Woof Woof

March 31, 2008

We did it.  We got a dog.  We are now the proud owners of a sweet female beagle.  Saturday we met several beagles from the local beagle rescue group.  One cutie was a humper, so she was out, regardless of how photogenic she was.  We decided that while her face was made for photos, we didn’t really want to post pictures of her attempting to do naughty acts to the toddler.

We totally fell in love with a little male with no bad habits, even typical beagle ones like howling, but we ruled him out because of his extreme timidity.  M and I both tend to speak harshly to PJ when he’s in trouble (go figure) and this poor, formerly-abused puppy would be scarred for life having that kind of yelling around him on a regular basis.  It broke our hearts to pass him up because we both wanted to see what kind of wonderful dog he would grow into.

So we chose the third dog, a sweet female who is already full-grown and has an amazing intuition for people and what they need from her.  It’s been amazing watching her acclimate herself to our household.  I can tell she misses her foster family, whom she lived with for over a year.  But she has fallen in love with us already, and us her too.  She adores M (what dog doesn’t, though?) and likes me well enough.  (Yes, I’m jealous.  I’ll admit it.)  She’s very interested in PJ, especially at mealtimes, and protective of both boys.  She’s a licker, which PJ isn’t so sure about, but BabyN keeps letting her lick his face.  I think she’s slipped some tongue in there a few times too.

I think I’ll get over my germophobia in relation to the boys awfully fast with her around.

It turns out that I definitely do have allergies to beagles (there actually was some uncertainty there), but it’s much better than my allergies to cats.  One Claritin seems to have it under control pretty well.  Hopefully being exposed to it this much will mean I react less around other people’s dogs too.  Maybe the time spent with my in-laws won’t be filled with fighting for breath anymore.

PJ is reacting really well to having a dog.  He has had a real language explosion in relation to the dog, spouting out a full sentence for us yesterday when we brought her home: “I got a dog! I got a dog!”  He wants to play with her all the time and laughs and squeals at everything she does.

I was really worried about trying out a dog again after the problems we had early last year.  I kept telling myself it was just that dog, and puppies in general, and even then maybe it would have worked out if I hadn’t gotten pregnant right after we got her.  But in reality, I thought I was making excuses and that I wasn’t ready for the responsibility of a dog.

It turns out that my excuses were valid, though.  It’s great having a dog.  We just needed the right dog.  The last one was too young and not yet housetrained.  She was too much of a puppy and chewed on everything, especially toes, especially toddler toes.  The last we heard about her, she was still doing all the same puppy stuff after a year and repeated training from professionals.  We couldn’t have handled all of that, especially when I was so sick in early pregnancy that I could barely take care of myself, much less a disobedient puppy.

So I’m very happy with our choice for a dog this time around.  Unless she has some crazy behavior we haven’t seen yet, this is definitely the dog for us.  It just feels so right to glance over and see a sweet beagle sleeping on the couch next to me.

At last we’re the average family with 2-ish kids, a middle class house, a mini-van, and a dog.  We’re just missing the white picket fence.

Severe Editing

March 28, 2008

Uh, yeah, I took down the last post.  It was too whiny and annoying even for me.  If you didn’t get to read it, I basically gave too much information about this little stomach bug I picked up.  You don’t want to read that, and I don’t really want to give those sorts of nasty details.

So moving on.

I don’t have much else to write about other than that, which is why I’ve had such pathetic posts lately.  But that doesn’t give me the right to force you to read such awful stuff.

Do you care that BabyN cut his first tooth last night?  It would be a more momentous occasion around here if it hadn’t been imminent for almost two weeks and if he had shown much discomfort from it at all.  He’s the most happy-go-lucky kid I’ve ever seen.  That’s particularly good when I’m dealing with PJ’s extremely strong will on a daily basis.  BabyN is content to sit back and grin as I repeatedly punish his brother.  He grins at his brother’s antics and then grins when he gets punished.  He just grins no matter what is going on around him.  Gosh, I love that kid.

How’s that for a pointless ramble?  I may be taking a few days off from writing soon because I feel bad stretching for such stupid topics to write about, just for the sake of writing something.  Unless I can find something worth saying, I’m planning to keep my mouth shut.

