Category Archives: pets

Yup, I’m Still Human

I’ve had a hectic year. I spent most of it playing a work-from-home single mom. And then in the fall, I became an unemployed single mom. And now in December, I’ve rejoined the workforce as a full-time working, quasi single mom. (Trust me, I’m counting down the days until my husband’s travel schedule has nothing on it–for now.)

My first week returning to an office job was a little rough. My life as a solo parent/head of household only worked because it was programmed down to the minute. Consequently, an unexpected 15-minute delay was enough to practically derail my whole day. So, working through the kinks of a new schedule is fairly painful.

For example, I’ve never been what I call a morning “miller.” I never got up and milled around, drinking a cup of coffee, reading the paper, or watching the morning news before I got going with my day. I have always been a get-up-and-get-out-the-door kind of person. Not possible anymore.

I have figured out that I need to build in a 15- to 20-minute buffer of sorts if I want to (a) actually have a few minutes to speak with my child before herding him out the door and (b) have enough time to deal with unforeseen time sucks, such as missing keys, uncooperative dog and/or child, and major messes (like the extra grande, extra full coffee mug that tipped over, spilling sticky, flavored coffee all over my counter, my stove, my floor, and me yesterday morning).

And I’ve definitely had a couple of why-am-I-doing-this-again moments. The big one was the same morning as the coffee incident. That morning I also tore the house apart twice looking for my office security key (to no avail), the dog refused to eat or leave the back deck to do his thing, and I dropped the brand new roll of tin foil, which of course completely unraveled across my kitchen floor. (Have you ever tried to put tin foil back on a roll? Yeah, not going to happen.)

With all the mini crises, I barely took a second to look at my child much less smile at him. I nearly cried when stopped at a traffic light, I looked in the rear view mirror and he was totally silent, with this look of what-the-heck-is-wrong-with-my-mom on his cute little face. The killer was the dog had a similar look on his mug and had  laid his head down on the crumb cruncher’s lap, almost in reassurance that my craziness, too, shall pass. I totally felt like the worst mom ever.

But the next day was better, so I was reassured that I would figure out a way to make it all happen because somehow moms always do. And by the end of the week, I felt pretty in control of my new schedule and could let myself feel as excited as I wanted to be about my new job.

By Saturday I felt nearly invincible. I had taken my weekday efficiency measures into the weekend. Baby and I went to the gym; turbo shopped in Target, knocking a ton of stuff off our Christmas to-give lists; dropped the dog off at doggy day care; had brunch with our cousins; went grocery shopping; retrieved dog; and was home a little after 3pm. I was pretty proud of myself.

I let the crumb cruncher loose in the backyard with the dog, thinking how lucky we were to have a fenced in yard, as I put away my groceries. How great was it to have a place for him to play where I could keep an eye on him and yet still take care of everything I needed to take care of? Not to mention that I had just powered my way through a super productive day. It was as if life itself was telling me, “You got this, girl,” when it came to dealing with all the craziness of my life.

Almost.

As I was putting away some dishes, I thought I heard a cry. So, I took a closer look out the patio doors. There was the dog pretty much dragging my child across the yard by his hood. Face down. Funny how life has a way of reminding you just how human you are.

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Filed under daily life, pets, working mom

Diary of a Diaper-Eating Doberman

If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you know my dog eats a lot, and specifically a lot of things he shouldn’t eat. Twice his strange eating behavior has landed him at the emergency vet and once he even had to have a scope to remove the foreign object from his stomach. So far his menu of banned items includes countless baby socks, two leather-soled baby booties swallowed whole, a seat belt, and most recently a diaper.

I never really worried about him eating diapers before because we have a Diaper Champ, which not only keeps dirty diapers from fouling up baby’s room but also keeps them safe from thieving Dobermans. But every once in awhile, I’d get lazy or forget and just chuck a dirty diaper in a regular trash receptacle. Now my dog will never let me live that mistake down.

