Wednesday, December 30, 2009

these are real problems, as you can see

I'm in a slump these days. A downward trend, perhaps. A sad spell.

I think the selling of houses and buying of houses, and packing and unpacking, and husbands traveling, and being ill (first my mom got the stomach flu, then I got the stomach flu, then Gabe, then Josie, then Josh, then my dad, then Josie got a double ear infection, then Gabe, Josie, my mom and I all got some sort of vicious virus with runny noses and sore throats and fevers- all in a 2 week time period), and of course, absolute worst of all, the dogs leaving, have pushed me into a sad state.

I miss Tango and Murray desperately, and only the reports of their complete and utter happiness and change of attitude keep me from running to her house and demanding them back. I am devastated, but they appear to be adjusting beautifully. Their new living situation is childless and full of attention and love. They even accompany our family friend to her work with her (a back office at a homeopathic health clinic), so they are rarely alone and very rarely lacking in attention. I've had several moments of panic and tears, but I still firmly believe that although I want the dogs with me, we're doing the best thing for everyone by letting them go. Sad though it may be.

Additionally, it sounds silly to say, but this whole move has been a major adjustment for me. Even though we're only a couple of miles down the road, the atmosphere is totally different. I felt much more urban in our old neighborhood. I could walk to ice cream parlors (two) and drug stores (three) and coffee shops (four) and even a mall with my favorite stores. I could walk to sushi, to a toy store, to a few parks. It was busy and fun and I felt like we were close to everything. I knew my hood and I felt comfortable in it.

The new house is amazing. Perfect for us and ridiculously large. It makes our furniture look like doll furniture, the scale is so different. The kids have space to run and play and make messes and we don't feel cramped. But it is a total suburb. I can't walk to anything except the local parks, and anywhere I go I have to get on major roads. I feel like I'm constantly battling traffic and constantly in the car. I hate it.

Do I sound like a spoiled brat yet? Because every time I talk about this, I feel like one. We have this awesome new house and got everything we'd hoped for (within reason, I mean, because obviously the house is small in the grand scheme of things), but yet I'm still complaining. I miss being close to everything, I miss driving 2 minutes to Gabe's school, I miss walking for ice cream.

I think the other problem is that unfortunately, there is a lot of stress in this house at the moment for all the reasons I mentioned above. I can't seem to separate out the stress from the house, and so it is all jumbled together and sometimes it feels like only badness has happened in this house since we moved in, even though it totally isn't true.

Josie started really walking and running around here, Gabe learned to ride a bike in these hallways, we will eventually celebrate birthdays here (when we are healthy)- we'll make lots of memories in this house, I know.

Is this normal, though? When you moved, did you ever miss what you had before, even though your new place was so much better? There are moments where I think I might be losing it over here. I've dropped several things on my toes (besides the broken one) and I told Josh the house has it in for me. Maybe we need an exorcism? Or maybe just more chocolate?

Monday, December 28, 2009


My sweet, wonderful, loving, lunatic boy is turning three today.

I know I always say I can't believe it, but this time, I really really can't believe it.

I look at him and feel as if he was just born. It was only last week that I wrapped his tiny body into my arms, only a few days ago that I rocked him to sleep, only yesterday that he smiled for the first time, said mama for the first time, took his first steps.

How is he the same little boy who sings funny songs, tells jokes, gives his sister hugs and kisses, helps me make cookies, rides a freaking bike!

Explain to me how this happened? My sweet easy baby has remained a sweet easy toddler, or as sweet and easy as a toddler can be, I guess.

Gabe is easily appeased, almost always happy, eats everything we give him, sleeps like a dream, and continues to be loving and exceedingly sweet. I always cringe before I write this stuff because I might jinx myself, but I know he won't always be this delicious, so I have to write it down for posterity. He also beats on his sister a little too much for my liking, but let's leave that for a non-birthday post, shall we?

These past three years have been the best of my life, and I can not wait to see what he has in store for us.

