Saturday, April 9, 2011

Talk to the Paw, Mama!


I know the whole seven dog years to each human year theory, but I think it also changes depending on the breed and size of the dog. Sebastian is about four months old now, so that’s about three years in human years. So I have a six year old that is currently trying to trick the tooth fairy, a four year old that wants everything the six year old has, including loose teeth, a two year old that is finding the freedom of a big boy bed to be pretty cool, even if it’s 3:00am, and to add to the mix, I have a three year old that can sit, lay, fetch of he wishes to, come if he feels like it and basically says, ‘talk to the paw, Mama!’

Sebastian went from this cuddly, fuzzier than anything on earth, sweet, little puppy to this kid like creature that just walks around saying, ‘NO,’ because it’s his new favorite word. Sebastian, Come. NO! Sebastian, COME! HA HA! NO NO NO! As a matter of fact, come now means, better yet, run the other way. That is unless you are my husband. Just as our children have done over the years, our puppy has decided to switch who he needs and chooses to listen to most. For the first several weeks I was the Alpha Male in the house because as a stay at home mom and the maternal being, I was here the most and he was quickly mama’s boy. Then Jeff stopped traveling for a few weeks and now Sebastian has decided Jeff is the Alpha Male after all and the only one worth hearing.

Jeff had to travel for one night earlier this week and Sebastian and I stayed up a little late to mimic Jeff’s schedule a bit. But once I got Sebastian in his crate and settled for the night, he just sat, stared at the bedroom door and cried. And cried. And whined and cried some more. He had just been outside, but I thought maybe he wasn’t done with his outdoor duties; after all, there are still tulips to be eaten. But usually when he has to go out, he circles the crate, lies down and circles again. This time he was just staring at the door and crying.

I’m a mother, so I know the importance of what they call Kangaroo Care. Mothers and fathers hold babies against their naked chest so the baby can feel the warmth, smell their scent and hear their heartbeat; much like a baby kangaroo in a mama’s pouch. Often times when a new mother has to leave her baby, the care giver will hold the baby against their chest so the baby can still hear a heartbeat as they did in the mother’s womb. It also helps to wear a shirt that belongs to the mother or use it for the baby to lie on so the baby still smells their mother’s scent. Earlier that day, Jeff had worked in the basement and had put his t-shirt in the dirty clothes basket. I got his dirty shirt and put it in the crate with the dog that very promptly lie down on the shirt and fell asleep. Our annoying but oh so cute little puppy showed me he is very attached to his Daddy!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Toddlerhood/Puppyhood

We all know if we add the word ‘hood’ to another word, it makes it all the more exciting. Sure, parent is fun, but parenthood is exciting, a neighbor is great, but a neighborhood is eventful. Childhood is a segment of life broken into many other smaller segments, like the toddler stage or that new phrase, the tween era. We don’t have a tween…yet. But we have a six y ear old, a four year old and two toddlers. One walks on four legs and the other just throws a lot of things really utilizing those opposable thumbs. Sebastian, our ten week old Saint Bernard puppy is the one that walks on all fours, pees on anything and eats everything. It’s the furry four legs that keep me from confusing the two because now that I think about it, my son will pee on anything he can take apart first and I still have to stop him from putting things in his mouth every now and then.

I am on my toes daily, gracefully pirouetting from one big mess to the next; or from one potential disaster to a disaster I just missed. But I am sleeping at night, which is a big deal because two weeks ago I was lying in front of a dog crate holding a puppy’s paw to keep his cries from waking my children. Sleep is good. It gives me the energy to chase disasters during the day. I just started sleeping after six years of nightly naps, and I’m pretty sure it’s my new favorite hobby. I’m not a ballerina by any means, but having three kids anyway, I have almost mastered multitasking and staying on my toes.

We’ve only had Sebastian for about two weeks and I constantly hear myself saying no and drop it. Once I said, ‘No, we don’t eat the baby.’ That was the day we signed him up for puppy class! We’re excited to see him learn all kinds of new things and hope it all comes quick! I’m tired of two toddlers; I think it’s time for one of them to grow up. It’s amazing the similarities between the two: They both sleep in some kind of crate looking thing, I have to clean up the poop they both drop, if it’s in sight, it must be okay to pee upon, there is no such thing as a five second rule, three minute rule or three day rule, only nothing last on the floors for three days around here. I know dogs grow so much faster than humans, so I am hoping to get this little guy on speed growth pretty soon so I’m back to only the toddler I birthed.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Newborn....again



