Category Archives: Dogs
The last month and a half has been difficult. It’s not the kind of difficult that needs fixing, it’s just one of those periods of rough transition that inevitably comes and must be weathered in order to emerge with the tools you need for the next season. I call this a ‘desert time,’ referring to the many times in the Bible that God led people into the desert for a period of difficulty and growth, like Abraham, Moses, Elijah, David and Jesus.
Factors in the mix include:
- the kids’ adjustment to the new baby- which brings emotional and behavioral parenting challenges despite the fact that they are both in love with their little brother
- our family’s adjustment to June’s ongoing and changing medical needs- which also brings emotional and practical routine changes for all of us constantly
- a few recent emergencies and hospital trips with June (which all resolved well)
- the irregular schedule that comes with a new nursing baby
- the difficulty of having energetic young children under the same roof as elderly dogs
- the need to adjust physical limits and teaching/discipline strategies as the kids’ abilities and independence increase each day, not the least of which is June being able to remove her pulse ox and HME at will (more on that soon)
- the kids’ love of “sensory play,” and the soap, water, pom pom, toilet paper, cereal, coin, fabric, dirt, paint …. messes that result, often as a surprise discovery for me due to the previous point
- never-ending adventures in potty training ‘interest’ from the kids that I *try* to patiently encourage and help them with, but that doesn’t seem to be developing into actual training
- the typical holiday busy-ness with related events and tasks (though seeing family and friends was a very welcome treat)
- time spent launching my baby sign language business which was time well spent, but definitely a tight fit into our schedule and routine
- the normal end-of-the-year paperwork for the house, taxes, insurance, banking, career, etc.
This month and a half I’ve been mostly praying a variation on a specific part of the Lord’s prayer- “give us our daily bread-” by praying for manna for the day. By prayer I mean words mumbled with a palm on my face when the newest parenting challenge presents itself, as an alternative to breaking objects out of frustration- not prayers done formally during a serene, set-aside time. This is a reference to the Old Testament when God provided daily food- manna- to the Israelites every morning in the desert, but only enough for that day or that day plus the Sabbath. Similar to my favorite slogan, “One day (or hour or minute) at a time,” I find it comforting to focus on God’s provision for the current needs, even if the future needs and provision are unknown. And, like manna, I’ve had just enough energy and patience each day during this time to compete the bare essentials.
But I think and hope the ‘transition’ period is over and the ‘new season’ has begun.
A few tools I have emerged with, and have big hopes for, include:
- Prayer/meditation/alone time which I strive to capture once a day
- Continue to prioritize my own self-care and non-parenting activities like seeing friends, being involved in several church activities, and learning sign language
- Toy rotation (see this wonderful series on it)
- Rotation of the chore magnets, so that the often-skipped chores move up in priority the longer I avoid them
- Updated homeschool schedule– we’ve been pretty unstructured so far, which I feel is a good fit for the kids’ ages. However, I think a little more structure will help curb the conflicts between the kids and the surprise messes.
- Reorganization of several common “problem areas” of the house, which are no longer functional or which aren’t a good fit for the kids needs right now
- Expanding the use of “toy jail” to include temporarily losing toys that aren’t picked up at the end of the day
- Rehoming my sweet dog, Sahara, with my parents, perhaps temporarily until her hip problems and the kids’ spontaneity aren’t such a dangerous combination
- Playdates or outings- I plan to try my best, but it may not result in many trips because of our need to keep June away from sniffles/coughs, our need to be near to June’s medical equipment, June and Miles’ sensitivity to cold air, and having to work in/around June and Miles’ feedings
- A part-time return to cloth diapering, which I love but I avoided when June was young due to her health; I hope it will help with potty training and the challenges of having three kids in diapers
- Breathing. I’m surprised how often I catch myself nearly holding my breath when I’m stressed. Seems like breathing is good. I’d like to do more of it.
