Will it ever be simple again?

It never ceases to astonish me just how long everything seems to take these days. Even the simplest, straight forward activity can turn into some drawn out ordeal, and that’s on a good day.

Not that it’s always an ordeal. But it’s never simple.

Take today. For the first time since the first snowfall back in November or whenever it was I was able to take the bike trailer out of the garage and walk the dog with both kids. This can’t be done with a single stroller and one kid walking because Rusty isn’t a dog lover. Literally. If there is another dog around who is friendly or not attached to his owner via a leash, my dog will lunge and freak out and be an idiot.

Lack of proper socialization in puppyhood will do that do a dog.

Aside note: we adopted him from the Humane Society when he was 18  months old, at the prime of his adolesence. He had supposedly been in an apartment fire where two of the cats he lived with had perished. The owners, a woman and a 7 year old girl, gave him up for adoption when they moved into a new apartment that did not allow pets. Upon adoption, it became evident that Rusty had many problems, was fearful, and therefore somewhat aggressive, mainly due to this lack of proper attention at an early age. Knowing what I know about dogs and dog behaviour, it is fairly evident to me that the previous owner was probably not  equipped to handle such a large dog, part Rottie, part who knows what else. The sheet attached to the cage indicated that the dog was used to being left alone for 10 hours per day, implying that she was probably a single mom and at work/busy with the child the rest of the time. Poor Rusty was so afraid that the sound of waves at the lake nearby caused him to “want to save me” by pulling me away from the offending water. He would jump and lunge at a leaf that fell off a tree and land on his back. We did some intensive training with him, first with a group, then privately and he has come a long, long way. He is a great pet now, but remains alert and aggressive toward other dogs. Which is why I cannot walk him with a child if said child is not inside a stroller. I can’t watch and deal with Rusty’s issues if I have to keep an eye on a preschooler who is more interested in picking up sticks by the gutter.

Having said all that (sheesh, I didn’t expect to type so much about poor Rusty!), I have a certain way that I can make this work. I can walk Rusty on the leash, have both kids in the bike trailer which converts to a double stroller, AND even get some decent exercise at the same time. Sure, Rusty has to stop and stiff and pee and poop, but he is a much better walker than either kid.

So anyway. My plan is to go and get the bike trailer out of the garage. I’m anticipating this to take a few minutes since I’m assuming it probably got pushed to the back and is blocked in by things like snow shovels and sleds. Add this time to the time of dressing both kids, and we’re looking at about 20 minutes before we even start walking.

Fine. I can live with that. There is nothing unusual about 20 minutes in getting the family out of the house.

I get to the garage. Just before I open it I notice in my peripheral vision that there is a pile of something brown in the middle of the driveway. Before I can turn and confirm that it is probably cat or racoon poop the toddler (naturally) walks right through it.

Quick calculation in my head: how long will it take to clean up the poop and clean up the kid? How am I going to do this quickly?

Since the kids play with the snow shovels, I don’t use them to push the now squashed poop aside, I simply go get a wet dog towel that fell off the line and drop it on top of the squashed poop. I would have had to wash the towel anyway…

Then I pick up the toddler and push her boots through a little pile of remaining snow to clean off the poop.

Then I stick her in the trailer.

Then I take her out of the trailer.

Because in my peripheral vision (of the other eye) I see racoon prints all over the inside of the trailer.

How did they get in there? It was all closed up….

Whatever. I’ll deal with the racoon(s) later.

I leave the kids on the driveway to play, and walk back in the house. It’s too much trouble to remove my boots (which are laced up) so I do my best to wipe them on the entrance mat and walk into the kitchen to get the orange cleaner and a roll of paper towels.

I go back outside, visually assure myself that both kids are still a) on the driveway and not on the street, b) not sitting or standing or splashing in a puddle, and c) not fighting, bickering or crying.

