Monthly Archives: July 2010

the doll and the jack russell terrier

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Ever since this little dog Dixie came into our lives over the Christmas Holiday, the doll has made it her mission to make this “set in her ways” dog her own. Whether she is begging to take the dog for a walk or fixing up a new sleeping area for Dixie in her bedroom, we’re finding her ambition a bit amusing.  “Mom, Dixie has been biting and licking her feet a lot and daddy seems to think she may have fleas.  Can I give her a flea bath?” she asked one day.

First, let me state, giving this dog a bath is no treat.  I know, because I have had that pleasure. Plus, once her bath was complete, the dog would have nothing to do with me for about two days (my reward!).  Given that result, I thought the doll was making a mistake wanting to give Dixie a bath but also I was concerned with the soap she planned on using.  Undeterred, we found regular dog soap and the dog cleaning commenced.

The doll scooped up the dog and into the bathtub she went.  I’d like to tell you the doll had complete control and washed the dog without incident.  However, judging from the amount of water found on the bathroom floor, I suspected she had a little trouble keeping the dog in the tub.  “Doll, what’s with all this water?”  “Well, Dixie kept jumping in and out of the bathtub trying to get out.  I had to keep picking her up and putting her back in the tub.  Also, look mom; I had to change my clothes since I got pretty wet while cleaning her up.”

The most peculiar thing about the entire bath incident was that Dixie held no animosity toward the doll following there bathtub adventure.  She allowed the doll to pick her up and dry her off (with me she ran and hid underneath the boy’s bed for an hour, soaking the carpeting with wet dog smell) then began playing her favorite game of fetch with her.  Obviously the doll has the touch, which is just as well, considering I never want to give that animal a bath again.

hindsight is not 20/20

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When the boy turned ten years old, my husband and I decided to purchase him a new bike.  Even though he has a winter birthday and probably wouldn’t get to “use” it until spring, we reasoned every boy should have a good bike and this was as good a time to buy one as any.   We began pricing different bikes and various stores around town, finally deciding on one at Toys R Us.  Problem is, we bought the wrong bike.

The boy has been 5’1 for almost a year now and we couldn’t find a 26″ dirt bike that fit his frame.  That style of bike was only being offered in a 20″ model.  He would be too big for the bike before we even brought it home.  So we compromised, getting him a 26″ mountain bike, complete with an adjustable frame and 18 gears to really blow his mind.

The other day, I asked him to go on a bike ride with me, which he refused.  Getting a little upset at him, I ordered him to get on this bike and at least ride around the block with me once.  Truth told, my bike hurts like he__ when I ride it, but as they say, no pain, no gain (the boy outside away from video games and Pokémon is the gain).  Then I realized why he doesn’t like to ride his bike.  The darn thing is too complicated (there was a fifty page book that came with the bike explaining the gears and adjustable frame) which offers no practical experience.

Just imagine my ten speed bike of yesteryear.  When I received my “Rembrandt” bike for graduating eighth grade, I had never felt so grown up and happy in my life.  My old bike is tiny next to the boy’s.  As I watched him try to climb onto his bike, he complained mightily how the seat was too high, how he couldn’t get into a good position, how he really didn’t like this magnificent beast of a bike.  “Really mom, I’d rather have a bike like the other kids (dirt bike).  Yes a smaller bike.  The kind where there is only one gear.  The style you have to straddle the bike frame, adjust the pedals just right before you push off. Then you straighten right up, using arms and legs to move the bike forward, until you reach appropriate speed in order to set your rear onto the seat and ride.

Sigh, someday he’ll figure the bike out. Yet, most likely by then, he’ll be too big for the frame.

finding common ground

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“Why do you have to be such a jerk” the boy said, just before I pulled him from the pool.  He’d been fighting a losing battle calling people names all day and I was done. “Out!  Fifteen minutes out of the pool and you will sit there with your mouth shut.  No talking for 15 minutes, or I’ll add on time, do you understand? “I asked.  Shaking his head up and down, I took that as his confirmation.

We’ve certainly run into the dog days of summer. With the heat of the day rising so fast, I have trouble convincing children to leave the comfort of our air conditioned house and go outside. The heat also doesn’t help with their tempers.  Seems their flash point is shorter than on cooler days, as the kid’s tolerance level for one another disappears.  Like all kids, the boy and doll have moments of brilliance and conversely disappointments. The boy hasn’t learned how to ignore the constant pushes he receives from the younger kids.  It’s almost as if he believes he should be able to have mind control over them. Since he holds no control, they are not bending to his will, getting him deeper and deeper into trouble.