It seems like the surest way to derail your own plans is to announce your intentions. I have several decluttering series posts queued up but not quite complete; some of them might stay on pause until after Christmas. Last week June had another surprise trach plug which landed her in the hospital this time. Thankfully, she recovered from the plug just fine, but while being checked in the ER, they discovered her tachycardia had recurred. We recently celebrated a month of good weight gain which put June over 15 pounds (YAAY!!!), but apparently that also meant she grew out of her heart med dose. So, June and I checked into the “hospi-condo” for a few days while they adjusted her medication. We’re all home and healthy now, and working hard to catch up on Christmas to-do’s plus our normal schedule after the hospital stay (including blogging!) Stay tuned, I’ll be back to writing soon!
Today I got the whole gang together for a walk for the first time in several weeks. It’s been rainy and cold and we’ve been a busy little family. Plus I FINALLY bought new athletic shoes. My old ones were practically talking.
The complexity of making this walk happen struck me today, as it took even longer than normal. Parents may sympathize with this familiar list; non-parents may be inspired to enjoy many much simpler walks while they still can!
Parts of my walk prep: (cat not included unfortunately….she once snuck out of the house and sneakily “followed” the dogs and me, darting behind bushes from house to house as we walked, but normally she can’t go on walks)
* Check weather upon waking up to plan the best walk time according to temperatures and rain, then arrange meals, naps, and activities accordingly (I live in a part of town that gets rain, showers, sprinkles, and misting any time there is anything even remotely nearby coloring the radar)
*Dress in my walking clothes from the outset, as in Texas, sane people almost always choose to walk in the morning anyway
*Breakfast for humans and dogs. The delay to get ready allows ample time to digest.
*Put my knee braces on. The dogs start running laps and excitedly jumping on me from this point on.
*Undertake ordeal of finding where Rowan or I last put my socks and shoes, then put them on.
*Get water bottle ready
*Find stroller- possibly in garage, car, or wheeled to a strange place in the house by Rowan, who uses it as a jungle gym
*Make sure there are dog poo bags
*Find mace and put it in the stroller; mentally encourage myself to remember to take it OUT of the stroller at the end of the walk
*Next it’s time to get Rowan ready. Hopefully he needs a diaper change by now and thus, won’t be in need of one halfway through the walk. Gather new diaper, clothes which are weather/dirt appropriate, hat, socks and shoes and apply changes.
*Next it’s the dog’s turn. Find collars. I regularly remove these jingling collars so that they don’t disturb Rowan by scratching and randomly shaking out their coat and ears while he’s napping. I don’t have a regular spot I keep the collars though, so I have to look all over the house.
*Find leashes. This presents the same problem. They could be found in either vehicle, in the stroller, or strewn in a few places within the house.
*Find cell phone. Because I have no pockets in most of my walking clothes, my black cell phone will have been camouflaged on a black marble countertop or shelf at some point during this process. I have to backtrack to find it and sometimes, like today, ultimately use my cell phone locator feature to find it.
*Find house keys. They are almost always with my purse. Find purse. It’ll be in different places depending on whether I last had it with the diaper bag or unencumbered, or if I needed to reference something from it while on the phone or computer.
After a half hour preparing for the walk, we were ready to go today. I stepped outside and realized I had completely forgotten sunscreen for Rowan and me. Rowan has very sensitive skin and we are usually out for an hour or more in the Texas heat, so sunscreen is a friend of ours. But facing the prospect of turning the squirmy-wide-load combination of two dogs and stroller around to enter the house again, I decided that at 8am the sun would probably be forgiving. And off we went.
It’s all worth it– walks are EVERYONE’S favorite thing to do most days.
…when the pets leave life sized replicas of their coats spread around the house every few days. Here you see our solid brown couch don a marbled effect only days after vacuuming because of Sahara’s overly abundant embellishments. And here you see where I used our Furminator comb to thin out Sahara’s coat, ejecting each comb-full at my left foot. Yes, my left foot is actually in the picture, under the mountain of fur. Ah, spring is finally hair! Um, I’m furly certain it’s spring. Spring is here right on shed-ule.