I thought he was being good, chewing on the bone that I had just given him. But that was not the case, as I soon found white papery chunks littered around my living room. Upon inspection, I found that the dog had eaten the crotch clean out of what had obviously been a dirty diaper. I just kept imagining super absorbent diaper bits getting bigger and bigger in his digestive tract and knew that couldn’t be good. Fortunately, I was able to get a couple neighbors to take shifts watching the baby while I drove out the emergency vet to get the dog’s stomach pumped. The whole way I was kicking myself for not putting the damn diaper in the Diaper Champ.

So, with another lesson painfully learned, here’s a little poem in honor of the antidote to diaper-eating Dobermans:

Ode to the Diaper Champ

When I put you on my registry
I wasn’t sure you’d please me
Or if I really needed you
To stash all the baby poo

But wet, full, or just slightly damp
There’s a reason you’re the Diaper Champ

Baby’s britches are a hot mess
We’ve definitely put you to the test
You’ve kept the room from stinking
Which is why I’m totally thinking

Wet, full, or just slightly damp
There’s a reason you’re the Diaper Champ

Bring on the diaper blow out
You make it easy to throw out
A week’s worth of dirty underoos
Without leaving smelly clues

Wet, full, or just slightly damp
There’s a reason you’re the Diaper Champ

Not only can I use my own sack
But you keep the dog from a tasty snack
Of diapers, dirty, ripe, and wet
And ending up at the E.R. vet

Wet, full, or just slightly damp
There’s a reason you’re the Diaper Champ

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Filed under babies, babyproofing, diapers, pets

All Boy From Here On Out

This morning I came face to face with the reality that I have a boy not a baby on my hands.

We were on our way out the door. I need to put the stroller in the car, so I set the not-so-wee one down in the driveway while I started folding down the third row of seats in my car. I figured he’d maybe toddle into the garage and annoy the dog for a minutes. I got one seat down, popped the stroller in the back of the car, and turned around to grab the baby to hoist him into his car seat. My dog was standing right next to me, but no baby. A little panic flared up, but I quickly convinced myself that he hadn’t gone far.

Turns out he had wandered over to my mom’s little shade garden. No biggie. And actually he looked kind of cute playing in among all the plants. But as I looked at him, something wasn’t right. His hair was soaking wet. I took two more steps closer to him and realized that it wasn’t just his hair; both his jacket and pants were soaked. My child–yes, the one that just a half hour before had had a bath–had found the sprinkler.

But it wasn’t just that his once-dry clothes were now sopping wet. No, just sticking his hands and face into the sprinkler wasn’t quite enough. A medium sized pool of mud and dirt had collected around the base of the sprinkler and my child was sitting, splashing in it. Of course that looked like loads of fun, so the dog jumped in.

I’m totally running late, so I run over and grab the kid, taking him far, far away from the sprinkler. He was covered in head-to-toe mud, so I started stripping my just-bathed child down in the middle of the driveway. I took off his jacket and threw it on the ground. I started shimmying off his pants when the dog stole the jacket and ran circles around me with it hanging out of his mouth. So now I’m chasing the dog around the driveway and my filthy offspring is toddling around behind me, one thunder thigh still in his pants and the other bare. Somehow he wriggled his one leg free of the pantleg and took off toward the house just as I nab the jacket from the dog. Looking for more fun times, the dog bounded toward him. The kid basically turned right into the dog, losing his balance, and face planting into the cement garage floor.

I collect my bawling child, tie up the dog, and head to the car; I am 20 minutes late at this point. I put my kid in the car seat– soakied onesie, dirt-filled shoes, and all–and realize that with his tumble we’ve now added blood to this mix of dirt and water. His cheek was swollen and crosshatched with scratches. I couldn’t believe he’d already stopped crying.

Needless to say, hot mess pretty much sums the whole ridiculous situation up. The one redeeming part was that I fortunately had a set of dry clothes in a diaper bag stashed in the car, so I was able to change him in the church parking lot. (Classy.) And I was able to clean up the blood and dirt on his face with a baby wipe. But there wasn’t much I could do about the dirt caking his feet. It’s safe to say this little boy is definitely all boy.

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Filed under boys, daily life, moms, pets, photos

Everything I Know About Child Rearing I Learned from My Dog

I have a bad dog. He jumps on the furniture; he clobbers guests when they walk in the door; he barks uncontrollably at random objects like brooms and mops; he pulls on the leash; he howls in his crate every time I leave the house; he steals things from the baby and then eats them; and, if you haven’t guessed, he doesn’t listen all that well, if at all at times.