Happy birthday Gabe! We couldn't love you more!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

the pooches

I took Tango and Murray in for a check-up on Friday and had another long talk (just one of several) with the veterinarian and the behavioral consultant. The consensus from everyone is that the best thing for the dogs is to go stay with our family friend, at least for a while, and see if things improve for them. The veterinarian felt that their health was actually deteriorating- Murray had lost weight, their heart rates were up, they seemed more stressed and nervous (both the vet and the vet technician commented on that), they seemed needier and more unhappy. Tango also has started to develop cataracts, which explains his extreme terror around the kids. He may not be able to see what they are doing clearly, and so everything surprises them and he lives in a constant state of fear.

My mom walked in the door from her flight after not having seen them for 6 months and asked, "what's wrong with Tango?" The change was obvious to her within 20 minutes. She said she hadn't seen him wag his tail and all he did was cower in the corner. A friend commented on the same thing the other day when he came to visit.

The bottom line, as the behavioral consultant keeps hammering home to me, is that sometimes you have to do the best thing for the dogs, even when it isn't what you want to do. We have to ensure they never ever bite the kids, and that means removing them from the current situation.

The plan is for our friend to come pick up the dogs tomorrow (Monday) and they'll go home with her. We'll keep evaluating as the days go by, but we're hoping we see an immediate improvement in them. If they seem dramatically happier, then they'll stay. If it doesn't work, they'll come back and then I don't know what we'll do.

I'm heartsick just thinking about tomorrow.

Making matters worse, Josh is away for the week in Germany and was supposed to be home today but has been delayed because of the storm. It is looking like he won't be here when she comes, and won't get to say his goodbyes to the dogs.

My mantra every moment I think about Tango and Murray leaving (which is approximately every 5 minutes) is that we are doing the best thing for the dogs. And the best thing for the kids. They shouldn't live with me yelling at them all the time either, which is what I've been doing because the dogs are so terrified all the time, I'm constantly managing everyone. I have to believe this is the right thing to do, and I have to believe the veterinarian and the behavioral consultant wouldn't tell me it was the right thing to do if it wasn't. If there was an alternative.

Still, tomorrow is going to be a fucking nightmare. I prayed and hoped it would never come to this. But this is the best thing for everyone.

It's the best thing for everyone.

It's the best thing for everyone.

Monday, December 14, 2009

happy birthday josie!

Today completes my first year as a mother of two. Can you believe it? Sometimes I can't, but then again, sometimes I can't believe Josie has only been here for a year. It feels like she stole my heart ages ago.

A year ago, I looked like this:

At midnight on December 14th, my water broke as I was climbing into bed, 7 hours of labor later and 3 minutes of pushing (literally) and my sweet baby girl was here.

She didn't make me a mother, but she has made me a better mother. Josie has taught me patience, she has shown me how much more love you have in your heart, she has graced our lives with laughter.

A short year later and she talks and laughs and runs around the house and rules the place. Her brother doesn't know what hit him and it is only the beginning.

I can't wait to spend the rest of my life watching her grow.

Happy Birthday to Josie!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

good news!

I took Josie in for her repeat lead test on Friday morning, and HURRAY! Her lead levels were back to normal!

Oh, the relief I feel is overwhelming.

We also had her ears checked, and the drug-resistant ear infection we've been fighting for NINE WEEKS and THREE different antibiotics has finally been kicked to the curb! Sleeping through the night again, here I come!

Well, as soon as those FOUR TEETH she is working on are finally through her gums, I mean. This child has no teeth whatsoever, so she decided to be an overachiever and work on several at one time.

I am so grateful and happy and it hammers home the message that healthy children is the only thing you can ask for! Yeah!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


The woman came over, and it was good. Or I should say, as good as this whole situation could be. She loves the dogs, and she had a Brussels Griffon puppy who passed away, so she is desperate to shower her love and attention on new dogs. She and her fiance won't be having any children (both in their late 40s and 50s) and the house would be all doggy, all the time. She even received clearance from her boss to bring the dogs to work with her, which I know they would love. They seemed to like her and kept going over to say hello and bring her toys and all that.