The boy, a bit uncoordinated and large next to his classmates, takes up so much space; he doesn’t quite know how to fit in, in social situations.  Whether swimming in a pool or walking down the street, he tends to let his emotions rule his world, rather than use common sense to work things out.    Prior to coming to the pool he and I had a heart to heart talk about not letting the younger kids bother him so much.  My usual mantra includes, “just ignore” which I think might be too adult a concept for (all) kids to grasp.

After his fifteen minute time out yesterday, things seemed to get better.  He was more reserved, allowed the other kids to play around him without fighting (or name calling).  When his cousin Noel showed up, his mom and I marveled at how well they played with one another; even going so far as to take a picture of them sharing a “chicken” ride moment—something that doesn’t happen very often.

Maybe we’ve reached a turning point, or maybe I shouldn’t get too far ahead of myself.  But honestly, having  everyone on common ground for a change was a nice change of pace.

Better things

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An ice cream sandwich on a very hot day;  central air conditioning during a heatwave.  Seeing friends and relatives and enjoying their company.  Turning a “green” colored pool back to a blue clear one.  Going for a walk with my son and listening to all his corny jokes.  Watching the doll help me do housework, without complaint. The end to the heatwave as a result of a nice  Summer thunderstorm.  A weekend following a difficult week.

Dar Williams sings a wonderful song named Better Things which I’ll listen to on occasion, especially when I need my “batteries” recharged. After this weekend, I can honestly say I can face this week eyes wide and in better humor.  My kids are two of my most favorite people in the world, in spite of their antics, tempers and weird moods.  I only hope, I can remain one of their favorite people too.

Better Things  by Dar Williams

Here’s wishing you the bluest sky
And hoping something better comes tomorrow
Hoping all the verses rhyme,
And the very best of choruses to
Follow all the doubt and sadness
I know that better things are on their way.

Here’s hoping that the days ahead
Won’t be as bitter as the ones behind you
Be an optimist instead,
And somehow happiness will find you.
Forget what happened yesterday,
I know that better things are on their way.

It’s really good to see you rocking out
And having fun,
Living like you’ve just begun.
Accept your life and what it brings,
I hope tomorrow you find better things.
I know tomorrow you’ll find better things.

Here’s wishing you the bluest sky
And hoping something better comes tomorrow
Hoping all the verses rhyme,
And the very best of choruses to
Follow all the drudge and sadness
I know that better things are on the way.

I know you’ve got a lot of good things happening up ahead.
The past is gone, it’s all been said.
So here’s to what the future brings,
I know tomorrow you’ll find better things.
I know tomorrow you’ll find better things.

red headed police

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I’m not sure what was going on yesterday, other than the doll, donning a “police” uniform to “tell” on her brother.  “Mom, I keep hearing noises coming from behind the couch that sound an awful lot like a DS.”  “Yeah?  What business is that of yours?” I ask in return.  “Well, I just know the boy has been grounded from his DS and if he’s playing it, then that’s not fair.”  “Not fair to whom?” “Well, not fair to me, because he’s not sharing his DS and not fair to you because he’s not supposed to be playing it”.  “Ah, not fair to you?  It’s his game, why does he have to share his game with you?”  “No, Mom, that’s not what I meant, it’s just that….”  But I wouldn’t let her continue.

“Doll, are you his mother?  Are you his father?  This is not your business.  Leave him alone.  If I choose to do something about this, it’s my choice, but I do not need you acting like the DS police, got it?”  She agreed, but wasn’t satisfied until I walked upstairs and asked for his DS.  Frankly, I don’t like him playing all day either; however that is my business, not hers.

One hour later……

The boy became very agitated by the other kids assumption that “his” toys are up for grabs.  Mind you, some things he plays with more than others, but after a while his ability to share goes out the window. In some respect, I can’t blame him.  This has been happening since he was four years old, when the doll found all his old toys and claimed them as hers.  Granted, he no longer played with them, but his sentimentality attached to the toys made letting them go difficult.

Between the doll trying to assert her assumed authority and the others trying to play with the few items he likes to keep to himself, the situation became tense.  After I repeatedly asked them all to play nice, I became aware of a belief that needs to be irradiated from my household: “MINE”.

For a moment I envisioned myself in the movie Finding Nemo, surrounded by sea gulls as the doll and the boy repeated over and over again, “mine! mine! mine! mine! mine!” I pulled them both into the boy’s bedroom and said, “Listen carefully.  All the toys you perceive as yours belong to me and your father.  We allow them to reside in your bedrooms in OUR HOUSE.  If you cannot find a way to share them with one another, I will take them for my own.  When you return from your Tennessee vacation, you’ll be lucky if there are any left in this house.  Am I making myself clear?”