I wipe the inside of the trailer, manage to get most of the dirt out, turn it upsidedown to get the loose dirt out, give it another wipe, put it back up on the right side, and realize that I should probably have the kids sit on a blanket. What if the racoon had diseases, dried up urine, or fleas?

So I go back inside. Glance around for a blanket. Grab one off the couch. Glance at the digital clock on the stove….the original 20 minutes has now turned into 35 minutes. And we’re still home.

I get outside, and notice the kids are in the trailer. Great. I ask Ben to step out, pull the baby out, place the blanket on the bench, stick the baby back in, tell Ben to get back in, march up the steps, open the door, grab the leash, make the dog sit, attach the leash, take the dog out onto the porch while grabbing the library books and a bottle of milk (bribe) for Sonja, lock the door and go back down to the trailer.

They’re still in it. Sonja however is standing up and facing the wrong way. I stick her back on her butt, and they announce they want the weather guard up, not down.

Fine.

We walk.

Fast forward to our return. It took the better part of an hour to get the dog out for his 20 minute walk.

At least it didn’t rain…

Unpleasant tasks

I’m sure we all agree that being a parent consists of insurmountable amounts of unpleasant tasks. And that’s ok, because there are equally as many, if not more, pleasurable tasks to be had any given day. I think most of us feel that way.

rusty

I wish that most of us who own pets, particularly dogs, feel that way too. Dogs are demanding pets that require a lot more time and energy if the job of raising them is to be done properly. I still cannot believe that there are people out there who own dogs, large dogs, who never, ever walk them. Regular exercise is vital to a dog’s health, stamina, disposition, and anyone who tries to convince me otherwise is wasting their time.

Sure there are days when the dog will take the absolute last place on a long list of pressing tasks. Babies, toddlers, preschoolers, even husbands, or such unmeasurable concepts like sleep might push the dog’s needs further and further down the line. Some people come to that realization early and find a good home for their dog before he accepts this sedetary, neglected life as the norm. Because really, he shouldn’t have to accept that he is last all the time.

We are not immune to neglecting him occasionally. There have been days, sometimes consecutive days, when Rusty just did not get his walk. For a variety of reasons, some of which had to do with his own health (he has an occasional limp that requires rest, rather than exercise). But I can honestly say that 95% of the time, someone in this house will take him for a daily spin. He needs to walk, he needs to sniff, he needs to get out of these four walls as much as the rest of us do. And frankly, he is a much calmer dog when he’s had his walk. There is little that irritates me more than a dog incessantly pacing directly in front of me, or blocking my path, or giving me pathetic looks on the days when it’s just not feasible to get him out.

Dogs can teach everyone in the family about needs, wants, taking turns, and a million other lessons. They can be, and often are, an absolute pleasure to be around. Even when their little quirks may get you frustrated or impatient, ultimately, you find yourself glad that he’s around. His mere presence is calming in times of stress, or unease, or exhaustion.

But taking care of a dog can include some tasks that are more than just a little unpleasant. More annoying than incessant laundry, or dishes, or cooking, or vacuuming, or cleaning, or changing poopy diapers.

Speaking of poopy diapers, parents learn quickly that poop is a prominent part of their day from the moment babe announces his arrival.  Offspring poop quickly becomes less “eeww, icky, I don’t feel like wiping his butt” to “hey, poop on a toddler butt hanging over a potty is a lot easier to clean up than all squished up in a pull-up”.

Which leads me to the point of this post. Today, I was faced with one of the most unpleasant tasks that simply had to be taken care of immediately. Because the window of opportunity has presented itself with finally some warmer weather. If I had not taken the opportunity to deal with this unpleasant task today, then future visits to our backyard will inevitably be delayed. 

I am referring to the mountains of dog poop back there. Specifially, the 3, 4, 5 months of accumulated dog poop piles in our backyard. Four grocery bags full of semi-frozen, semi-squishy, smelly, icky, disgusting dog poop.

It had to be done. Just like the diaper changing. Can’t get around it.

Now, all we need is a good, long, soaking rain to wash away the residue and we can finally, FINALLY, enjoy our backyard again!