Toddler Talk

March 27, 2008

I’m so excited!  PJ is talking more than ever, and I am understanding him!  Well, most of the time anyway.  This morning, I got Patrick out of bed, and he immediately told me, “Hi!”  As he walked out of his room, he told me he needed to “Say baba” (change diaper) because it was “poopy.”  It was, and I knew that before ever grabbing a clean diaper for him.  Then when he was naked, he told me he wanted a diaper “backon” (he says it like it’s one word).  A little while later, he put his boots on and headed for the back door, informing me he wanted to go “batside.”  He wanted “cookies” for breakfast but settled for “cheeyas” (Cheerios).  When he wanted bites of my cereal, he nicely asked for a “bye, peas” (bite, please).  (Boy was that one funny last night when he wanted a bite of his brother’s peas.  It wasn’t so funny to him when I gave him one.)  He didn’t want his water sippy with breakfast, so he asked for his “ju sippy.”

After breakfast, he peed in his diaper and immediately after informed me that he “wago potty.”  We’re still working on the timing there, but at least he connects peeing with the potty.  He told me, “All done,” when he was done trying and then “lalala” to remind me he got an M&M for trying.  When he pooped in his diaper a few minutes after that (yes, making it three diapers already this morning), he warned me by telling me “poopy” again.  He has also addressed his brother earlier by telling him something in baby talk followed by “Gaga,” his name for BabyN.

It’s just astounding to me that he is communicating effectively with me.  We’re having fewer tantrums because he is getting his needs taken care of (and it’s been long enough since his grandparents have been here).  The only problem is that he has also finally figured out the word “no” and is repeating it all day long.  Yes, we’ve entered that stage.  On the other hand, though, he is finally starting to answer my questions that I have persisted in asking, even when I expected a blank stare from him.

Speaking of questions, I’m hoping some of you are still planning to take me up on my offer from yesterday to ask me anything you want.  I’m desperate for good material here!  There’s only so much I can write about all of PJ’s new words, and I know you want to read even less.  I guess if our lives were more interesting, I wouldn’t have this problem, but there’s something to be said for a life that’s not overly exciting.

Sometimes I Love Being Right

March 26, 2008

Back when I was pregnant with BabyN, I wrote something on the other blog about how sweet PJ was getting.  One of the few phrases he was repeating at the time was “It’s okay,” something we always told him when he was upset.  It was just one of those things that when said in the right voice calmed him down from even the nastiest head bump.  I thought it was sweet that he repeated that phrase of all things, and sometimes even to me (after accidentally hitting me or something).  I remember writing something about how I hoped he would be as sweet to his baby brother and tell him “It’s okay” when he cried.

I knew how likely that was, though.  PJ doesn’t share attention well, and I fully expected him to be jealous of his little brother.  When he all but ignored BabyN for the first month or so, I decided my unspoken expectations were what really happened.  No big deal–at least he wasn’t antagonistic.

Then he started noticing his brother and doing sweet things to BabyN because he liked the reaction he got from us.  He would pat his head or boop his nose while around us, but I suspect he was wondering what would happen if he hit him instead.

Fast forward to the last few days.  BabyN starts crying, usually from teething, and PJ is quick to comfort him.  The cutest was after he accidentally hit BabyN with a toy and BabyN started screaming.  PJ walked up to where I was trying to calm him down and patted his head while saying, “You’re okay, you’re okay.”  Amazingly, BabyN calmed down.

We’ve thought we’ve heard PJ talking to BabyN at night as well when he’s started crying, but this was the first time I had seen such outward comforting happening.  It was obvious PJ felt bad about the accident and wanted to help make sure his brother was okay.  It was amazing to me that something I had written months ago had just happened.  Something that was more of a wish than a prediction actually happened.

I love this stage of the boys’ relationship.  BabyN admires PJ, possibly more than M or me.  He’s always watching his brother and laughing at his antics.  PJ is also protective of his little brother, even when he’s stealing all the attention.  He may ignore him most of the time, but I’ve noticed that he’s really keeping an eye out for him, even when it looks like he’s ignoring him.