Student or sage?

Part of it is his age–he’s still a 10-month-old puppy–and part of it is that he’s just a hard-headed Doberman. (Sometimes he’s even a butt head, as one dog expert calls him.) But because he’s still incredibly lovable despite his foibles, I spend the time and the dough nearly every week to work with a trainer–Rachel Jones of K-9 Divine–to help him become a better dog. Better is of course the key word.

While Zus still has a ways to go before becoming a certified canine good citizen, the training totally helps. I really feel like once he’s through his teenage years, rife with rebellion, I’m probably going to have a really well trained dog on my hands.

But we’re not there yet, so there’s still a lot of work to be done. But in pursuing this obedience training, I’ve learned a thing or five about dogs that I think have made me a better parent.

  1. Schedules are a sanity saver. Yes, my dog has a schedule. It’s not as strict as baby’s, but there is a framework in place. Like baby, Zus has a wake-up time, scheduled activities (usually a Kong stuff with treats and peanut butter or a bone), naps/quiet time in his crate, exercise and play periods, and meals. Having a routine solves a bunch of issues, but the biggest one is that it keeps the dog occupied so he’s not doing stupid stuff like eating baby booties out of boredom or anxiety. I totally believe the same is true for children. While I don’t advocate a super strict routine, a stable one really goes far for my wee one. He learns to know what to expect, so there are fewer meltdowns over taking a nap or eating dinner. And when the dog/kid isn’t melting down, the likelihood of mom melting down diminishes rapidly.
  2. Parents have to be on the same page. When training a dog, especially in the early stages, it’s critical that joint owners subscribe to the same training method. For example, it’s not fair to expect a dog to respond correctly to both owners if one says “sit” and the other says “sit down.” The owners need to use exactly the same commands and also adhere to the same rules (is the dog allowed on the couch or not?) to really be able to give your dog a shot at being obedient. Similarly, parents need to figure out what the house rules are and both abide by them if their children are to respect them. It’s not going to work all that well if one parent is a stickler about naps and the other could care less, for example.
  3. Practice makes perfect. My trainer says it takes an average dog about 100 times of responding to a command correctly to truly master it. I don’t know how long it takes for children–sometimes I feel like its fewer than 100 repetitions and sometimes I feel like it’s 10x more–but my theory is that if you want your children to do something without a struggle every time, parents need to keep modeling the appropriate behavior. (I saw this in action on Super Nanny, an ABC reality series where Super Nanny Jo Frost helps desperate parents regain control of their children.) For example, you don’t try to reason with a child about going to bed. You go through the bedtime routine, then it’s lights out, and then if they continue to get out of bed, you take them by the hand and walk them back to their beds. Repeat until they realize that they aren’t going to get to stay up.
  4. Most of the time I’m the problem. There have been points in my dog training career where I’ve gotten frustrated with my dog because he was failing to obey my commands. However, what I learned was that most of the time he wasn’t obeying my commands because I wasn’t articulating them correctly to him. For instance, the dog wouldn’t immediately sit down when I asked him to do so. Turns out, without realizing it, I was telling him to sit down twice without giving him enough time to complete the action after the first time I gave him the command. So, several weeks later, he wouldn’t respond to me until I said the command twice; I had unknowingly created a habit. I imagine that parents can often assume that their kids know what they, as parents, expect from their children. But I would venture a guess that maybe that’s not always the case. So, I think as parents we need to not only be explicit in our direction but also patient in allowing our kids to process it and react before we jump all over them. Otherwise the original message lost because we’re interrupting its transmission.
  5. Don’t get emotional during conflict. Admittedly, this is not one of my strong suits. In periods of high stress, my dog really knows how to push my buttons and I have definitely lost it. But I backed off on yelling at him early after I realized that when I yelled at him he sometimes peed on the floor out of a mixture of excitement and fear. I had enough baby spit up and poopy diapers to clean up that doggy piddle was just too much, so I figured out that if the dog stole something and I wanted it back, the best thing to do was not to yell, chase, or try to tackle the dog to get it back. I simply turned and went into the kitchen, got a treat, and nonchalantly walked over to wherever he was and in a very nice voice asked him to sit down. Inevitably he dropped the stolen object and I gave him a treat. It’s classic positive reinforcement technique, and I believe that it’s pretty effective with people, too. Basically, you ignore the bad behaviors and reward the good behaviors.