Post-toilet training saga (or, there is poop everywhere)

Just because you think the toilet training is done does not mean you will not have to deal with poop again.

Today, there is poop everywhere in my house. Or at least that’s what it seems like.

On the floor. On the clothes. On the toilet seat. In the bathtub. On the preschooler. On the baby.

Because apparently, if one has a messy one, the other one has an accident. Simultaneously of course. And while one should be napping.

Naps are canceled for today. It’s either that or listen to incessant crying, screaming and tantruming. And I’m not in the mood.

I’m looking forward to a blissful evening of peace and quiet. [visualize eyerolling and hear big sigh]

Ha.

I had plans to paint the hallway today. And prep food for dinner. And set up my newly painted livingroom. And organize my new little antique sewing box from Switzerland. And put pictures up.

Instead, I’m doing laundry.

Standing on one foot

Yes, that is what his poop does sometimes.

Because you see, the pooping in the toilet is going well now. Yet every day there is a different exclamation about his eliminations.

“Mom, I made a big looooong one today.”

“Mama, see how my poop is standing up, on one foot?”

“Mommy, my poops are going wheeeeeee when I flush the toilet!”

He is also managing to stay dry most nights. That pad I bought to place over the sheets has been great for when he does have an accident, as it really doesn’t get the sheets wet. When he does have an accident, he takes off his pjs, and wanders over to me, naked and cold, to let me know about the wet spot in his bed. How I long for warmer days…

So we’re trekking along.

However, I am dismayed at my own lazyness. I see my 5 months old daughter pushing hard to get her little poopskis out, and what do I do? I sit and drink coffee rather than get up and stick her on the potty. Really, if she’s working this hard, and it’s EVIDENT, she might as well do it on the potty.

But I’m just so tired….maybe when warmer weather gets here, I’ll be on the ball more. Less layers to get at…

Blah.

Wee hours

Scene: Mommy’s bedroom. Baby in bed with mommy, nursing. Pitter patter of little tot feet.
Time: 6:05 am

Tot: mmm…mommy….

Mommy: hi Benski, you wanna come and snuggle with us?

Tot: (incomprehensible)

Mommy: take Nuggi out of your mouth, I can’t understand you.

Tot: I got poops in diaper.

* * * * *

I am soooooooooo unimpressed. Who could possibly stay in a good mood after cleaning up S**T in a diaper of an almost 3 year old kid before the coffee maker kicks in? HUH?

Success!

Perhaps now that he’s mastered pooping in the toilet (mostly!), I can move on and write about other things in my life.

I’m sick of poop.

How has he mastered it? Well, grandma was here. And she told him a story about a little boy named Benjamin who had a big poop in his belly. And the poop was lonely because he had no other poops to play with. Because the little boy Benjamin didn’t want to push him out.

So he did. He pushed ’em out and now he gets to buy a new car at the “car store” (aka Zellers, which is like Walmart or Target).

Yay.

Poop in the water

Once upon a time, after hours of fits and tantrums, the child poops into the toilet.

The very next day, he poops in the bath.

So I did what any mother would do: I scooped it up with the potty insert, poured it down the toilet, asked him to say goodbye to the poop and have him flush it.

He was AFRAID.
Of the poop.
Of the toilet.
Of the flushing.
Of the bath.

He then wanted to go to sleep. Which was fine, it was bedtime anyway.

So we don his diaper for sleeping, and he proceeds to find his Nuggi Bello (pacifier and stuffed toy).

He comes back to his room where I am waiting to tuck him in, walking funny. Legs wide apart.

I say: Did you poop in your diaper?
He says: noooo…
I say: I can smell it, and you walk funny, let’s go to the bathroom to change your bum.

I ask him to lie down on the floor, but he insists he needs his bum washed in the shower.

Fine.

I finally put his new diaper on, get him tucked in, walk away.

A few minutes later, I see him close his bedroom door. I open it, peek in, and see him standing in the corner of his room.

