One More Mommy

Thoughts of a mom and her husband, son, daughter, pets, friends, job (or lack thereof), house, family, trying to be more ecologically aware...

Monday, August 29, 2005

Not an Easy Pet

I have a dog. She’s 55-60 pounds or so, black-brown with super short hair, a curled tail and a blocky head. Hm, blocky head? Yes, we think she is part pit bull. And probably part lab.

We adopted Mocha in February of 2004. She had been seen wandering around in a neighboring suburb in January and a team of volunteers spent one frigid Saturday trying to catch her. She was smart enough to learn to back track in her own footprints to avoid them, but she’s not smart enough to avoid smacking her head into walls. It’s a conundrum!

After being chased for 8 hours, Mocha turned herself in the following Monday when factory workers showed up to work. This is what we knew about Mocha when we adopted her from PetSmart one Saturday. She was calm there, walking with one of the volunteers very well.

This is my warning to you – what you see at a PetSmart is not what you get.

She pooped in our house daily. She peed in our house. She bit a friend of ours. She goes after other dogs that get too close. She’s incontinent. The hair on her belly from her spaying took a year and a half to grow back.

Mocha is my difficult pet. The cats, also both rescues, have always been great. Not once have they sprayed anything, and even if my litter box cleaning isn’t up to snuff, they don’t poop anywhere else in the house, though they will poop next to the litter box. And the cat with claws only scratches at the furniture when he wants my attention (and he gets it immediately!).

Ah, but Mocha. She barks at EVERYONE she sees passing the house. Or sees by pressing her face into the fence and stretching it out until she sees a hint of movement. She’s extremely tense when people come to visit, particularly men. She’s snapped at people she knows and likes, only to be contrite when she realizes who they are (thankfully, never going for skin, just warning them away). The dog down the street in Wisconsin hates her, and my husband and I by association, because Mocha once bit her nose.

There are silver linings to her problems, though. She doesn’t bite other dogs with intent to really hurt them, just get them away. I think she does it out of fear, because when we’re walking her, and we see another dog, she’s on alert, but eager to get away away away (can we walk faster?) from the source of worry. She’s playful with the cats though she killed a groundhog in Wisconsin (Very. Very. Unpleasant.) She’ll listen to us even when off leash and in a scuffle with another dog. When we put her in a kennel she is extremely well behaved.

And I’ve learned things. Things about Pit Bulls - they’re not as astute as other dogs in sight and smell, so they have a harder time figuring out threats. Socialization is essential for these breeds of dogs. I understand dog behavior and warning signs much much better. And people who ask you if your dog is a pit – these are generally people who realize that pit bulls are maligned as a breed because of people who breed and train them poorly.

Mostly now, I keep Mocha from situations that could cause problems. It’s too much to ask of people to work with me on approaching a protective dog. She has a crate that she doesn’t love, but doesn’t mind either. She’s crated when we leave the house to prevent bathroom accidents (it also allows the cats a break from her playing). We work with her on a regular basis to keep her mentally fit and remind her that we’re in charge. (She can’t eat the food we put down until we say ‘go eat’. Sometimes I’ll forget, and the poor dog will be standing there, drooling, five minutes later.) She’s great with Luke now, but I’ll keep an eye on their interactions. And keep Luke from her food bowl, because even dogs with better histories than Mocha’s (though she’s never shown food aggression) can snap when someone goes towards their food bowl.

And next time, we’re buying a well bred puppy. And maybe adopting an older dog that someone gave up because it was ‘too old’ (an actual reason given, and for which, I hate people).

Friday, August 26, 2005

Six Month Checkup!

Luke went in for his six month check up yesterday! 18 pounds o’ baby! Which is only in the 50th percentile, so all the idiots who keep telling me “He’s so big!” or “I thought he was a year old!” are just crazy. Nobody knows what six month old babies are supposed to look like.

He got two shots, which messed him up and he was crying and very upset at home. I tried a bottle and he smacked it away scornfully. I tried holding and rocking him – there was much squirming and flailing. Walking and bouncing worked for a few minutes, then the screaming started right up again. I put him in the vibratey chair the put him to sleep a few weeks back and he threw himself forward against the seat belt because HOW DARE I sit there and no be holding him!!

Finally, I set up the travel swing and aimed it at Baby Einstein (weirdest videos ever, but he loves ‘em!) and then exited stage left so he couldn’t see me. He fussed a bit and then settled in with his technological babysitters and dozed off. Thank GOD for batteries and DVDs.

He went to bed at 8 without too much fuss, and I followed about 9 (see how lively I am! I stayed up a WHOLE HOUR after my baby!). At 11, he let out a tremendous scream that had me leaping out of bed ready to fight off intruders, drive to the emergency room, lift a car off my baby, etc etc. Except nothing was wrong. His foot wasn’t caught between the crib bars, his diaper was dry, NOTHING was wrong. So I flipped him over, gave him his pacifier and afghan (because I want to wean him off two items of dependency later) and we went back to bed.

Of course, my heart was still pounding fight or flight mode and it took me awhile to calm down and realize that my husband wasn’t home. But he would be getting home soon… zzzz…

Midnight – more screaming! Still no problems, flip, soother, pacifier, afghan, baby sleep. Husband not home. Realize, it’s Thursday night, and the idiot is playing cards. Call, bitch and moan at husband, who tells me he thought it was presumed that he would be out playing cards on Thursday. I think I must be some awesome wife who has a husband who can presume I know he’s out playing cards (note – these games often go until 4 or 5 AM). He assures me he will be home at 2-3 AM.