This definitely isn’t rocket science, but I totally found it interesting that responsible dog training had so many similarities with good parenting. I am not suggesting that children are like dogs, or should be treated as such, but I do think there are some fundamental communication skills that are applicable across relationships with dogs and humans.

I think it’s safe to say that at this stage in the obedience cycle, I’m pretty sure Zus has taught me at least as much, if not more, than I’ve taught him.

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Filed under newbie parents, parenting, pets

A Lesson in Babyproofing

Yes, I am alive, although you probably couldn’t tell from my lack of posts. I’ve just been insanely busy with a big annual project for work. It’s one of the projects that you feel like you’ve accomplished something after all is said and done but the getting there isn’t pretty. So, at any rate, whatever time I’ve had over the past two weeks has been spent on that rather than writing, cleaning my house, walking my dog, or paying my bills. But I’m getting caught up.

Of course to this stress, overload, and near chaos, you’ve got to add drama. You know, the kind of thing you never see coming, but once it hits it totally derails you, because Lord knows you’re just hanging on by a thread as it is. My black swan left me sitting at the emergency vet at midnight on a Friday night with an estimated bill for $7,000.

The day started spiraling out of control around 5pm. My dad and his friend had stopped into town on their way back from Florida, so we thought it would be fun to drive out to Annapolis for soft shell crab. I decided we should throw the dog in the truck with us since the alternative was leaving him in his crate, where he would no doubt howl for much of the day, pissed that we left him alone. But because it had rained for most of the afternoon, he wasn’t able to get out of the car for a nice stroll around town.

Needless to say, when we got back home, he was a crazy dog. Between little exercise and new people in the house, he was almost literally climbing the walls. So, I went into turbo treat mode, doing some training exercises with him to keep him occupied.

After about 30 minutes of him doing a great job lying down and staying while I fed the baby, I released him with my usual, “OK!” Once off command, he just lost it, doing laps around the house and jumping on my house guess. But I figured he’d chill after a few minutes. So, I went to the fridge, took out some snacks, put them on the counter, and looked over to see the dog standing under the baby chair. Curious to know what the baby dropped that he was now scarfing down, I walked over and grabbed his nose, opening his mouth. I looked inside to find nada. Weird, I though, I could have sworn he looked like he was eating something.

And then I saw them. My kid’s feet. No shoes.

Are you kidding me? was my first thought. There’s no way the dog could have in all of 30 seconds gotten both moccasins off and eaten them. Or could there? A quick scan around the room showed no evidence of any shredded baby bootie.

Nowali no more!

So, what to do. I was pretty confident the dog had swallowed the darn things whole. I mean, he had eaten baby socks before. And fortunately they had passed, as I found them in the backyard during a morning poop patrol. But these were more like shoes than socks; they had a soft leather sole, for god’s sake. I had my doubts about whether that could get squeezed out the other end in one piece.

And given my drama with my lovely Joey, who went to doggy heaven after failing to recover from surgery–he had an intestinal blockage after ingesting stuffing from a toy–I was so not ready to go through that with Zus. I was not going to wait it out to see if he could pass two booties because I had serious doubts if it was doggily possible. So, I called the vet and explained to the front desk attendant what had happened. She told me to bring Zus in and they would induce vomiting; usually if it has been less than 4 hours since the object was ingested, the vomiting gets it out.

Four hours? He ate the booties 45 minutes ago, so we’re golden, I thought. So, Zus and I arrive at the vet and they take him to the back to give him morphine to induce vomiting. From my private waiting room, I can hear him vomit and all the vet techs cheer. The vet on duty comes in to tell me that the crisis was averted; he vomited up the bootie.

But what about the other one, I asked.