I know this wonderful stage where my boys actually like each other won’t last forever.  All too soon we will enter the days of fierce sibling rivalry, and the sweet moments between them will be few.  I ought to get plenty of video of the two of them interacting in this phase so that I can prove to them they really did love each other at one point when they turn into surly preteens who hate each other.

Okay, on to something entirely different.  I’m feeling myself sliding into another blogging slump, and I’d like to avoid that if at all possible.  So I’m going to steal an idea I’ve seen many of you do before.  Are there any questions you’d like to ask me?  What things are there you’ve wanted to know and I’ve somehow avoided blogging about?  I’ll answer just about anything, so ask away.

Some Observations

March 25, 2008

I have become hypersensitive to grief around me lately.  On every TV show I watch, there is something sad about someone’s situation on the show.  The same goes for every book I read.  Even my blogroll, all of you whose lives I follow closely, all of you are suffering with your own personal tragedies.

It’s a lot to take in, especially as I find myself so sensitive since BabyN was born.  It’s a bit overwhelming at times, grieving at all these sad situations, both real and fiction.  I don’t want to think about sad things, not when I’m looking at my own life that is so happy right now.  I don’t want to think that my own life could be affected by tragedy.

But not one of us is completely without tragedies or grief in our lives.  I have two perfect boys and a great husband, but I remember things being particularly awful for me about two and a half years ago when PJ was suddenly born early.  There’s grief involved in that, even if it really isn’t the same as the grief I know many of you have experienced.  None of us can escape it altogether.

So why is it that some people’s live seem so overwhelmed with grief while others aren’t?  Honestly, some of the most positive, upbeat, and fun blogs I read are written by women who have been through absolutely unimaginable situations.  I have cried with them in the past, but now I laugh and hope with them.  While I know they cannot have come through such experiences untouched, they have come through them; they have moved on.

On the other hand, I read some other blogs written by women equally affected by some of the worst tragedies imaginable, but I find them difficult to read.  Even the most positive entries at least make reference to their sadness and grief.  I can’t begin to imagine how awful they must feel after going through the things they have, but it hurts me to be reminded of what could happen to any of us all the time.

I’m not articulating my point clearly at all, but I want to assure all of you reading that I am NOT saying I don’t like your blogs.  I wouldn’t read them if I didn’t, right?  I’m just trying to point out that people react to the tragedies in their own lives very differently.  Some write as though nothing ever happened, that their lives are perfect and always have been.  Some focus on the tragedy and only that.  And others have clearly moved on.  What happened in their lives has drastically affected them, but they are moving forward with their lives, taking with them both the best and worst from their pasts.

Rarely am I given such an opportunity to see how so many different people respond to similar situations as I am through Blogworld.  Watching how all of you live your lives teaches me more about myself.  I can only hope and pray that I have responded to PJ’s birth by moving on.  I hope and pray that I can respond to any future tragedies in store for me with such grace as I see some of you showing.

Welcome Home

March 24, 2008

Sorry about taking the weekend off.  That was not my intention at all.  We just got so caught up in doing stuff for once that I didn’t make the time to sit down and write something.  Here’s the short version run-down of the weekend:

Friday afternoon we went to the mall with the boys, the first time taking both boys in the double stroller.  We didn’t do much shopping, but it kept PJ mostly contained and entertained so that we wouldn’t have to deal with the endless tantrums and disobedience.

Friday night, M and I came up with a possible punishment for PJ for when he repeatedly disobeys.  He’s used this new time-out spot twice since, and the disobedience seems to be tapering off.  Oddly enough, the tantrums seem to be fewer as well.  Even threatening time-out now seems to be helping.

Saturday we attempted to take the boys to Petsmart.  It looks like we might actually get a dog, so we did a little research on crates, food, etc.  We also thought it would be a fun place for PJ.  He can look at fish, birds, other small mammals, and maybe even dogs and cats since they should be adopting on such a busy weekend.  Unfortunately, all we saw was fish, which held his interest less than five minutes.  Then he wanted to drag us all over the store, even into employee-only areas.  When we told him no, he threw a tantrum.  He even did the limp body falling to the floor trick.  Needless to say, we left early.

