Sunday, July 31, 2011

Two dogs enter, one dog leave

Staaaaalk….staaaalk….staaalk.  Skitter, skitter, skitter, GROOOWWWWLLLLL!!!!  Nuzzle, nuzzle, nuzzle.  So begins another day in Dog Battledome. 

Our near-hoard consists of three dogs – two twee little Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and one…rectangular Cairn Terrier.  

For those of you that don't know the breed, Cavaliers are basically Golden Retrievers stuffed into a little 12-pound box of cuddly awesomeness.  They LOVE to snuggle - even if this means squiggling under the covers and giving you an affectionate goose in the middle of the night in an attempt to get as close as humanly (caninely?) possible.  Or placing their ladybits far too close to your face for comfort as they drape themselves over your head in an effort to sleep next to you on your pillow.  Precious, I tell you.

Our third dog is not a snuggler.  His jumping-onto-the-bed days are long behind him.  To form an appropriate mental picture of our Cairn, first picture a cute tan Toto dog.  Now balloon that sucker up to a … healthy 35 pounds.  (Cavs:  Um, can you leave some for us?  We thought you were, um, trying to lose weight?  Cairn:  LAY OFF MAN, I’M STARVING!!)

Now that we're one animal shy from a camera crew and professional organizer showing up at our door, Husband has firmly put his foot down to declare that no more animals come in until one goes out.  Which leads to how our third dog came into our house in the first place a year ago.  At the time, our Cairn was 11 years old and looked like he was on his way out.  He sat, he lolled, he generally looked cantankerous.  His nickname became the Grumpy Old Man.

Cav1 had been with us for a good six months at this point and become quite attached to Grumpy.  She LOOOOVVVVVED him.  If she had opposable thumbs, she would doodle “C+G 4evR” in her notebooks and have a neighbor’s dog pass him notes that read, “Do u like Cav1?  Check yes or no.”  Grumpy did nothing to encourage Cav1’s affections, but this made her love him even more.

We started to get worried when Cav1’s love took a turn into Stalkerville.  She would sit at the window and watch with particular intensity when Grumpy would go out for a walk.  When we had to take him to the vet one day, Cav1 freaked.  She ran laps, she whined, she whimpered.  Girlfriend practically boiled a rabbit.  Since Grumpy looked to be not long for this earth, we decided that we needed to get Cav1 a friend to preserve her sanity on the fast-approaching day when Grumpy went to live with a nice family in the country.

Enter Cav2.  He quickly became the Yin to Cav1’s Yang, the peas to her carrots, the Fred to her Ginger.  She looooooves him….and he loves her right back.  These two crazy kids give each other good morning AND good night kisses.  They snuggle on the couch and watch reality TV together.  They anxiously monitor our windows together and bark in unison at any passing cat, dog or stiff breeze.  (And Grumpy?  Has a new lease on life.  We think he realized the Monty Python implications of Cav2’s entrance and decided there was no way we were throwing him on the cart.  “I feel fine….I think I’ll go for a walk.  I feel happyyyyy!!") 

Cav1 and Cav2’s relationship is not without its troubles.  They fight.  A lot.  A typical fight goes like this: 

            Cav2 crouches and tracks Cav1’s movements.

            Cav1 realizes she is being stalked and freezes.  Swivels her head 360 degrees for intimidation and gives Cav2 a “bring it” look.

            Cav2 rears back slowly, slowly, slooowwwwly and…..POUNCES!

            Dogs rocket around the house, chasing each other ferociously (skitter, skitter, skitter).

            Cav2 executes a flawless leap and takes Cav1 down by the neck.

            Much growling and flailing ensues as they engage in MORTAL KOMBAT!!

            Dogs realize that we are watching them, perk up and wag tails enthusiastically, thinking that a W-A-L-K may be coming.

            Dogs are momentarily disappointed by the lack of W-A-L-K and retire to their separate corners to regroup and retool war strategy. 

            Dogs forget that they just attempted dogicide and engage in copious amounts of doggy love.

            Lather, rinse, repeat.  For 8 *$%(@#$% hours.