Uh oh. Four more vomit inductions later and no second bootie. The vet came back in and told me we had two options:

  1. We could send a scope down his esophagus with a claw thing on the end to try and retrieve the bootie carnival game style, or
  2. We could do surgery to remove the object

The scope sounded good to me right up until the vet said that sometimes the scope is unsuccessful, so the dog ends up needing surgery anyway–and oh by the way, the estimate for that option was $7,000. If knowing that my dog was sick wasn’t enough to make me cry, hearing that was.

Choices, choices. Do the less invasive procedure that may not work and end up basically sinking a good chunk of the money we had saved for a basement renovation into the dog or do the surgery and take the lumps to the bank account earlier and get over with. (I had asked about the likelihood of him passing it or vomiting it up on his own later. Needless to say I felt like a total jerk for asking that after she responded, “It’s not likely. We’ve got a dog dying in the back right now from that now.”)

I opted for the scope and hoped for the best, although I definitely let out a few whimpers on my drive home. I couldn’t believe I was back at the emergency vet with my puppy–again. I was pissed at myself for letting my kid have shoes on. I mean, I don’t let him wear socks because the dog steals them, but I’ve never had a problem with the shoes before; they stay on very well–or at least they had. And I was scared that I was going to lose another great dog.

Fortunately the gods were smiling on me because the scope proved successful and the bootie was fished out of the dog’s stomach sans problème. But the whole experience taught me something about babyproofing–sometimes you need to babyproof the baby. So, babies go barefoot or they don’t go at all in this house. Good thing summer’s just around the corner.

Doggone Dog!

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Filed under babies, baby shoes, babyproofing, infants, pets

Where Sleeping Dogs Lie

As a mommy, you learn to pick your battles. However, for me, between the baby and the puppy, I’m pretty sure I’m losing every one that I can even muster up the energy to try and fight.

Case in point was my trip this morning to the doggy dentist. Yes, that’s right, I’ve got a knack for picking animals that end up needing expensive, specialist care. My six-month-old puppy now has something close to veneers on four of his front teeth.

Incidentally, I was informed this morning by a colleague that February was Pet Dental Month. Whoops, I guess I missed that and any possible discount that doggy dentists in my area might be offering.

At any rate, the appointment was for 8:30am–prime rush hour for D.C. And I was totally late getting out the door.

I attribute my inability to get anywhere on time these days to events similar to the ones I found myself dealing with this morning. First, baby woke up later than usual. And for some reason, I always feel I can’t leave the house without baby getting something in his belly, which always takes longer than I think it’s going to take. Then the cleaning lady, who I adore, showed up and wanted to dote on baby for a few minutes. (I may or may not have ripped him out of her arms as I ran out the door.) When I get baby and dog out to the car, I realize that my wonderful hubby never secured the dog barrier or the spare tire floating around in the back of the truck, so I had to try and work minute magic on some ratchet straps to fit the dog in. (And I’m not so good with the ratchet straps, I have to admit.) Then there was the pit stop at the other car to grab the umbrella stroller that I conveniently forgot to bring into the house the night before. Did I mention the construction happening on and all around my street?

At any rate, I’m on the road (finally) and just as I start to think, “Gee, I might make the appointment,” traffic comes to a screeching halt. Literally. The dog pretty much goes flying into the dog barrier thing that’s supposed to sequester him in the back of the truck so he doesn’t clobber the baby; it collapses down on him. As I look in the rear view mirror, all I see is a giant nose and two giant paws hanging over the backseat.

Crap.

Next thing I hear is baby making some mildly irritated noises. I crane my neck around to find this:

big dog + small baby = hysterical mommy

The 50+ lb dog is literally curled up on top of the baby in his car seat. I start yelling for him to get off and trying to wildly reach around to grab him by his collar and yank him off the baby. My monkey arms prove to be too short. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the dog slinking down further into the baby seat, further out of my frantic reach.

Now, I’m in bumper to bumper traffic, there’s no good place to pull off, and I’m nearly losing it on the dog when I get a small moment of clarity: The baby’s not crying and the dog isn’t moving. In fact, when I swivel my head around again, I see baby taking his fingers and poking the dog in the nose and giggling to himself. I’m the one who’s flipping out for apparently no reason.

So, I say screw it (or something like it) and keep on trucking. I guess that’s how we roll these days.

