Monday, October 29, 2018

He'll never forget this.

It was a typical weekday afternoon, around one-ish. I'd been having a tough time getting Joey settled for his nap with the multiple potty trips he'd been needing to take. Running up and down the stairs was wearing me out, and I couldn't wait to sit down. In the meantime I tried to clean up the kitchen a bit. When a few quiet minutes ticked by, I dared to think maybe he'd finally gone to sleep. I started to think about what I'd do next, and in what order.

Then the silence was shattered by sounds coming from upstairs -- incomprehensible, scary sounds. There was a smacking, an arrhythmic wap! wap! wap! and Joey was crying, "Nooo! Aghhhhhh!" I'd never heard him sound so terrified, and it cut right into my heart.

No logical reason for what I was hearing presented itself in my mind, and there was no time to think. My instinct told me that it was not human. Was Joey being attacked by a poltergeist up there? I yelled, "Joey, I'm coming!" Knowing that she would make a puddle on the kitchen floor as she watched me run yelling from the room, I scooped up Willow and ran for the stairs. All the way up I heard his cries rising in panic and desperation, as the smacking relentlessly continued. "I'm coming!" I called again. I couldn't bear to think what he must be facing, and facing alone at that moment.

I was filled with dread in the moment I turned the doorknob, armed with nothing but a startled puppy, but needing to get to my helpless son. When the door swung open, two sights greeted me:

Joey's face, a mask of terror, red and tear-streaked, sobbing.

A Mylar balloon with a frowny face that Annie had drawn on, being mercilessly pummeled by the ceiling fan.

A week later, and he still brings it up from time to time. He'll probably be talking about it in therapy one day. There's never a dull moment in this house. Happy Monday, everyone!

Friday, October 19, 2018


Back during Labor Day weekend, when I posted beach pictures on Instagram, saying, "I'm not ready for summer to be over," I had no idea what a rocky September and first half of October lay ahead for me. That was probably a good thing! I am so happy to find myself in a still busy, but so much better place on the other side of the new puppy/hurricane evacuation/no school for weeks at a time/potty training madness.

We are finally having fall weather here, and it's gorgeous. It is so good for all of us to be spending time outside again.
After about two weeks straight of constantly congratulating one or the other of them for eliminating in the right place, I've finally gotten Joey and Willow both to the point of rarely having accidents. Willow seems to like her crate now, and no longer pees in it out of spite when we leave her there. She sleeps through the night, on her bed in the crate in Delaney and Annie's room, from about 9:30 to around 6 in the morning without needing to go outside. Before that she was in Tim's and my bedroom for a couple weeks, but the laundry room is not an option anymore. Willow thinks she's a person, and a very sensitive one at that, who prefers to sleep in a bedroom. And so she shall, because it makes no difference where she sleeps as long as she's in that crate and not bothering anyone. I don't know when I'll be able to say she's completely housebroken though, since I let her out so often that she never needs to let me know.
I might roll my eyes at Willow being a sensitive dog who thinks she's a human, but that quality is what makes her the perfect fit for our family and for me, especially. She is at her best when it's just the two of us here, and she follows me around and sleeps at my feet. She does the funniest little dance at the back door when she wants to be let back in. I liked our bedtime routine when she was in our room, too, and I was sad when Delaney guilted me into letting her sleep upstairs.
Delaney and I have been attending puppy obedience training at PetSmart with her, and we are two sessions down, four to go. I like the instructor and the curriculum, and I enjoy seeing the other puppies and their owners. Two goldendoodles, two German shepherds who are littermates, and Willow comprise our class. One of the goldendoodles is huge, and his legs make me think of a person in a dog costume. But it is not an entirely enjoyable experience. Last night Tim asked me how it had gone, and I said, "Well.. we had mixed results." On one hand, we had some good practice with loose-leash walking, and came away with some helpful tips for practicing at home. On the other hand, these training sessions always seem to involve vomit, either on the way in the car, or after almost an hour of constantly being rewarded with treats.. Willow gets wound up and crazy in that setting, jumping this way and that, and it's so hard to get her to even look at us. I'll be relieved when it's over, to tell the truth, and I think Delaney will be too since she's still traumatized from last week's car ride when we forgot the Dramamine (duh-duh-DUH!). The training is good for her too, as long as I can keep her focused on the task at hand and not the toys in the aisle we're practicing in. (To be clear, I'm referring to Delaney, not the dog in that last sentence.)
I am so proud of Joey and his daytime diaper-free status. He's so pleased with himself too, and so adorable in his tiny undies. He is growing up so fast, in more ways than just that. Tim mentioned to me the other day that Joey's conversational skills have really taken off, even just in the last few days. I think school has something to do with it; I notice when I'm driving him home afterward he's talking to me in a way that's very articulate. For example, he wants to tell us little stories that might go something like, "My friend kicked me and growled at me, but I didn't do anything." I have to admit that my introverted nature makes it a real challenge to keep up my end of the conversations that he's always wanting to have. Sometimes I long for silence and the ability to be alone in my own thoughts.

We celebrated Tim's 44th birthday yesterday in a very low-key busy Wednesday kind of way. After school Annie helped me make the coffee cake he'd requested and which made the house smell amazing. It's quite the splurge for the normally sugar-eschewing Tim, but your birthday only comes once a year. Once everyone was home around 5, we sat down for a quick dinner of white chicken chili, and then he and the girls went to soccer practice. He is their coach this time. After that it was happy birthday, cake and ice cream, showers, and sending hyped-up kids to bed, all in short order.
My days are spent running around after a two-year-old and a dog, failing to keep up with housework in a home full of messy kids, carving out time for online school, keeping us in clean clothes, repeatedly cleaning up the kitchen only to destroy it again, and maybe finding the time to exercise or read for fun. I barely have any time or mental energy to spare. I accomplish very little of what I set out to on any given day, and it can be frustrating. But my heart is full and I am happy, grateful for my many blessings.