And Grumpy watches it all with a little smile.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Emergency Room

We have a very strict division in our house with respect to child injuries.  I handle vomit, Husband handles blood.  So, when The Boy ran into a corner of the kitchen wall last night during his one-man football game and split his head, the job fell to Husband to take The Boy to the ER.

My boys left at 7:30 p.m. and returned home (with The Boy sporting 3 staples but sleeping soundly) at 2:30 a.m.  Though a long process, Husband thankfully decided that waiting 6 hours for emergency room service can be a blessing, as it means that you aren’t the worst-looking patient in the room. 

Also, because he is the best husband in the world, Husband also made careful mental notes on his surroundings to accurately report back any nutty goings-on.  Overall, Husband decided that a late-night ER visit can be a learning experience. 

Here are the various nuggets that Husband took from last night’s jaunt, in no particular order:

1.  Being pregnant (think VERY visible bump stage) in no way, shape or form mandates the purchase of maternity pants.  Or even pants one size bigger.  Just undo that first button and zipper on the ol’ skinny jeans and let the world bask in the glow of your outie belly button.  And, um, pubis bone.  Because girrrrrrrl, you look fiiiiiiiiiiine.

2.  Contrary to popular belief, hospitals aren’t actually meant to be quiet places.  Nope – those convalescing don’t need peace and quiet.  Instead, as decided by our same momma-to-be, those in need of emergency room services can best benefit from a 2-year old running laps around the chair islands yelling indiscriminate sounds.  So for a good 2 hours, Husband heard “aaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAA!!!!!!”

(After about 10 rotations, The Boy looks at Husband and raises his eyebrows, as if to say “You gettin’ this?”  I love this kid.)

3.  Running laps for a solid 120 minutes can be tiring for a toddler, resulting in a complete and utter meltdown.  Now parents, don’t fret, for momma-to-be will show you the light.  Don’t even think of gently cradling the child in your lap and rocking him or her to sleep.  No, the proper way to calm said child is to empty the strawberry milk from child’s bottle and refill the bottle so the child has a nice, fresh, cold drink.  Of Pepsi.  At 10:00 at night.

4.  The night shift of ER receptionist staff may feel that the post-9 pm crowd would appreciate some blue humor.  Hence the receptionist asking The Boy “were you drunk?” after The Boy said that he got cut after he walked into a wall.  For those of you who may have just joined us, The Boy is 6.

5.  Yet another nickname for The Boy is Captain Midnight.  This stems from The Boy’s Rainman-like propensity to ask for the time on a near-minute basis.  Last night’s ER odyssey was no exception.  At least once a minute, The Boy asked for the time.  This continued (“aaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAaaaaa”) minute by minute from 8:00 p.m. until…..

            1:30 a.m.

            The Boy:  Daddy, what time is it?

            Husband:  It’s 1:30, buddy.

            The Boy:  (head turns wearily away and sighs)  I gotta get out of here. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Thank Heaven for little girls

Let us turn our attention to the ladies of my crazy little clan, shall we?  First up, Girl #1.

Girl #1 is a little spitfire.  I say little because she is a full foot shorter than some girls in her class.  Lining up by height always results in Girl #1 being first. 

But what Girl #1 may lack in height, she more than makes up for with a fiery personality.  For example, in my household, you do NOT speak ill of The Biebs. (Justin Bieber for you unfortunate people who have not seen Never Say Never.)  Girl #1 adores The Biebs.  She wore purple for him on his birthday and was very excited to report that he and Selena Gomez broke up.  Her room is currently papered with Bieber paraphernalia and I have a sneaking suspicion that she blows kisses to his posters.  (We had NKOTB, today’s girls have The Biebs.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.)

Being 11, Girl #1 is quickly entering the Tween Years.  No, I will not let her call herself a teenager.  I won’t even officially give her Tween status.  Go ahead, call us strict – wait until you have an almost-teenager and see how teens (and Tweens) dress nowadays.  I have no need for my daughters to bear slogans on their backsides, thank you very much.  These years involve a ramping up of conflict between Girl #1 and us, the evil, horrible, you’resounfaireveryoneelsegetstodoit Parents.  This will last, as it did with me, until the girl in question is approximately 25.  So strap in.