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Filed under babies, baby travel, daily life, family, infants, moms, parenting, pets, travel

Two Windows into One World

Sometimes I wonder how my life would appear if it was played out on a big screen. I think tonight’s scene would’ve been best captured with a split screen.

First, the good stuff happening upstairs…

Baby was getting very close to figuring out that whole crawling thing. Guess mom needs to get going on baby proofing.

Meanwhile, the not-so-good stuff happening downstairs…

Sadly, that was after we’d been to the dog park. I guess he was excited to watch the Westminster Dog Show.

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Filed under babies, child development, crawling, daily life, family, infants, pets, Uncategorized

What’s for Dinner

Just a quick catalog of the things that each of us has put in his (or in my case, her) mouth yesterday:

The baby…

  • Boob
  • Bottle
  • Index finger
  • Baby food
  • Infant ibuprofen (for teething pain and the slight fever he was running)
  • Rice cracker
  • Teething biscuit
  • The ear of a stuffed Tigger
  • Rattle/teether
  • Valentine’s Day card

The dog…

  • Rice and dog food
  • Dog treats (including Milkbones, rawhide bones, and a BBQ pig’s ear)
  • Rice cracker
  • Teething biscuit
  • The tail of a stuffed Tigger
  • Baby socks
  • Baby blanket
  • Baby hat
  • The nanny’s hat
  • Baby bottle
  • Baby book
  • Rattle/teether
  • Valentine’s Day card
  • Workman’s glove
  • Frozen dead rat (I wish I was joking)

Me…

  • Medium D&D chai
  • 16 chocolate covered pretzels
  • 1 brownie
  • Pear
  • Glass of orange juice (a feeble attempt to ward off a cold)
  • Half a glass of boxed red wine (about all I could handle before I fell asleep on the couch way too early)

Yup, that about sums it up for me these days.

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Filed under daily life, feeding, pets

Run, Momma, Run

Anyone who knew me in high school or college probably knew me, among other things, as a runner. I loved to run. Rain or shine, sleet or snow–and there was a lot of snow in Upstate New York–I would lace up my Nike trainers and hit the road to pound out some miles.

I kept up my running even out of college, logging miles in as wonderful places as Paris, London, and Washington, D.C., where I eventually made my home. Then something happened. One day I ran 11 miles–I was in training for a medium-distance event–and when I finished something had changed in me. It was the furthest I had ever run, and I should have been really proud of myself and confident that I was ready for my race. But I couldn’t shake this one thought: Where was I going so fast? Nowhere.

And that was it. I never really enjoyed running much after that. I still stayed active, but I never really ran again. I got into other things–kick boxing, yoga, weight training, etc.–but my daily run had turned into a trudge. I started to dread it and eventually hated it so much that I pretty much stopped running altogether.

I think I hit that point about six years ago. Hard to believe it’s been that long. But something happened a couple of weeks ago that may have flipped the switch back again.

I wasn’t able to get to the gym one morning, so I had missed the window of in-gym daycare. (I hate when that happens.) The dog was going nuts, as he’d been cooped up all day. And I was short on time. So, I had an idea. I’d throw the kid in the stroller, the dog on the leash and take off for the smart, newly rubberized track just down the block. I had 30 minutes, so I figured I could pound out 3 miles before I had to be back home.

Okay, so that was a bit optimistic. Between getting the stroller up and down the stairs to the track, keeping the dog from getting tangled up in the stroller, and stopping for doggy potty breaks–and if I’m perfectly honest, I’m a heck of a lot slower than I used to be–I only squeezed in two miles. But it was the most enjoyable two miles I’ve gone in a long, long time.

I think it was more fun than I was expecting it to be for a few reasons. First, I was under no self-inflicted pressure to go fast. I know I’m so out of running shape–and shape, in general–that I just wanted to get out and run around rather than reach a certain goal.

Second, I love my dog more when he’s tired. Remember I have a soon-to-be-six-months-old Dobie puppy that needs a lot (a lot!) of exercise or he’s a terror. And boy was he tired after our little jog. When we got home, he grabbed a few laps of water and went right to the living room to take a multi-hour snooze, leaving the house in order for a small moment in time.