While they agreed in principle, they did not in practice.  While I was in the shower, the doll had to tell on the boy for something.  When I was drying off, the boy complained about the doll and the other two.  Back and forth and back again, I had had enough.  I pulled them upstairs into my bedroom and let them have it. “If you do not stop being so possessive about everything—not just toys, but where someone was sitting, what glass someone was using, how much light to allow into the room, I will send you to live with someone else so I don’t KILL YOU!!  DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I’M SAYING?????”

Needless to say, yesterday was a very long day.

the ding dong dog

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After spending much of the summer swimming in my father’s pool, the kids began to become bored with swimming.  No matter how I mixed stuff up or changed things around, the want to go swimming has faded.  What to do to mix things up?  …Day trips.

Yesterday we ventured to The Wildwood Metropark, to walk the trails, see nature and hopefully fill an afternoon with fun.  On the begging’s of my daughter, we took our neurotic dog, Dixie, along on our adventure.  If you recall, from previous posts, this dog has a mind of her own, regardless of her leash.

The kids all want to take turns holding the leash as she wandered through the park.   That is, until she stops to do her business.  Then the leash makes its way back into my hands, along with the Mutt Mitt.  Dixie also dislikes other dogs and tries to attack them.  Therefore the general consensus was that I would hold the leash as we travelled up the trail.

At some point, our trail turned into a boardwalk, three feet off the ground; a way of protecting against erosion in the river valley.  Dixie however could hear bugs, smell animals and couldn’t hold back her want to jump off that boardwalk.  Unfortunately I became distracted by the kids and the dog leapt off the boardwalk, down three feet into the tall grass below.  I had to literally lay flat on the boardwalk to retrieve her, a sight all the kids thought was funny (I did not).

Later as we walked along the open plane, the kids were eager to play on the various play ground equipment, the dog had a field day chasing dragon flies.  Several times she almost slipped her collar in her endeavor to chase these bugs.  Funny thing though, I think the bugs were toying with her as well.  Either way, the kids found her strange behaviour very funny,

“Woo!! I am stunned”

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After listening to the kids argue and complain about how boring my house is, I decided the time was right to take the kids out for an adventure.  Packing up the car we headed southwest to the small village of Grand Rapids, OH for a picnic and a walk on the Maumee River.

Before leaving I made the kids an offer:  If the arguing and general dislike for one another could be shelved for the afternoon, I’d treat them to ice cream.  A bribe, I know, but a bribe that works.

When we arrived at Otsego Park, the general consensus was to walk around, see the sights first, then eat our packed lunches.  Before I had the car locked up, the kids were off and running down the canoe road.  Thankfully there really isn’t much you can do to get in trouble down that road.  However, once they were near the river, well, all bets were off.

Their first order of business was to remove  shoes, so walking across the rapids would be easier.  Thankfully the river was low, with not much current impeding our travels.   Having been a victim of slipping and falling on the rapids in the past, I chose to keep my sandals on.  Anything that kept me dry, I reasoned was a good thing.

Farther and farther out they walked, skipping over the rapids as if they had been doing so all their lives.  At one point, the kids yelled back at me, “Where is your sense of adventure?”  as I walked slowly behind them.

After spending and hour exploring the river, chasing birds, hopping rapids, throwing rocks and believe it or not, catching Pokémon (ugh!), we made our way back to shore.   K-man made it back to shore first.  His  low center of gravity allowed him to move from one rock to the next with speed and accurate precision. I found a path through the water that did not involve climbing over the larger boulders, which K-man’s sister followed. 

The boy and doll, on the other hand continued climbing over the boulders, perhaps lost in an adventurous thought.  Then I heard the doll say “Woo!”  As I turned I watched her hang onto a weeping tree branch as she slid down a rock.  I rushed to her and found a nice sized scrape down her thigh accompanied by a bloody knee and wet rump.  “Doll, you okay?”  “Mom, oh, I’m bleeding, HOO, HOO, OWEE!!” Trying to change her focus I said, “Doll, you have to stand up, I can’t carry you, you’re too heavy!”  “Mom, just let me sit here for a second, HOO, HOO,  I’m stunned.”

After convincing her we needed to clean up the scrape, she stood and continued walking back to shore with me.  As we climbed up the steps to the shelter house, she summed up her fall, “This stinks!  Not only do I have a nasty scrape, I have a wet bottom!”  Later, as she recalled her fall to her father she put it in better perspective, “I was holding the tree branch so I could balance and move forward, but the branch had other ideas.”