Welcome home sweet little baby. You are so cute, so sweet, so cuddly and lovable. I will love you forever and ever – or until you keep me up all night long.
We decided in January to get a puppy. The kids have wanted one for a long time and my husband, well; he’s a guy, and I think dogs just further increase manhood, so he’s wanted one longer. Our Saint Bernard was supposed to arrive home on February 14th – just in time to say I love you! I had about three weeks to get the house in order, the kids ready, the cats prepared and all the pre-spring cleaning I could do because I knew it would be at least six weeks before I saw a broom again. On February 4th, we got a phone call from the breeder telling us the puppy had seen the vet, Mom was done nursing and we could get him whenever we wanted.
I wasn’t done nesting! My closets were still filled with clutter that I knew would only grow once we added a dog to the mix. There is logic there, but you’d have to be me to understand it. My husband told me to wait a few days and then go get him, but as he was telling me that, I was telling the breeder we’d be right down to pick him up. I was like a kid in a candy store. “You mean, I can take my enormous lollipop home – TODAY? Squeeeee!!!” So we scrapped our dinner plans we’d had with my mother to celebrate her birthday, and instead, being the loving being she is, she helped us by going to the pet store to buy dog food and dog bowls.
I was taken back to the week before our first daughter was born. You know, that time when you read every magazine and talk to every mother you know to find out what you should pack for the hospital, and instead of taking a few ideas from each person, you are sending your husband out to the store with three pages of things you just know you’ll need from magazines (because you’ll be so bored) to lollipops (because they don’t let you eat – ever) and new underwear because you don’t realize the hospital provides those really neat webbed underwear. I suddenly realized this puppy would need to eat and though he might like Cheerios and fruit snacks, they weren’t the best choice for a pure bred Saint Bernard puppy. But I had no clue what was appropriate. Then I realized I had no place for him to sleep, nothing for him to chew on except small children and I was certain that wasn’t appropriate and then lastly, it hit me that the only thing I knew was that I didn’t know anything. It was like the adoption agency called me the day I said I might be interested in adopting a baby and said, we have one, come and get it. Sure I’ve had dogs before, but I also had parents that took care of all of the extra crap that goes with having a dog. And I’ve never had a dog with children, and I’ve never had a dog in the suburbs, and when do they get neutered, and when will he need his shots, and just how big is big, and oh my gosh, whose idea was this anyway? Breathe, just breathe….
My mom has dogs, so I left the necessities to her and trusted that she wouldn’t come home with fruit snacks and a fish bowl. She didn’t fail me. She even let us borrow her crate. Wait…crate! This is new. My dogs were never crated. We just let them run wild. In fact, I once had a Yorkie that tore up an entire Sunday Denver Post and then made sure it covered every carpeted surface of our apartment. It’s obvious I didn’t know a thing about dogs.
Good grief am I a little high strung or what? Jeff laughs at all the scenarios that go through my head, but it is just how I think.
Once all the issues are figured out, we head to Aurora to get our new puppy. He is the cutest thing ever and all my worries go away. All he needs is a little love, some food and a good home, right? We get him home, which was a feat in itself because he wouldn’t sit still on my lap, and then he hid under Arwen’s bench seat in the back of the van for the rest of the drive. Jeff was so patient when he had to pull over so I could sit in the back and make sure he was safe. When we get home, my mom greets us with food bowls, food and the crate which she sets up for us and trains us in the crate training process. It’s pretty late by the time we are all settled and the kids head to bed after shedding lots of tears about leaving our new Sebastian Bach all alone in a crate in the living room. Little did they know!
By the time Jeff and I were ready for bed, I of course, was not ready to leave the dog. But I also knew moving the crate up and down the stairs each day would be too difficult to manage. So I slept on the floor….in front of the crate….with my hand in the crate and the puppy’s chin on my hand most of the night. There was a span of about two hours that I was able to roll away from him and snooze, but basically, as I did with all of my new babies, I was up all night making him feel secure, loved and worrying about his future – and mine because sleepless nights wasn’t really on my agenda.
After two nights of this, I crashed and left Jeff to lie in front of the crate offering support to the sleeping puppy that was probably laughing at us because he has us beat after only three days. I had no idea having a new puppy was so exhausting. On top of not sleeping at night, I had to take him outside to potty every thirty minutes – in the cold and February snow, keep him from biting the kids with those shark like puppy teeth, and make the cats feel loved. My love was spread pretty thin by day three. On day four, a friend brought us her crate so I could sleep in my room again, and suddenly Sebastian started sleeping through the night….then the toddler phase began.