Go back to bed. Realize that Luke had shots and has NOT gotten any Tylenol since the doctor’s office at 2:30 the previous afternoon. Realize that I am a terrible mother not to know what is wrong with my child and his chubby little thighs are hurting him.

2 AM – more crying. This time I give him the Tylenol and pacifier/afghan/soothe. Husband STILL not home.

3:30 – more crying. I actually have to pick him up to calm him down a bit. Change very wet diaper in dark, praying that there are no other surprises in the diaper as I take it off. Phew. Husband – not home. Call and bitch at husband, who assures me he’s only a half hour late. Idiot.

5:10 AM – ‘Wake up’ crying (which is more of a whining, get me out of this crib, I’m hungry). Get Luke, feed him in recliner, as I try to get a few more minutes half asleep. Luke is happy and awake and begins kicking me gleefully. Luke is also very clingy. I spare husband and allow Luke to cry in his crib (the HORROR the INJUSTICE of being placed back in the crib when I am AWAKE!) while I shower.

6:15 AM – Attempt to wake husband so I can take care of last minute out the door details before work without 18 pound baby in my arms. Husband is pissy (shocking, since he got home at 3:45 AM and has slept for 2.5 hours, but really, WHOSE DAMN FAULT IS THAT?). Stomp around room and declare he has eight minutes to wake up, and this is his baby too and dammit I’m SUPPORTING him through grad school, get yer butt out of bed. Or something like that. Get dog out of crate, feed dog, water dog, feed baby rice cereal, about which he is shaking and waving his arms in glee! Cereal! YAY! Walk baby back upstairs. Baby spits up cereal on shirt. Set baby down to change shirt. CRYING! NOT BEING HELD!

Work is peaceful today.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Letter turned blog entry

Dude, I have a countdown for when M is done with grad school and I can quit quit quit because I am so not wanting to deal with work. Because I don't understand why people actually CARE about the stuff at work that they get in big giant freaking debates over. So yeah, Elisette = no ambition. At least not in corporate world. And since I don't know what I'd want to do in my own business, I am left ambitionless.

The point being, I am not so into the money. I would like to spend days laying in front of Luke and saying 'ooooooo!' back to him as he reaches and grabs my eyelashes and yanks them out. This sounds like a wicked good day.

Job hopping makes you totally delusional on real raises, though. Because I just got my annual raise (during which my boss made the comment to the effect of 'you did what you could considering what you were dealing with' (the evil consultants) so yeah, it was just the middle of the road review, not warm and gushy and not bad.) But anyway, the raise was 3%... vs the 20% when I job hopped, so I was all, um, yeah, thanks, I guess. But I did GET the 3% raise, which is more than the rest of the company got because they froze raises, except for me, since they realized because of the frozen raises I would not have gotten a raise for two years and that was sucky.

Reality, it does suck, and I really want a gas card now. (Like she had in the movie)

Luke has tried the fruit puffs and he does not like them. He likes to touch them and throw them on the floor, but if you move towards his mouth he clamps his little jaw shut. And if you get one on his tongue, the FACES he makes! ACK ACK it's DISSOLVING ON MY TONGUE! My child, apparently is a clone of me except with boy parts. Food is sucky. Except rice cereal! MMM! He has been eating like a horse, though.

Oh! And the bestest development is that Luke can now hold his own bottle. I can lay him on the floor and give him the bottle and he's set to go. He's very milestony in most respects though. It's almost like he read the baby book before hand and thought, oh, I get teeth at six months! Check!

Luke is the least scheduled baby in the world. I think they try to schedule him at daycare, but he only takes half hour naps to mess with them. He will be adaptable! That's the theory. That I came up with this second.


Luke is my son. He's six months old, an adorable, sweet, happy baby. He's gotten to the stage where he's so much fun because he laughs and laughs at us. He is my first child.

M is my husband. He's smart, Italian, sarcastic, and going to grad school. Full time. In theory he will get a good paying job and I can stay home with Luke and subsequent children. Because I want to, desperately.

Mocha is our dog - a stray, half pit, half lab. She can't swim, she hates other dogs, and she hates men coming into our house. She has bitten a friend of ours. She is a pain in my ass, but she loves the baby. LOVES him. She thinks the cats want to play with her. They don't. She'd eat you if you tried to break in.

Moxy is our tabby cat. He's ALWAYS trying to get outside. He's in your face, on your lap, and wants more food.

Simba is our orange and white cat. He like to go into odd places and so far has gotten into our walls, our ceiling, and on top of ductwork. He gets pretty grungy. Surprisingly, he loves the baby, too, and lets Luke grab his ears and fur without complaint.

This is my home. It can be chaotic, but I'd miss anyone who wasn't there. Except at 5 AM, when everyone needs to eat. RIGHT NOW, dammit, RIGHT NOW.

Sleeping too early

Last night Luke went to sleep ridiculously early - at 6:15. He's six and a half months old, and I figured since I was getting up early to come to work anyway, just let hime sleep. He was up at 4:15, so I made him a bottle and brought him to bed with me, and after he finished eating he napped with me until 5:20, when I got up and got ready for work. Apparently at 6:30, he began crying inconsolably and my husband was losing his mind. Daycare doesn't open until 7, so M was not a happy camper. M does not deal well with the crying, incolsoable baby. He's been known to find me after five minutes of crying and let me know he was done and passing the child off to me. Since I have a hard time NOT being the one to hold Luke while he's crying (mommy must fix it mommy must fix it) this usually works out well.

Yesterday when I decided to start an online diary (again) to become a "Mommy blogger" I was feeling much wittier. Much much. Now, not so witty.