All of this doesn't make it any easier to contemplate not having Tango and Murray anymore. When I think about it from their perspective, the decision seems clear. They are clearly unhappy, clearly stressed, clearly and obviously do not like the kids. It has been 3 years, and they just aren't adjusting and in fact, it seems to be getting worse. Gabe walked into the room yesterday afternoon, and Tango got so stressed from seeing him 5 feet away, he pooped on the couch. Josh stepped in pee in the front hallway, right after they went for a walk. They cower behind the downstairs bathroom toilet if the kids make too much noise or start getting too rowdy, even if they aren't remotely near the dogs. The only time they seem happy is when the kids are napping or asleep for the night.

From my perspective, though, it is much harder. I feel like such a failure because I can't find a way to make this work. People have kids all the time and their dogs learn to adjust, so why can't mine? I can't bear the thought of them continuing to be unhappy, but I also can't bear the thought of abandoning them with someone else. I cannot believe they will grow old in someone else's home, in someone else's life. They are my dogs and I love them and I selfishly want to keep them, and I keep believing that a magical solution will come along to make things better.

I told Josh last night- I don't know if I can do this. I think they would be happier without kids around, but can I really let them go?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

literally and figuratively stinks

It's easy for me to blog about the things that are funny or annoying, frustrating or interesting. The stuff that really hurts, though, I always find myself holding back. It isn't a conscious thing, I'll just realize that days have gone by without me posting, and I know it is because I don't want to talk about the giant big (Gabe's favorite phrase) elephant in the room.

In this case, it's the dogs.

It just isn't working.

I kept telling myself that our problems with the dogs would be resolved once we were done moving and packing and selling the house, and our frustrations would magically disappear. I called the behavioral consultant, I tried walking them more often, playing with them a bit more, giving them their own private space, locking them out of our way for a while every day, letting them outside more often. I have yelled at Gabe more times than I'd like to remember for harassing them or chasing them or kicking them. I've cleaned up so many messes in the old house and the new house without saying a word to Josh because his frustration level is 3 times mine with regard to the dogs.

But still, things just stink.

As soon as we moved into the new house, despite taking them out several times a day, the accidents began happening right away. In one night, 4 pee accidents on the dining room rug. In one afternoon, poop in the kitchen, the living room, the front hallway, and the dining room. The dogs dislike the kids, but won't stay away from them, so I end up yelling at everyone because the dogs snap at the kids, the kids won't leave them alone, and the dogs won't leave the room.

Worst of all, the dogs seem anxious and sad. I know what they want- they want the life they had before we had kids, when I came home from work and played with them for a couple of hours, cooked their food, took them everywhere with us, slept with them in our room, but I can't give them that life anymore. The truth is the kids are here and I'm doing my best, and nobody is happy with the way things are going.

Josh is the most frustrated of all, and we regularly have arguments because I'm clinging to the idea that it will get better, and he is far beyond that point. A family friend would love to take the dogs, a middle-aged couple with no kids, and he thinks that is the best place for them. It kills me, though, and I'm drowning with guilt. I've probably cried every day for a week, anytime the subject comes up, and I simply cannot fathom not having Tango and Murray anymore. They were my babies! I pampered them in a totally insane, ridiculously extravagant way. I used to cry at the thought of them growing old. I have heaps of dog toys and sweaters and leashes and accessories. I love them, I do. I feel like I'm holding on to this life, though, while everyone else around me is unhappy.

Just tonight, about 10 minutes after they went out, the dogs pooped once in the living room and twice in the kitchen. I ended up stepping in the poop and tracked it throughout the house. Then I discovered that Josie had crawled through another area of poop and had it all over her hands and knees. I finally found it caked into one of Gabe's toys, smeared all over the cloth wheels and side of one of his favorite school buses.

I can't live like this, and the dogs shouldn't have to live locked in the kitchen or the bathroom or the basement, or wherever else I lock them when I just can't do it anymore.

Maybe this makes me a shitty dog owner, and trust me when I tell you, I'm consumed with enough guilt for all of us. Maybe, though, if I meet this couple, if I let Josh bring them in, maybe the dogs will be happier, maybe I'll be less stressed, maybe Josh will yell less, maybe we'll argue less over this.

I'm at the end of my rope on this, and I wish someone would just tell me the right thing to do.