Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Lid for Every Pot

Lately the kiddo has been asking questions about me and his dad. When I recently told him I had a secret to tell him (we were going somewhere special), he asked with a grin, "Do you have a boyfriend?" I told him I didn't, and he said, "Maybe Daddy could be your boyfriend! He's a pretty nice guy!" I smiled and told him that was a fine idea and Daddy is indeed a nice guy [to children, but I didn't say this], but I would probably get a different boyfriend someday -- someone who's also very nice.

Today after school (oh yes, he went back to school today at long last!), the kiddo told me, "I hope when I grow up, I meet a woman I like even more than I like [current supercrush] and get married to her and have kids." I told him that sounded really, really nice and that I was sure he would indeed meet someone amazing and get married when he's a grownup. "I bet [kid at school] won't find anyone to marry him because of that thing on his lip," he said. Oh, sure, I said, he'll find someone -- someone will marry him. "How do you know?" the kiddo asked. Well, I said, have you ever heard this funny expression? There's a lid for every pot. Do you know what that means? "That there's someone for every person?" the kiddo asked. Yep, I said. "Then why aren't you married?" he asked me. Well, I told him, I just haven't found the right lid yet. "You could marry Daddy!" he said. Ah, I said, I don't think that'll happen, dear. "Why not?" he asked. Well, it just didn't work out with us, I told him. "How do you know?" he said. "You and Daddy hardly ever talk! You never even gave it a try. You and Daddy could be boyfriend and girlfriend," he insisted.

I put my arm around him as we sat together on the couch. It's a complicated thing, I said, but Daddy and I did try being boyfriend and girlfriend a long time ago. "When?" he demanded. Before you were born, sweetie, I told him. It just didn't work out. Remember how it didn't work out with Daddy and [most recent girlfriend]? "Yeah," he said. "Did you kiss him on the lips?" Uh-huh, I said. "Then stick out your tongue," he told me. I stuck out my tongue and he reached out to touch it before I quickly dodged his little hand. What are you doing, I asked. "Trying to wipe off your tongue from the germs!" he giggled. Oh, don't worry, I said, laughing, I've brushed my teeth hundreds of times since then. "Good," he said.

You know, honey, I told him, I just want to make sure you understand this, because I don't want you to be disappointed that Daddy and I won't be getting married.

"I'm already disappointed," he said.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

In the Wee Hours

Thanks for your kind comments about the little sickie. After listening to my sweetie pie cough from about 1:45 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., I tiptoed upstairs, turned on the hallway light and waited to see if he would wake up enough for me to help him out. Wake up he did, and I gave him a drink of water, helped him blow his nose, and escorted him to the bathroom, with Suzy following me all the while, so he could go without turning on the main light (he's scared of the dark, but too much light in the middle of the night makes it harder for him to go back to sleep). While I waited for him to pee, I softly told him that even though he was coughing a bit, he was getting better all the time and would undoubtedly feel better in the morning. His reply: "Mom, I'm half-asleep -- LITERALLY* -- so I can't really hear what you're saying and I don't want to hear what you're saying." Okay, then! That cracked me up and I thanked him for telling me, then got him settled in bed once again, with a promise to stay up for a while and work on the computer so I could check on him periodically. After a few more minutes of coughing, he finally fell asleep again, thank goodness, and all is silent again. I've got a milder version of his cold, so I suppose I should go back to sleep, too. Something tells me I'll be keeping the kiddo home from school again tomorrow/today. It's just as well.

* Except it was more like "witerally" -- those beginning Ls are killer. :-)

Sunday, January 27, 2008


I'm still up after spending the first part of this rainy night listening to the kiddo cough. Recently I'd been thinking we were really on a healthy streak and I'd hoped it would continue. Ah, it was nice while it lasted, but he came back from his dad's house with a continual cough. He had the hardest time falling asleep because the cough kept waking him up, but he finally managed to stop coughing and seems to be actually sleeping now (fingers crossed). I've spent the last several hours lying on the bed with him, reminding him to lie on his side, checking the steamer, fetching cough medicine, helping him blow his nose, and offering appropriately sympathetic comments. At one point, he was coughing pretty hard and when he was done, he said, "This is really making me suffer!!" For sure!

