10 Ways My Dogs Have Prepared Me for Children

We said goodbye to our dog Keyane this week. He was our first baby. He was the one who taught me what it was to be a mom. This is something I wrote nearly 10 years ago, and I’m happy to say I was finally right about something! We had an amazing 14 years together. My son is lucky our puppies had me well-trained in my mom role before he came along. I’m glad he got to spend a few years with them both.

australian shepherd on the beachWritten on Mother’s Day, 2009 –  I have two Australian Shepherds that are my babies. A male and a female, both around five years old. I got the male first, as a puppy, and the female later as a 1-2 year old rescue. Between the two of them they have tried my patience to the end of earth but also shown me an unconditional love and taught me what it means to love, care for another little being that completely depends on me and be responsible for their development and discipline. They have changed me in many ways and this list could be much longer. Whether we have non-fur babies or not, these two have always made me feel loved, proud and mostly, like a “mommy.”

1) I have developed Super-Mom hearing. I can hear the faintest “gluck-gluck-gluck” noise in the middle of the night, wake up from a dead sleep and rush to help the vomiting dog and then clean it all up before going back to bed.

2) I am now used to dealing with poop up close and personal on a daily basis. My dogs have a long “skirt” of hair on their back ends. I have had to hose off and wipe many bottoms. I just hope I never have to pull floss out of the baby’s butt or find a stick to pluck off a dingleberry in the middle of a walk.

3) I have discovered my “mother voice.” It’s much louder and more authoritative than my usual voice. This voice means business! You better sit! On the other end is the “mommy voice” which is very sweet and cooing.

4) I have developed a complete disregard for my own safety when their life is at stake. I have jumped in front of a speeding car waving my arms like an idiot because the dog ran into the street. When the boy stuck his head in a pile of fire ants, I used my hands to wipe them off his face all the while getting stung myself.

5) I learned you can’t take you eyes off them for a minute. The aforementioned fire ant incident took place on a walk. The boy was just a pup, nosing around, getting into everything. I turned my head to stare at something across the street, turned back around and he looked up at me with a face just alive with red squirming ants. They were in his eyes, his mouth and starting to crawl down his head. I got every single one of those awful things off of him and smothered him with kisses.

6) I have learned to temper my anger. I don’t believe in beating animals to make them mind. When the little girl went through bad separation anxiety after my husband was deployed, we worked through the wave of destruction that followed.

7) I learned how to be a disciplinarian and a teacher. I took both dogs to obedience class and we practiced at home. Both were the stars of the class because I spent a lot of time working with them. People often remark on how our boy is better behaved than their children. Our little girl, being a rescue, is still a little wild.

8) If you have a boy, you can’t be scared of a little penis. I had the boy about a week when we went for a walk in the woods. He ended up getting absolutely covered in ticks. I thought I got them all off until later I saw he seemed to be chewing on his crotch area. When he rolled over, I saw it. He had a tick. It was on his tiny puppy penis. I was impressed how trusting he was as I gripped the little appendage with one hand while going at it with tweezers. I think we grew a little closer that day.

9) Things will get messed up, get over it. I’ve had my favorite shirts and shoes destroyed. We had to get a new rug after a bad bout of stomach issues. Our nice suede couch is covered in hair and dog snot. In comparison to what the dogs give us in love and bring us in happiness, it’s nothing.

10) A house feels more like a home when it is filled with love. I’m pretty sure coming home to happy little kids is a great thing. I’ve never seen two more happy kids than those furry faces that lose their minds every time I come home. Even if I’m only gone five minutes. They make me smile, they make me happy and I think they will be a great big brother and big sister when the time comes. (* and they were)

australian shepherd dog and baby



My Snotty Valentine

I was sick this year for Valentine’s Day. I’m still sick actually, and just hoping it’s not the killer flu because I’m one of those people who hate going to the doctor and will probably have “No really, I think it’s going away” on my tombstone.

Because I’m a snotty miserable mess, we cancelled our fancy dinner plans and stayed home. I at least managed to put on my pink stripe Puma pants to convey that I was putting some effort into the holiday. Oh, how times have changed, lol.

valentines day outfit

I was planning on wearing a nice dress to dinner at least. I’ll have to save it for the re-do this weekend. I got some new UGGs, a chocolate heart filled with popcorn and a cool Star Wars card. Plus my husband stayed home from work so I could rest because yesterday was the worst of the sickness so far (probably the best present ever.)

star wars valentine

And then this magical thing happened- a mystery packaged showed up at the door and inside was a bottle that said Sambrosa Nighttime Syrup and was stamped with “Sweet Dreams” and “Zzz zzz.” Earlier I had said all I wanted to do was order some sushi and then knock myself out with Nyquil. It was like the universe was listening and was like, “No, try this.” I kind of remember something about signing up to sample this months ago. But there was no information in the package, no invoice. I know I didn’t purchase it somewhere and the return address was directly from Sambrosa. I’ve checked through all my e-mails and cannot figure out where this came from!


Did that stop me from taking the mystery drug that showed up in my mail? No. No it did not. I’m sick and did not feel like asking too many questions. So after dinner I poured myself a big spoonful and downed a full serving of this really awful tasting stuff. Maybe I shouldn’t have brushed my teeth first. I’m not a big fan of syrups in the first place, but it was pretty fast-acting and within 20 minutes I was ready for bed. I did actually have a really good night’s sleep. A lot of time antihistamine type sleep products make me wake up in the middle of the night feeling weird, but I didn’t wake up until I heard the faint “Mommy…mommy where are you?…Mama!…” coming from across the hall. That’s my clue to jump into action.

