Tuesday, September 29, 2009

so what if she wouldn't eat Cheerios

I need to take back every bad thing I ever said about Winnie. If she were here right now, I would take her tiny paw in my hand, look into her little brown eyes, and ask for forgiveness. But alas, I can’t. And here’s why.

A few weeks ago, Wyatt was carrying around a chicken nugget. Since he is approximately two feet tall (he isn’t even on the charts for his height), that means that his greasy little chicken nugget was dangling right about at Winnie’s eye level. Wyatt offers to share just about everything he eats but his way of sharing is to hold it out to you, you pretend to eat some, and then he eats it for real. Only tell that plan to a hungry shih-tzu.

So Wyatt is walking around with his nugget and Winnie tries to take it from him. Wyatt let out his, “I’m being eaten by a grizzly bear!” scream and in the end, there was a little bruise on his finger. A dog-tooth-shaped bruise.

It made me worry a little for the first time. I know that if my kids get a nip from the dog, it is probably because of something they should not have been doing. Kind of like, don’t pull on the dog’s tail and the dog won’t growl at you. But it’s hard to get other parents to agree with that policy. And I don’t want to explain a dog-tooth-shaped bruise to anyone else’s mom.

I thought about what the possible solutions were and I knew that my dad was the best option. So I sent him an email and he said he would gladly take Winnie. We arranged to meet over the weekend in Albuquerque and make the transfer.

This is really a hard thing for me because Winnie is six years old. That means I got her when I was like, um, cough, cough twenty three. I’ve had her since she was a tiny puppy. We’ve been together through my first teaching job, marrying Bryan, having two kids, and I thought we would grow old together. Or at least that I would bury her in a box in my backyard someday. She’s my little bud.

So the first week without her was really hard for me. I looked for her every time I went to lay on the couch – she always wanted to lay on my feet. I saved her chicken when I made dinner before I remembered that she wasn’t there to eat it. And during the day, don’t even get me started – that dog was like a Hoover vacuum, picking up all the crumbs and pieces of food that fall to the floor. I really missed her at mealtime.

I called my dad and asked how she was doing. I was hoping he would say, “She mopes all the time and lays by the door.” And maybe that he keeps finding her spelling out “I miss my mommy” with her milkbones. But, no. Instead he tells me that she is wagging her tail all the time. They go for a walk three times a day, the neighbors all have treats ready for her when they go by in the morning, he took her for a haircut and she looks so nice…

I wanted to say, “Look, old man! I know your house is like Disneyland for dogs, and that you are retired so you have nothing else to do all day but rub her belly and shop online for little dog sweaters and take her for walks, but I NEED that dog back! She picks up my crumbs and keeps my feet warm!” But I didn’t say that. Because I know that Winnie is probably pretty happy being the queen of the castle, even if that castle does smell like Old Spice deodorant and Ensure milkshakes.

Winnie, I miss you!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

break out the hand sanitizer

Our lives are fixin’ to change. (Please know that I just used a bit of local vernacular and have never uttered that word as one of my own.) But they are fixin’ to change.

Currently in our one horse town, we have a Wal-mart. Not the Super kind, just the regular kind, which are probably in danger of becoming extinct. Should this possible extinction make me sad? It doesn’t. Anyway, we go there often, as do most people in our town. We engage in a popular activity called Wal-martin’. This activity is kind of like a sport but it doesn’t have an official season – it’s all year round! You just load up the kids and head down to Wal-mart for some family fun. It’s best if you don’t have a list and just take your time browsing the aisles to see what has gotten $.12 cheaper thanks to “rollback prices.” The good news is that putting clothes on your children (especially shoes) is optional – a diaper will do, even if it is snowing outside.

The closest Super Wal-mart before was an hour away. The downside is that it’s in a town with little else to attract visitors, aside from the McDonald’s playland. And the huge Bingo parlor. But now, there is a Super Wal-mart that has opened just 45 minutes away! Think of all the gas we can save!

I hate to admit that this excites me because I am sort of anti-Wal-mart. Have you ever tried to go there and buy things only made in the USA? You probably wouldn’t have much in your cart…But nevermind that most of the goods you can purchase at Wal-mart reek of the sweat of the young Chinese children who work 16 hour days to provide us with Low Prices - Always – if I am honest, I will admit that it makes me tingly all over to think of a Super anything just 45 minutes away! Wheeee!

So next time I wake up at 3 in the morning and realize that I need some turnips, a plastic lawn chair, and a box of suppositories for the dog, I am totally in luck! Because now there is a place where I can get it all only 45 minutes away.