Tomorrow (well, technically today) is his seventh birthday, and we'd planned to celebrate, but if the birthday boy is still hacking away tomorrow, we may postpone part of it. I already told him we might have to do that, and he was okay with it because he wants so much to be well. Oh, I just remembered -- now that he's actually asleep, I need to make the magical "nightstand presents" appear before I get too tired and fall asleep. I stole the nightstand present tradition from a friend's family -- a little gift always appears on the kiddo's nightstand on the morning of his birthday (or the day after, if he's spent his actual birthday with his dad). I always have to remind the kiddo that nightstand presents are usually little things, so he won't be disappointed to discover a candy bar and a small toy instead of a new video game. Ah, better toddle off and leave the gift now. I'm starting to yawn...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Who Needs Paint Anyway?

Oh, merciful heavens. It's pouring buckets and the kiddo is at his dad's, so I was snuggling with Suzy-dawg for a bit while I watched the hapless hopefuls on American Idol. (Seriously, I'm always SO SAD for the folks who think they can sing and really can't and then they don't get picked and they look so devastated -- AGH!) The Contractor in Charge of Canine Cuteness was so grateful for attention that she insisted on licking my neck despite my protests. I cannot even describe the kind of bad doggie breath she has. It's all kinds of bad. I really think I need a Silkwood scrub-down now. And I see more chlorophyll pills and a dental exam in Suzy's future. Goodness gracious. At least it's not as bad as this morning, when I was innocently working and suddenly caught a whiff of a paint-peeling dog fart. It's a darn good thing she's cute and lets me smoosh her about forty times a day. But I'm just sayin'...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Use Your Words

Last night I read some stories to my son for his homework assignment. The stories were from a client of mine who publishes children's stories designed to uplift moral character. They're really wonderful, and each story comes with discussion questions at the end. Schools can subscribe to the stories and use them in their lessons, so I dropped off a sample for my son's school principal and I'm hoping she'll subscribe at some point.

Anyway, after reading one story about two kids trying to resolve a conflict, I asked my son what he would do if he had to deal with a conflict like the one in the story.

His reply: "I would use words, like Martin Luther King [Jr.] did."

Maybe my son's school is doing a good enough job as it is! ;^)

Nail by Nail

After Suzy-dawg accidentally snagged a claw in my sweater and made a hole in it, I realized it was once again time to attempt to cut her nails. Which she hates. It's comical, really, to the point that my son has asked that he always be allowed to watch when I try to clip Suzy's nails. It's entertainment for him!

Usually I hold Suzy in my lap and kind of anchor her body with my legs, pet and praise her a lot and try to surreptiously clip one nail every few minutes. She squirms relentlessly, but she wants so much to be cuddled by me, the leader of the pack, so she looks at me with suspicion and longing. At the same time, she makes a continuous low noise in her throat, as though she's heading for a blow-up (in which she'll yip at me), so I back off when her noise gets a little too urgent-sounding. That seems to keep things under control somewhat.

Tonight I managed to cut ONE NAIL in about 30 minutes.

I've been trying to help her get used to having her paws handled, but she truly hates it. When the nail trimmers are nowhere in sight, I invite Suzy onto the couch, where we snuggle and I gently hold her paws for a second or two -- before she yanks them away and tucks them under her body. It's hilarious and frustrating at the same time. I don't want to smoosh her body like I've seen in photos online that show how to hold a dog when cutting its nails; Suzy is a ten-pound, delicate little thing, after all. Still, I'm thinking I may have to bring in an adult helper one of these days. I don't want to pay for something as simple as nail trimming. Well, something as ostensibly simple as nail trimming. ;^)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

At Least He Didn't Say "Uranus"

My son is becoming a little too cool for this world. When I picked him up from school today, he gave me his best impression of a teenager dissing his mother. Oh yes he did. Apparently nothing I did was right or good, so he felt he didn't have to listen to me. Wayull...since our latest project is teaching him to be respectful, I imposed the dreaded "no G*me B*y" consequence, which resulted in plenty o' tears. (No, not mine.)

But the kiddo is a smarty, and all the way home he kept trying to negotiate with me. I'd clarified his consequence, saying that he had to finish all his homework immediately after school and before being allowed to play his game. "When we get home, can we have a hug to reconnect?" he sniffled. Sure, I said. "Okay," he continued, "I'll hug you on one condition: that I get to play my game right when we get home." Nope, I said, Mommy sets the conditions, not you, and I already said you need to finish your homework right away before you get to play your game. "Would you have let me play my game first if I hadn't been disrespectful?" he asked. Yep. Kiddo: (wails).

"You know what?" he blustered, "I have a love meter! And it goes from one to a hundred! And right now you're at ninety-five!" Oh, okay, I said. "Wait! I think there was something else you did yesterday that I didn't like, so you're really at NINETY!!" Oh, okay. "Wait. How about ninety-three? Yeah, you're at ninety-three, okay?" Sure, but remember I love you all the time and it's my job to help you grow up to be a good man, okay? "Yes," he said, "but I wish I could blast your butt to Jupiter!"