Then yesterday we finally got our butts out of bed early enough for church, the first time since Christmas.  We even got up early enough to drive an hour to the church I grew up in, the church I consider my home church.  I left the church almost three years ago, when M and I moved across town and I was pregnant with PJ (long story behind that).  I’ve visited once since, a week or so after PJ’s birth for the baby shower my friends threw for me.  It was obviously a momentous occasion, one that I could ramble on and on about for ages.

I’ll spare you all the details and other feelings related to the day and simply say that it was wonderful.  It was a long-needed return “home.”  I was welcomed back with open arms, me and the whole family.  M and I are now going to try to make the journey there once a month or so as we attempt to find a home church closer to us.  At least we can get that spiritual and social feeding we so desperately need every so often until we find somewhere else we can get it.

Anyway, it was an awesome Easter.  PJ had fun with his egg hunt and learned the word “jelly bean.”  Now there are plastic egg parts scattered all over the house and jelly beans scattered all over the yard.  And I have LOTS of pictures of the day to sift through.

Now it’s time for a nap.  Both boys are miraculously napping at the same time, so I’m planning to take full advantage of the occasion.

Spoiled Absolutely Rotten

March 21, 2008

So yesterday on the family blog, I posted about how PJ is two in the worst possible way right now.  I tried to balance out the cute and funny things lately with the endless tantrums, but it was not a balanced view of life around here this week.  The cute things are about ten seconds in between tantrums or outright disobedience that last for hours on end.  I don’t think the attempt at balance really masked the reality either.  The truth is he is driving both of us BONKERS!

I’m about one more tantrum away from researching how much he could get on the black market.

My MIL left a comment on the other blog wondering whether the tantrums could be related to his difficulties in communicating.  I think it’s more likely due to their presence here over the weekend and then their departure.  He communicates just fine.  “Grandma!  Grandpa!”  I hear it several times a day.  He knows what he wants and knows how to ask for it.

So let me ask you…why would he suddenly turn into a terror after spending several days with them?  My theory is that he is royally spoiled.  He doesn’t hear the word “no” from them.  He asks, begs, or throws a tantrum to get something, and it’s his.  He gets non-stop attention and special treatment, and he doesn’t want it to end when they leave.

Here’s a good example of what I’m talking about:  You may remember I mentioned being a bit annoyed at my Pop Tarts disappearing so quickly while they were here.  I thought it was a little unusual because my MIL mentioned eating Cheerios for breakfast one day and I watched her eat waffles another.  That left one day for their disappearance.  M’s Pop Tarts (a huge box of them) also disappeared while they were here.  There’s no way my in-laws ate that many Pop Tarts.  They most likely fed them to PJ.

PJ isn’t allowed to eat Pop Tarts.  They’re too sweet and make him hyper.  The in-laws know this.  No wonder they didn’t tell us.  They tried to hide the fact by giving him waffles to eat after the Pop Tarts, waffles that went uneaten, which is strange if you know the boy’s love for waffles.

Normally I don’t mind a bit of spoiling from the grandparents.  That’s why God made grandparents after all, right?  What bothers me is that they give him anything and everything he asks for, and some things he didn’t, to buy his love.  Well, they’ve got it, and we’re dealing with the results.  Their blatant disregard for our rules has taught PJ that the rules no longer apply to him.  That explains the repeated disobedience, doing things he hasn’t done for months, and his sudden lack of comprehension of the word “no.”  That explains why he throws tantrums when he isn’t allowed to do destructive things or given exactly what he wants when he wants it.

For the record, he isn’t like this after visiting with my parents.

How hard is it for them to just do as we ask?  We’re not asking them to not spoil him.  We don’t turn away their lavish and extravagant gifts (that they can’t afford and don’t fit in our house any longer).  We simply ask that they hold him to the same behavior we do.  I don’t think that is unreasonable.

We’ve attempted to discuss this with them before, and they do believe we’re being unreasonable, even as they agree to do things our way.  I think if they can’t work on how they treat him, they are going to find their visits with us and the boys very limited, and they’ve got to be kidding if they want alone time with the boys.  We’ll leave them with MY parents if we need to escape somewhere for a vacation alone.