In the mind of a tween, exchanges pretty much go like this:

Meanhorribleparent:  (spitting fire) GIRL #1 BAAAAAAAAD!!!!  GRAWWWWLLLLL!

Girl #1:  (plaiting long blond hair at the top of a tower)  Please madam, I’m sorry if I offended you in any way, but I can assure you that it shan’t happen again.

Meanhorribleparent:  (raking claws on ground)  BAAAAAAAADDDD!!!!  STAAAAAIRRRRSSSSS!!!!

Girl #1: (feeding various woodland creatures)  Very well, if I must.  I accept this punishment and hope that I no longer displease you in the future.

Usually things start small.  Talking back, eye roll, you know the drill.  We use time-outs, a la Supernanny’s naughty step. 

One balmy summer evening, a conflict began.  I can’t remember the specifics, but likely the usual Tween stuff.  However, when assigned her timeout, Girl #1 got angry.  Really angry.  As Husband took her to the step, Girl #1 went all Mike Tyson on us.  She writhed, she kicked, she squirmed.  Yet, as true Supernanny devotees, we stuck firm in our conviction that she serve her time on the naughty step. 

As she realized that she needed to do a little bit of hard time, Girl #1 had a bit of a Kelly Bensimon-esque break with reality.  Girlfriend snapped.  She reached deep into the recesses of her brain and hurled the absolute worst insult she could think of at Husband.

“Get your hands off me, fudge!”

Only she didn’t say (scream) fudge.

She said the queen mother of all curse words for a little pint-sized almost-Tween.  The B word.  (Wait, what?  You thought she said THAT???  Noooooo.  Sounds like someone has been watching a little too much A Christmas Story if you ask me.)

As a parent, when something incredibly shocking comes out of your child’s mouth, you have several options.  Let’s play along at home, shall we?  Choose the answer that best responds to the situation.  Imagine your child has just thrown their first curse at you.  Do you:

A.   Run away clutching a white handkerchief to your bosom shrieking “my baby!  My baaaaaaaaby!” 

B.   Bring your other children into the room to have a Full House inspired talk about appropriate language, complete with tender plinky-plunky musical accompaniment.

C.   Immediately turn away from the child so s/he cannot see your mouth twitching with suppressed laughter, regain your composure and talk about how your mother used to wash your mouth out with soap.  (Including the details about how she used to use detergent and hook her finger to make sure all the liquid RUBBED INTO THE GUMS.)

D.   Curse right back – kid’s gotta know how to take it if she can dish it out, right?

We went with C and still giggle about our little Osbourne to this day.  Hey, I’ve said that I’m heartless but never pretended to be mature.  Not unrelated, Husband also hasn’t been cursed at or out by the Kiddos in recent memory.  Win, win, win.

The Boy by any other name...

Husband and I recently introduced the Kiddos to the wonders of The Cosby Show.  Not the later episodes when they introduced Cousin Pam and immediately jumped the shark, the early stuff.  When Theo needs to learn the ways of the world so those crazy Huxtables transform the house into the ‘real world.’  (Much like I did, Girl #2 immediately asked if she could be taught the same lessons and could we please please PLEASE turn our house into the ‘real world’?????)  When those crazy Huxtables choreograph a dance not once but twice for the grandparents’ anniversary.  When Denise makes Theo a jacked-up version of a designer shirt.  (A moment of reality if I may?  Come on, people.  Those kids would not have accepted that fabric vomit of a shirt as ‘cool.’ But I digress.)

I didn’t appreciate Bill Cosby’s true genius when I was little and watched the show with my mom.  Now that I have children of my own, I can see how precisely he nailed the fact that, as the Cos himself puts it, children don’t listen or pay attention to the world around them in any way, shape or form because they have brain damage. 

(Quick sidebar – if you are a parent and you have not yet watched Bill Cosby: Himself, do it immediately.  I’ll wait.  Back?  SEE??!?!?!?!  Brain damage!  For those of you that just barreled on through and kept reading, he doesn’t really mean literal brain damage.  Kid brain damage – that part of the brain that lets the kid blissfully continue playing despite the fact that you have now yelled his name FIFTEEN TIMES.  Deep breath.  Moving on.)