Pooping. In the second diaper.

This is what, number 3? 4? I’ve lost count how many times he pooped that day.

So now the poops leak into the pj bottoms, he insists on another shower, new diaper on, bladibla see above.

He finally goes to sleep.

Next morning, he comes to my side of the bed. I can smell something.

More poops.

aahh….

If he wasn’t so afraid, I’d find this entire ordeal humerous.

Pooping policy

Happy New Year, happy new beginnings, and happy first pooping policy. Here are his options:

1 Poop on the potty.

2. Poop on the toilet. 

3. Pullups are ok if you put them on yourself and stay in the bathroom.

He decided that pullups are better than pooping on the potty or toilet, but then he decided that he also wanted pants on, and continue walking through the house.

Well you know what? This isn’t funny anymore. He may not be 3 yet, but frankly, his poop resembles nothing of the baby poop he used to have. It now resembles what it is. And it is a four-letter word and begins with S.

So wandering around the house, pooping into his pullups underneath his pants, and stinking up the joint…no. We (I) are (am) done.

He stayed in the bathroom for a bit. Wearing his pullups. Whining a bit that he wanted pants on too. Wanting to come out. Nothing too drastic, and I kept it light and non-threatening. But still.

I repeated the policy. In tot terms.

I see that he understands.

I offered him a book. I even sat in front of him, he on the toilet, me on the tub, reading him a book.

No poop.

Pullups.

Which is fine. But: no pullups around the house. Pullups in the bathroom.

He hung around a bit, then decided he wanted to leave the bathroom (boring), and so the pullups came off.

Still no poop. 

Sigh…

Homework? What homework?

Soon after I mentioned in this post that my toddler brought home homework for us to do with him, I was under the mistaken impression that he had the following issues:

no interest in the song
no interest in learning the song
no interest in hearing the song
no interest in letting us, mommy and daddy, sing the song
an inability to learn the words to this song

So one day I thought I’ll make up some new words to this song. We’re poopy training (the peeing part he’s got down), so I started singing this:

Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
made a very nice poopie in the potty
and if you ever saw it
you would make a poopie too…

Benjamin got all upset about that and said:

Mommy, you are singing it the wrong side!

So he demonstrated how it’s done. AND HE KNEW ALL THE WORDS TO THIS SONG!!!

The good news is that the homework I thought I had is no longer my problem.

There is however this other thing…a little issue…involving incessant repeats of Ella Fitzgerald’s version of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer…which is number 10 on that CD, and the CD player has a repeat-program button thingy…

To date, I have listened to her version of this song 18,473 times. Not that I mind, really. I absolutely ADORE this woman’s voice. She is amazing. But how many times does one have to listen to the same song over and over and over again?

Those who have/had toddlers know the answer to this question.

Those who don’t, well…the Christmas CDs are going to be with us for some weeks yet, so that number up there is going to grow.

And grow.

Barbie doll

So this morning, I dress my baby daughter in an outfit.

It’s a tad too tight. She’s growing, the chubby gal.

I take off the tight outfit and put another one on her. Being the only member of the family who has blue eyes (where DID those come from?), I dress her in her brother’s hand-me-down blue clothes for the special effect of her eye colour.

sonja_5weeks1_50.jpg (click image to enlarge)

Then I nurse her.

She poops.

Squirms around until mommy figures out that she is uncomfortable because she pooped herself.

I change her.

I realize there is poop all the way up her back to her neck.

I take off her clothes.

I give her a bath.

I dress her in a new outfit.

I nurse her again.

We do the little burpie thing, she scrunches up her face, and you know what happens…she pukes up half her milk.

Her outfit is all wet. Wet enough to warrant yet another change in clothes.

It is only lunchtime. How many more changes of outfits will she go through today?

Is this a sign of things to come?

We cannot have this. We have practically no closet space already. If she’s going to need an extensive wardrobe, then we’ll have to move into a McMansion in suburbia.