Now all we need is a bookstore, a Target, a decent restaurant,…

Friday, September 18, 2009

you learn something new every day

Things I’ve learned this week
1. A one year old can fit four Dora the Explorer dominoes in his mouth before he gags and hurls all over the place.
2. Whoever made up the phrase, “No use crying over spilled milk,” probably didn’t spill a half gallon under the microwave and all over the stove while they were making grilled cheese for six hungry kids.
3. If a three year old comes to you and says, “I almost about pooped my pants!” there is no use in hurrying to the bathroom because he/she probably already did.
4. Do not feed Fiber One poptarts to little kids if they are going to be staying at your house for the rest of the day. Just don’t do it.
5. And the last, best thing that I learned this week was this: the laundry can probably be done faster without the help of my two sons BUT it is more fun to let them help me in a dark laundry room, using their flashlights.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

time for a little cold turkey

I’m embarrassed to admit that Wesley, who just turned three, still has a pacifier. We try to only let him have it at night time and at nap time but he would prefer to have it all day long. I know, I know, we should have taken it away a long time ago. I tried, believe me. For a while we were doing really well. I think we also tried to convince ourselves that eventually he would just give it up on his own. Which was about as realistic as expecting a car to change its own oil.

It’s been really bothering me lately. I hate the daily fights when I try to take it away from him repeatedly. I don’t like waking up in the night because someone lost their pacifier and needs help finding it in the dark. And I probably spend, on average, 20 minutes a day looking for someone’s paci (pronounced passy) – 20 minutes that I want to reclaim and spend doing something more useful – like watching Dr. Phil. I know that the easy solution is to just take it away and go “cold turkey” for him and for Wyatt. If we don’t do something soon, Bryan will have to teach Wesley to shave with a pacifier in his mouth. It is going to be painful for all of us but I think in the end, will be so much easier.

So last night I was trying to think of some psychological trick to use and make Wesley want to give up his pacifiers. I want it to be his idea. I just don’t think the “pacifier fairy” is going to work at our house. I was watching him be nice to his baby brother and it hit me.

“Wesley, maybe it’s time to gather up all your pacifiers and Wyatt’s pacifiers and take them to the hospital. That way the nurses can give them to the brand new babies since you and Wyatt are getting to be such big boys,” I said, sure that I could convince him that tiny newborn babies in need were worthy of his pacifiers. And for a second, I can see that he is thinking about this.

Then, from the kitchen I hear Bryan shout, “Are you kidding? There is no way the nurses are going to give their old pacifiers to new babies.”

Sometimes Bryan and I are so in sync that it feels like we share a brain. And sometimes not. Perhaps we’d better discuss our stance on Santa Clause before Christmas comes along.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

vroom vroom, glug, glug

Of all the issues that come up on a daily basis, plumbing issues have to be the most fun. And thankfully, the six kids in my house every day insure that I will have plumbing issues from time to time. Like last week.

We had been having a hard time with the kids’ bathroom toilet not flushing. It would flush most of the time, but only parts of whatever was being flushed would go down. I’m gonna give you a minute to think about that….This particular toilet has been full of surprises since we bough the house. In fact, Bryan and I spent our third anniversary bailing water out of that bathroom after a little flood.

So last week it actually stopped flushing. When someone pushed the flusher thing (that’s a technical term) the water would try to go down and then overflow onto the floor, the rugs, your feet, anything. I was finally forced to call for help.

Bryan’s dad has some friends who have some plumbing experience. They were kind enough to come to our house and work on our toilet for an hour before deciding that this required professional help. Which made me want to throw up in my mouth because professional help means big money. Thinking about it, I realized that being a plumber would be great, even in a poor economy – because when your toilet is backing up and overflowing onto the floor, you are going to call a plumber no matter how little money is in the bank account.

The plumbers came and worked in the bathroom for about an hour. I was getting breakfast for the kids and couldn’t be too attentive to the men who were tracking muddy water (at least I hope that was mud…) through my house. They did catch my attention, however, when they carried the toilet past the living room and out onto the front lawn. That was when I started to sweat a little.

The kids and I all gathered at the front window and watched, open mouthed, as the two men played a sort of wrestling game with our toilet. One had his legs wrapped around the toilet and the other was using some auger thing to jam into the toilet and yank it back out. It was frightening. I began to wonder if it wouldn’t have been cheaper to just buy a new toilet.

About thirty minutes later, out of the toilet appeared a toy motorcycle. I was shocked. I mean, how would a toy motorcycle have gotten into the toilet? No, I wasn’t shocked. I find toys in the toilet all the time. I usually just grab them out when I see them (and wash them in bleach and quarantine my hand for awhile) but I will admit that any toy that goes past where I can see into the toilet might get away. I am not sticking my hand into the caverns of the toilet. Even I have my limits.

I know who put the motorcycle there – Wyatt. He is obsessed with all things toilet-related and I have to pull him out of the bathroom several times a day. I thought about keeping the little motorcycle and saving it until Wyatt is all grown up and buys his first home – and then putting it in his toilet just for fun. But in the end, I let the plumbers take the motorcycle.
But Wyatt better be careful. Because next time, I just might let them take the offender, too.