Hey, seriously, do you want to play your game at all today? "Yes! Yes! I was just kidding!" Hmm.

And now his homework is all finished and packed for tomorrow, he happily played his game, and he came over periodically to hug me. Guess I crept back up on the love meter. Won't be long until I slip back down down a few points, though. It's really more like a love yo-yo. ;^)

As I snuggled him a little at bedtime, he asked, "So are you still mad about my behavior today?" No, absolutely not, I told him.

"Yeah," he said, "I did my time."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

It's Always This Way

Today at the store, the kiddo decided to walk instead of riding in the cart. Usually I like to keep him in the cart (in the main part -- the seat is obviously way too small for an almost-seven-year-old) so I can face him and talk with him...and not hear complaints about how much time we're spending in the store. Lately, though, the kiddo has discovered that by walking, he can grab everything off the shelves, thrust items in front of my face, and beg me to buy them. That's a lot of fun for everyone and doesn't impact our schedule at all. Ahem. Anyway, today he wanted to play his new G*me B*y game while he was walking behind me. I noticed that other shoppers were forced to watch out for him in order to avoid collisions; he clearly wasn't watching out for them. When I suggested that he put away his game and watch where he was going, he replied, "Geez, Mom, I do know about peripheral vision!" First I laughed, then I told him to get over himself and give me the game. Luckily for him, he complied. ;^)

Saturday, January 05, 2008

And the Forecast Calls for Rain All Weekend

Suzy-dawg (she is indeed a dog) always does a funny little tap dance when I pick up her leash each morning. She dances gleefully into the corner near the front door, lets me clip her leash to her harness, then shakes herself out. When I open the front door, she immediately dashes outside.

Except when it's raining.

When it's raining, she stops short at the threshold, stares blankly outside, then looks up at me as if to say, "You're kidding me with this, right?" At that point, I pretty much have to haul her outside and down the stairs to the ivy patch, which is soaked with rain, and into which she will not venture. At that point, I pretty much have to haul her into the ivy patch, where she steps gingerly (because she has completely forgotten that she's a DOG), casts rueful glances at me and, after about five minutes of our standing in the rain, will reluctantly pee. No poop, though; she's too dainty to poop in the rain.

When we come inside, I throw her pill* into her bowl; she usually eats it right away, although sometimes she only sniffs at it and politely asks for the next course, which she hopes will be cheese. (She is disappointed more often than not.) After she eats her pill, I throw food in her bowl and she eats a bit as long as I'm standing right there; usually she gobbles like a prisoner, furtively glancing back at me to make sure I haven't left the scene. If I move even a few feet, she stops eating and cheerfully follows me.

At times like these, Suzy is a lot like a very needy boyfriend: "Where are you going? What are you doing? Can I come over? But that was yesterday! Don't you love me? I don't need a life when I have you! You are my life! Call me, okaaaaay??"

Some people kindly call this "loyalty" or "love." I call it "a little bit obsessive."**

On rainy days like today, when Suzy's fur is still wet and she won't eat, I usually turn on the space heater and hope she discovers the joy of lying in front of it to warm up and dry like my sister's dog does (because he's oh-so-secure in his dogginess). Instead she prefers to follow me around the house, occasionally pushing the bathroom door open with her snout if I dare to sneak too many moments of privacy; if I take a shower, she paces the floor and whimpers. When I finally perch at my desk, the still-wet Suzy-dawg sniffs around and eventually decides to take a nap in the pile of papers on the floor next to my desk.

And the forecast calls for rain all weekend. ;^)


* Suzy is now on Clomic*lm for her anxiety. I'll let you know if it starts working.

** Lest you think me unkind, I do understand that Suzy's anxiety and obsessive behavior (she will lick your arm for an hour if you let her -- and my son usually lets her) likely comes from her past experiences/treatment. She's eight years old and was adopted from the shelter only about seven months ago by her owner, so it's anyone's guess what her first seven-odd years were like. I would suppose she was abandoned for a significant length of time, since she refuses to let me out of her sight, and I'm sad for her for going through whatever she went through. I hope that with time and consistently loving care, she'll eventually learn that she doesn't have to follow us everywhere, and that we will always come back. I hope she somehow learns over time that she will never be abandoned again, but I'm not terribly optimistic about this. Whatever she went through was clearly traumatizing and will be hard, or even impossible, to undo. Poor Suzy.