But I think the reason I most enjoyed my run was this:

On your mark, get set, sleep!

See, my kid is not much of a napper, particularly in the afternoons, so anything I can do to get him to get some shuteye during the day, I will do. The alternative is a slow meltdown that begins in the late afternoon and crescendos around 6pm when he’s sobbing between bites of food and rubbing what food has missed his mouth into his eyes. But a few laps around the old track and goodnight; baby’s eyelids start sliding shut as soon as the stroller’s tires hit track.

So, while I don’t think I’ll ever be the runner I once was, the fact that I’m even remotely liking it again is a stride in the right direction in my book. I’m looking at running now as the ultimate multitasking tool–it gets me exercised while tiring both the baby and puppy out, making for a much more pleasant day all around. The fact that I’m able to accomplish these major tasks with in fell swoop or 12 around the track makes me appreciate running and dare I say enjoy it more than I have in a good long time.

Even the fact that I’m running on a track, which I used to absolutely hate, makes no difference to me anymore. In fact, it makes getting out and doing it that much easier. I don’t have to plan a route, I don’t have to negotiate uneven sidewalks and curbs, and I don’t have to stop for stoplights. The track is now efficient rather than boring.

About the only thing that’s been able to deflate my newly rekindled joy of running of late was that a man started yelling at me during my last run, telling me I couldn’t have the dog on the track. (For the record, my dog was running on the grass next to the track.) Given that there are no signs posted to that effect–in fact, there’s a sign at the entrance to the track area that says dogs must be leashed–I took a chance that whatever authority the man screaming at me had came with absolutely no power and just kept on running. Try and catch me, fat boy!

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Filed under babies, daily life, fitness, health, mommy care, moms, naps, pets, sleep

A Day in the Life of, Well, Me

Ok, so let me put the disclaimer on this post right up front: This post is totally self indulgent because it came out of having one of those days. It may border on a pure-bred venting session, but I’ll also argue that it’s important to chronicle days like today so that I can remind my husband how awesome I am the next time he complains about, well, pretty much anything. I’m kidding. Sort of.

At any rate, the day started out great. I got the gym despite the sleet. That’s gold-star worthy in my book. The extra bonus was that my quick trip through Target proved more fruitful than the baby oatmeal I set out to buy. After months and months of searching, I ended up finding jeans that fit the new breastfeeding me perfectly. Don’t ask me what possessed me to bother taking off my sweaty gym clothes to try on jeans on a whim, but I did and I don’t regret it one bit. Especially since they were 30% off, so the price tag was a whopping $13.98 a piece. I bought three pairs–two bootleg in two different washes and one skinny leg. (As an aside, Target also had some great “boyfriend” cardigans.)

I got home in enough time to put a load of laundry in, take the dog out, shovel the back deck, install the dog barrier bag in the back of the truck, and set up a new toy for baby before the nanny arrived. I think she arrived around 12:15pm and I believe I was showered and out the door, wearing my new jeans of course, at 12:35pm so I could make a 1:00pm rendezvous with the contractor who’s installing some new windows. (Ok, so I was a little late.)

Why I’m having to meet the contractor at the Home Depot is a whole other story. It involves a housing downturn that led to some late child support payments that then resulted in the loss of a drivers license and the saga goes downhill from there. But he does incredible work, so hauling myself out to Home Depot for cans of spray insulation is the type of sacrifice that’s worth it to not only get the job done right but done at all. Plus I need to pick up color swatches because two other guys are coming to repoint and paint the brick in the back of our house the following week.

I got to HD before the contractor, so I decided to head to the paint section to get a jump on my color swatches. On my way there, a young female associate stops me.

“Do you know you have  a sticker on your leg?” she said.

I give her a look like “what the heck are you talking about?”

“On your jeans. You have a sticker running down the back of your leg. I just thought you’d want to know.”

Yes, thank you. Always good to know that you forgot to remove the size/style sticker from the brand new jeans you just bought at Target for less than most nannies get paid per hour.

I was slightly embarrassed but mostly just amused by my oversight, but it really was a sign that I was going to need a lot more humor to get through the rest of the day.

