt like I needed to push I said yes, and it was on. Someone grabbed my leg and someone else told me to start pushing, and I didn’t even have the presence of mind to get into any kind of position, I just started pushing.  They told me to grab my legs and push as hard as I could, so I did, for about 6 minutes (that felt like 60 seconds tops) and then, at 4:30am, there was a baby.  I don’t remember much pain with the pushing. It’s true what they say that it’s a relief to push. It gives you something to do besides ride out another wave of pain. And I vaguely remember some discomfort with the aftermath of delivering the placenta and the stitches, but not in any specific detail. Because I was holding a brand new, soft, squishy baby. My baby. A perfect girl. She cried. She opened her eyes. We snuggled. I did the same cry-giggle I did with Big E and couldn’t stop smiling.

Afterwards, both the nurse and J told me what I great job I did and how impressed they were. Yes, I am aware that there probably isn’t a nurse or husband on the planet who has ever told a new mother “You really botched that one. Terrible work.” But I’ll take it. I remember not swearing and I’m a bit surprised about that. It appears that my desire to be polite around strangers is strong enough to withstand childbirth.

That’s my birth story. Or rather Little E's birth story. It took us about 36 hours to come up with her name. The other contenders were Daphne, Violet and Sadie.  Only time will tell if we made the right choice and she loves her name as much as we do, but we did our best.  If she’s anything like Big E, she’ll announce in a few years that she wants to change her name to Rainbow Sparkle, but for at least the next 18 years she’s stuck with the ones we gave her.

6lbs 15oz.
20 inches long.
Born at 4:30am.

Not a boy.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

A Good Week

Dear E,

Thank you for this week. It has been perfect. We're wrapping up two weeks of Christmas vacation, and while I'm a bit apprehensive about the repercussions of getting back to the grind tomorrow, I am too busy basking in contentment to give it much thought.

We celebrated New Year's Day by having dinner at Grandma and Papa's house, and you decided to sleep over. So on Monday morning I came to get you and we enjoyed a swim in the pool and a game of ping pong before heading home.

Tuesday was a rainy day, the perfect day to go to the movies! We saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and finished a whole bag of popcorn.

On Wednesday we went skating and you practised your figure skating moves and confirmed that you can, in fact, skate much faster than me.

On Thursday I had big plans to take you to the Children's Museum, but it turned out to be a stay-at-home-in-our-pj's day, and it was wonderful. We did manage to play with Gryff in the backyard for a bit, but otherwise we snuggled, we read, we watched a movie and then you headed out for a sleepover.

On Friday I picked you up and we finally made it to the Children's Museum with another friend. Her grandma and I followed you two around as you wandered from room to room and made your best efforts at a questionable craft table.

I'm very aware lately that our days as a twosome are nearing an end. In a few months there will be baby, and while that will be all kinds of wonderful in new and exciting ways, you and I will no doubt feel a few pangs of sadness at the loss of your "only" status. This week was just what we needed, and I look forward to cherishing any moments like this we can get in the weeks to come.


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Plot Twist

Well, that was unexpected.

Oh, buddy. We had such a good day. You only had one accident in the house. You peed and pooped on command. You didn't complain about the removal of your all-you-can-eat buffet. Probably for that reason, you responded really well to the training we did with kibble rewards. I watched you like a hawk and almost never let you out of my sight. We killed Training Day 1.

Except for that one oversight.

E had just come home from school. You had just come out of your crate and had peed in your spot like a champ, so I let you off the leash to play in the backyard to celebrate. We threw the ball a little, we ran around a little, and then E and I sat down to eat popsicles while you played in the bushes. We watched you the whole time. You were only in there for about 3 minutes. But it turns out you weren't playing. 

Fast forward to an hour later. I put your dinner down for you, and you gave it a pass. Highly suspicious, given the fact that you hadn't eaten (apart from reward kibble) for 8 hours. I shook your food around, but you just ignored it. Your muzzle was all wet, but I didn't see you drinking water. Your paws were soaked, but you hadn't stepped in water. I stood there, warning bells starting to tinkle but still utterly confused...and then you vomited. Three times in rapid succession. Mostly mushrooms. 

Over the next half hour you drooled profusely, dry heaved and had explosive diarrhea. By the time I called the vet they had just closed, so we wrapped you in a blanket and drove to the emergency vet. You were in rough shape. You were lethargic and shaking and drooling like a faucet. I felt terrible. 
After a little research it looked like the mushrooms you ate were probably not the liver toxic ones, just mildly hallucinogenic muscarinic ones which cause a lot of drooling and vomiting/diarrhea, and maybe severe breathing problems and convulsions. Did I mention I felt terrible? 

They kept you overnight. They gave you IV fluids, anti-nausea meds, activated charcoal and tested you for all kinds of stuff. By 10:30pm they said you were drooling less and coming around a bit. At 6:20 this morning you were "back to being a puppy". 

I don't know who was more excited when were finally reunited. Sure, I didn't lick your face as much as you did mine, but my happy dance was every bit as enthusiastic. 

I can only hope that you're a quick study and that you'll leave mushrooms alone from now on. But just in case, we're going on lockdown. For the foreseeable future it's you and me kiddo, literally joined at the hip. It's not that I don't trust you, it's just that I really don't trust you. But I sure am glad you're okay.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

To: Gryffindor

You are 9 ½ weeks. Training starts today.

So far you have been a delightful little boy, with the exception of your deplorable bathroom etiquette. You are devastatingly handsome, as everyone has told you, which I suspect will get you out of more than one of life’s scrapes. You are calm and gentle, as puppies go, and you’re very, very good at hugs, kisses and cuddles. Yes, I think we picked just the perfect puppy when we found you, and I think we’ll be together for a very long time.


Buddy. You have got to figure out this potty training situation. Not to mention the leash walking fiasco. And the shoe-chewing conundrum. And the catch-me-if-you-can nonsense. But mostly, right now, I need to stop having to clean up your pee and poop from my floors eleventyseven times a day. I need that real bad.

So I will follow the trainer’s advice to the letter; only putting your food bowl down at breakfast and at dinner, taking you out to the same spot and refusing to let you have any fun until you’ve done your business, praising you up the wazoo and giving treats when you do answer the call of nature, and not letting you wander unchecked through the house, looking for virgin spaces devoid of pee smell. Life is going to get a little more prison-esque for you starting today, Griffy old pal.

But I promise, if you put your mind to it and do your very best, this phase of our lives together will not last long. Soon enough you’ll have full run of the place, you’ll be spared the indignity of being carried to “your spot” and kept under intense scrutiny while you powder your nose. Best of all, one day you and I will share a chuckle about those early days when you were so cute but so dumb, as we snuggle on the couch or hang out at the park chasing ducks. It’s going to be great. Really great.

So please, dearest boy, for love of everything holy, please get your shit together. And keep it outside.

Love: Mom