Friday, April 15, 2011

Well, y'all, we walked again this morning. I think the statistic is that you have to do something for 21 days for it to become a habit. Too bad swimming starts in 2 weeks. Oh well. One day at a time.

Girls are still a little under the weather, Livi is a potty training super star but I'm sticking close to home for now until she is 100% there. I'm hoping that in a week or 2 I will feel brave enough to start taking her out in PANTIES!!!

My mean cat is at the vet, he's suspecting renal failure. She has been really sweet and cuddly lately which is how we knew that something was very very wrong. She has lost a lot of weight in the past year too, and she wasn't really big to start with, so I don't know. Doesn't look good.

In the mornings, the Twincesses like to take a little inventory of where everyone is, and they go through the list of all the people they can think of and talk about or ask where they are. The list changes from day to day, but since my folks' visit they always say "Mimi and Papa in IOWA!!! So COLD!!!" This morning Liv said, "Mimi and Papa in IKEA!!!" I laughed out loud, and pictured my parents waking up in one of those little display bedrooms set up in the Ikea showroom. Well, at least there is a restaurant there. It really wouldn't be a bad place to live. And Olivia certainly loves it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

We Interrupt This Silence With an Actual Blog Post

Ahem. Where were we then? Ah, yes. I was ignoring you. Sorry about that. No excuse really, just chasing the Lovelies and trying to maintain all things non-Lovely. But things are good.

The girls are just EXPLODING with language and, almost overnight, they developed this ability to role-play, which is fascinating to watch. Well, it's fascinating to me at least, to see them rock their baby dolls and play the role of "Mama." What a mirror they hold up, when I hear my words coming out of their little mouths, when Liv stumbles and Soph says, "You okay, Livi? You bump your head? I kiss it?" Or when Liv feeds her doll and I hear her murmuring "Yum, yum, baby. It yummy chicken for you. Careful, baby. No chicken on floor." My favorite are the unsolicited "Bless you" "'Scuse me!" and "I sorry"'s.

So sweet.

But there's a darker side to these two little echos.

And it really bothers me to hear it.

Coda was a really good dog. People were always telling me what a sweet boy he was, and he was super high on our priority list. He was secure. He was loved. He was maybe even a little spoiled.

But things change. Our friends who had dogs that pre-dated their kids warned us: Just wait. Your poor dog will be so low on the ladder you won't even believe it. He will fall completely off the radar. He won't be your baby anymore. He will be so neglected.

It was hard to imagine, before that moment when we crossed the threshold into the house for the first time, carrying two impossibly tiny bundles. But the reality set in. Coda was big. Clumsy. Loud. Hairy. With huge sharp teeth. Our sweet boy was a threat. A menace. Demanding time and energy that we simply did not have.

And if you've watched 60 seconds of The Dog Whisperer, you know how these things go. A dog who is not exercised develops discipline issues. Becomes antsy, underfoot, needy, pent-up. It's not his fault. It's his nature. And this, over time, let to me beg dearest to do SOMETHING. Because it was more than I could stand. I wanted to get rid of the dog.

And the way the kids talk to him, snap at him, is hard to hear. My own harsh words, ones I would NEVER direct at the girls, ones I NEVER wanted them to hear, were thrown at the dog on a daily basis. And I feel a pang of guilt at the lesson I am teaching them, and at how unfair the whole thing is to Coda. I don't want them to think it's okay to be ugly and unkind towards any living thing, no matter what a pain in the ass it is sometimes.

So this morning I decided to make a change. Even though I had 100 excuses not to. Even though the girls are under the weather, and the dog is nearly impossible to get on the leash without knocking me over in his frenzied excitement, even though it's starting to get hot in the mornings and swim lessons start in 2 weeks so it won't be practical to maintain. Today, the girls climbed into their stroller, I grabbed a tennis ball and wrangled Coda on to his leash. And we walked. And I told him what a good boy he is. We went all the way to the open field and I let him run until he couldn't run any more. The girls and I complemented his fetching, and when we got home I let the girls give him a treat and he collapsed into a spent and happy heap under the table.

Not promising I am going to do this every day, but I am taking control over my relationship with this dog. And I think it's going to be better for all of us.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled silence.