At any rate, I left HD with a bag full of color swatches, a bunch of moulding, spray insulation, and some clamps. (I’ll get to the clamps in another post.) Next stop: Target for the big box of diapers  that I couldn’t carry that when I was on foot earlier that morning and then PetCo for some really expensive dog food and not-so-expensive cat food. Last stop of the day before I make it home, unpack the car, and prepare for a 4:00pm interview: the grocery store.

Now, I love going to the grocery store; I actually really like to go through every aisle and look at all the different products. But having an infant that could meltdown at any moment has made me a very efficient shopper even when I’m restocking the whole fridge and all the cupboards like I was this day. I think I arrived at 3:05pm and was out of there by 3:40pm.

In the 35 minutes I was in the store, the weather went from a wintry mix to a full-fledged snow storm. There was not a chance with the caliber of DC metro area drivers that I was going to be home in 20 minutes for my interview despite being 5 miles from the house. So, I pulled over, grabbed my pen and paint swatches, and prepared to do my interview curbside to the Iwo Jima Memorial. (I’m all about improvising.)

With every minute of my interview, I watched more cars start to line up on the entrance ramp to the main road back into town. By the time my call concluded, I realized I was going to have to take the back way. Two hours and five miles later, I finally arrived home. That would also more than an hour after the nanny was supposed to leave to pick up her own  kids from school. (Thank god she has good friends who can pick up her kids in a pinch.)

Even though it wasn’t my fault and there was nothing I could about the weather and the traffic situation, I felt bad. Almost guilty, like I had somehow super inconvenienced her.

But I soon forgot about that feeling when I went up to let the dog out of his crate. Nothing says welcome home, mom, like poop in the crate. Now, I should have felt bad because obviously he’s having stomach issues, but I’m not going to lie; it felt like a huge F-you. Especially when I grabbed the dog’s collar to make sure he wouldn’t step in it and he peed everywhere. I love having to do a load of laundry, Swiffer, and disinfect before even taking the groceries out of their bags. Awesome.

At this point, it’s way past baby’s feeding time, so he’s melting down as I’m trying to put everything perishable away. (Seriously, the sushi would’ve been nasty had I forgotten about it.) Screaming babies do wonders for the nerves after two hours of gridlock. I’ll admit that I pretty much lost it three blocks from my house when a cab got stuck halfway up a small incline and a cop had to come and help him push the car to the intersection. (Seriously, guy, spend the money on the Blizzak tires; driving is your business.)

I finally got the kid tucked into bed at about 8:30pm. No thanks to the dog, who, because he got no real walk today because of my traffic-inspired tardiness, decided to do helicopters in baby’s room, causing baby to giggle rather than shut his pretty eyes.

My phone rings. My mother-in-law wanted to know if we had power because news reports were circulating that the winter storm has taken out power to more than 100,000 DC metro residents. (Great, one more thing to worry about.)

It’s 9:19pm and I’m thinking I probably should go shovel my front stairs, which are so steep that my mother always says you need to be a mountain goat to get up them. This is what my mother-in-law said when I told her I was going to get off the phone so I could take care of that chore:

MIL: You might want to rethink that.

Me: I don’t want to, but I’m worried it’ll freeze overnight and then I won’t be able to shovel tomorrow.

(At this point, I’m also cursing myself for not shelling out the $20 to get the pet- and child-friendly salt that I saw at Petco.)

MIL: Well, do you have candles out in case the power goes out?

Me: Well, I know where they are.

MIL: Do you have chocolate?

Me: Yes.

(In fact, the box of Belgium chocolates I had in lazy Susan fell out onto the floor, spilling all the hand-crafted delectables on the tile floor when I was putting the groceries away.)

MIL: Well, then, I wouldn’t bother shoveling.

Okay, then. Love the logic.

But more than candles or chocolate, I was thinking wine. (After all, didn’t I deserve it?) I decided to check the weather forecast. If it was supposed to be really cold and nasty the following day, I would buck up and go shovel. If not, I wouldn’t worry about it until the morning. Fortunately, it was supposed to be sunny and mid 30s, so I decided nothing could better put this day–and me–to bed than a big ole glass of red wine. Or two.

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