I plan on giving it another try tonight, maybe before the tooth brushing. And if anyone else is part of this sampling program, or saw it somewhere, please let me know where the heck this came from! And yes, technically it is for allergies but I have all the runny nose, sneezing, watery eye yuckiness it says it combats so I’m just going with it.

Hope you all had a Happy Valentine’s day, however you got to spend it. I enjoyed mine, snot and all. It’s really what you make of it 🙂


Learning to stop and play

playAs a busy mom, I’m always trying to do a million things. Laundry, wash the dog, feed the kid, shower, maybe even attempt to exercise.

My son is also trying to do a million things. Create more laundry, harass the dog, feed his teddy bear, get dirty and also, get me to play with him.

Sometimes I get so focused on “getting things done” that I just want to keep going like how I would in pre-baby days. Do all the things! And do them all now! But in pre-baby days, there wasn’t a small child creating messes while I’m cleaning messes and constantly going “mommy, mommy, mommyyyyy” while I zoom around the house.

And then there’s this nagging memory I have from when I was little, where my mom would pretend to play with me while she doing housework. Like I’d be playing Monopoly and badly want someone to play with so she’d tell me to set the board up for two, and then play for her. So basically, my mom was my imaginary friend. I also remember thinking this arrangement sucked. There are some obvious drawbacks to being an only child.

(*As a side note, so as not to suffer future wrath from my mother, I have to say she really did make time for me. This was a just a memory that sticks from a particularly busy day.)

So on a daily basis, no matter how busy I am, or how much I need to get done, I make time to stop and play throughout the day. Whether it’s crashing cars off a ramp, building train tracks, or just sitting with him in his favorite chair while he watches a show, I make sure to stop and give him my full, undivided attention.

Because every time I realize he’s been begging me to play with him for too long, that Monopoly memory kicks in and I realize the laundry can wait. Who wants to do laundry when you can lie on the floor and color anyway?


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Enjoying the Silence

peaceful_solitude_by_raayzel-d4sr202Maybe it’s an Only Child thing. Or maybe it’s a writer thing. It could be just an introvert thing. Whatever it is, I need my silence.

It’s one of the big things you give up as a mom. In a previous life, I could hear myself think. In my new life as a parent, I’ve learned to operate my brain to the constant strain of crying, whining, singing, noisy toys and mommy, mommy, mommy, mommyyyyyyyyy. And I married a man who loves noise and crowds so he doesn’t really get it. I need silence to recharge.

After coming home from a week-long business trip he offered to watch our son for the day so I could leave and go do what I wanted all day. I told him I’d rather they both leave me at the house alone, so I could just relax. I didn’t want to spend the day running around, visiting noisy places. I wanted to spend the day with Me. I also secretly enjoyed the idea of him taking our son around to the hardware store, out to eat alone, etc., and getting a little taste of what I deal with on a daily basis. I could barely contain my grin when he later recounted the major meltdown that occurred because the hardware store had a display of M&M’s as soon as you walk down the door. It still makes me giggle.

When I was younger, I sometimes contemplated that I’d be perfectly happy being a hermit in the woods, with maybe a few cats. I am glad that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to be able to fully enjoy life and all its noise. I will always have a need and appreciation for quite and solitude. Though I’m starting to wonder, if many years down the road when my son is grown and leaves the house, I may one day find myself thinking… the house is too quiet.


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Living by a new set of rules

1uwe9mNothing makes sense anymore. In my old, pre-baby life, if someone asked me for waffles, I’d make them waffles and we’d be good. Now if the child asks for waffles, I end up with screams of despair and cold waffles and I’m still not really sure where I went wrong. I’ve given up trying to figure it out. The only thing I know is, there is a new set of rules, and I’m not the one making them.

Top 10 Toddler Rules for Parents (especially those of crazy little boys)

1) Never let your guard down. The moment you do you get beaned in the head with something. Probably something hard.

2) Don’t look away. Because when you turn back around they are probably already hanging off a window ledge.

3) Don’t invest in whatever they eat at someone else’s house. Because when you get home they’ll hate it. And then you have five boxes of fruit bars they keep trying to feed to the dog.

4) Don’t invest in what they like today at your own house either because tomorrow they will most likely hate it, and by now the dog is getting pretty fat.

5) Diaper-free time means I’m cleaning pee up off the floor time.

6) There’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything. The right way is that one way you did it the first time three weeks ago. The wrong way is however you are trying to do it now, so you get an extended tantrum for your failure to remember to do it the right way.

7) There is a specific tiny car for every activity or outing. Also, you will need about 5,679 hot wheels cars to get through toddlerhood.

8) If there is a puddle, they will find it. If there is dirt, they will find it. If there is both, you might as well just camp out for a while.

9) They can be the worst little hellion ever and wipe it away with a hug, a kiss and a sweet little baby voiced “I love you.” And they know it.

10) They are going to steal your heart and one day you’ll miss the puddles and tiny cars and insistence on being carried everywhere. Toddlerhood doesn’t last forever. Just cover your ears keep repeating that during the next screamfest that erupts because you won’t let them lick the light socket.