We have three children.  Girl #1, Girl #2 and The Boy.  The Kiddos currently range from 6 to 11 years old.  Being a parent has been grounding, enlightening, blah blah blah.  (Um, have I mentioned my general black-heartedness?  No?  Well, Husband sometimes refers to me as Nurse Ratched.  So there’s that.)

Anywho, each Kiddo fits very well personality-wise with the Huxtable kids.  Girl #1 is Denise, Girl #2 is Vanessa and The Boy is Rudy with a healthy dose of Theo thrown in for good measure.  While Girl #1 and Girl #2 will get their own introductions, today I want to sum up The Boy.

The Boy hurtles his way through life, hence his previous nickname of Captain Destructo.  A current nickname is the Shirtless Wonder.  The Boy would happily traipse through Target, visit the White House, have dinner with the Queen, etc. without a shirt.  When the doors of our Fortress of Solitude close, The Boy’s shirt comes off.  He can’t quite explain why the feel of cotton against his skin is so offensive, but it’s an almost Pavlovian response.

The Boy also loves his sisters very much.  At 6, the greatest honor he can think of to express the depth of his love is to give his sisters nicknames.  Girl #2 and The Boy are especially close and she  consequently achieved nickname status first.  One day they were playing LPS (that’s Littlest Pet Shop for those of you without elementary-aged girls) and I heard The Boy asking “Mares” to give him a certain pet.
The particular nickname caught my attention because it was the same nickname that the Kiddos’ great-grandfather used for Girl #2’s namesake.  I called The Boy over to ask how he had come up with Mares.  His response gives you everything you need to know about The Boy.

“Yeah, I call her Mares.  I don’t know where I got it.  And Mom, you can call me AIDS.”

Aaaaaaaaaaand scene.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mad Dance Skillz, Yo

“Attention everyone, this is the Countess speaking…”  Oh LuLu, you irrepressibly self-centered (self-deluded?) little housewife, you!

I bring up the Lady Barry White as a graceful segue into my slight obsession with reality tv.  Especially anything bearing an Andy Cohen production credit.  Whether it be cooking, decorating or matchmaking (none of which I do, by the way), the fine, fine people at Bravo TV have us all covered.  Let’s just leave it at the fact that the Kiddos recognize the “Bravo song” when Britney’s “I Wanna Go” comes on the radio, shall we?

During the summer, my interest spreads to FOX and So You Think You Can Dance.  (Spin-off idea – the crazy goings on in the house the contestants live in.  Come on, we all know some freaky-deaky stuff must be going down there.) 

While last night was no exception – didn’t quite love the Sasha/Melanie routine as much as Gaga did despite my utter lack of anything resembling dance training – the evening did bring one exciting development. 

My husband made up a dance move.

Now, I freely admit that Husband has a much better sense of time, space and movement than yours truly.  He sprained his ankle during his freshman year of college and danced better on crutches than most of his fraternity brothers.  However, one must have a certain….appreciation for the fact that one’s college years (and college agility) concluded over ten years ago.

I don’t know if it was the excitement of the reappearance of Neil or what, but all of a sudden Husband decided to leap off of the couch and…. spin…while … kicking up his … right leg.  Arms akimbo (but jazz hands splayed), the move concluded when Husband threw the left leg desperately after the right. 

The end result can be best described as, um, bended leg movement.  With a twirl.  Not quite sure that he will be on the Hot Tamale Train any time soon.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Husband!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Ah, the birth of a new blog.  This has been knocking around in my head for a while, just waiting for a bit of inspiration to come forth.  No big come to Jesus moment, but it feels like the right time.

So, here we post number 1.  Welcome!  Take a look around, test the couches, check out the curtains and upholstery.  Good?  Good.  Let's get to the fun stuff - me.

I am your (sometimes) gracious hostess, Alison.  My purpose?  To shine a light on my everyday crazy that comes with being a daughter, mom, wife and (new) teacher.  All prepared lovingly with a healthy dose of snark - because, really, snark and laughter keeps a general sense of sanity in my family and household.  So strap in, kids - we're off!