I just want to eat my F-ing burrito

I believe it is Murphy’s Law that says when your husband is out-to-sea you will encounter toddler poop, a dog’s enema and a dead rat all in the same day.

No? That’s not how it goes?

Olive was on day two of attempt 6000 of potty training. With the promise of a trip to Target to pick out any toy she wanted if she peed or pooped in the potty, she was taking this very seriously. She tried for four and a half hours yesterday, refusing to put a diaper on after many failed attempts and luckily only one accident, she almost fell asleep before I could get a diaper back on. She woke up ready to take her diaper off and seize the day.

I have been showering with hand towels because there are never clean towels and one of the cats chewed off the button to my last pair of semi-clean shorts, so the only thing I wanted to seize was coffee and a breakfast burrito.

After going through the regular morning routine of coffee pot, breakfast for the kids, and figuring out what to eat myself, I sat down to my first bite of breakfast burrito when I realized that Olive wasn’t eating breakfast. I went back to check on her and realized that she had stopped playing long enough to pop a squat and poop on the floor and just kept playing.

Awesome. I wasn’t game to go back to the burrito at that point so I decided to drink more coffee. Because coffee fixes everything. Or maybe its wine. That was when I remembered, I was supposed to check the rat trap. When you have a large dog that spends a lot of time eating and pooping and being a dog, it inevitably invites other critters and one of our newest play date pals was pooping in his food dish. Matt decided that the best thing to do was to leave a rat trap behind Blue’s arm chair outside (yes, he has his own armchair). And of course, lo and behold, Ratatouille was dead. Disposing and resetting said trap had thoroughly made my stomach churn, so now there was no way I was touching either the breakfast burrito or the coffee.

I went back inside to find that the Olive had procured her Doc McStuffins play set and had the stethoscope around her neck and was chasing Blue with the fake syringe and alternating between giving me a shot, and then Blue, and then Willow, and then Blue again (apparently she likes to throw basic medical safety practices to the wind by sharing needles). I decided to capture the moment and took a few cute pictures of Blue’s first in home physical. I was reviewing the pictures on my phone and looked up in time to see Olive putting the same syringe up the dog’s rear end.

Luckily, I stopped her in plenty of time before the syringe went very far and although disgruntled about the process, Blue remained unscathed. At that point, I had given up. I fed my burrito to the dog and put him outside to recover and dumped my coffee in the sink.

Some days you feel like you could fart rainbows  and glitter while you’re riding Lisa Frank’s unicorn, charging into parenthood and toddlerhood head on with a  wreath of daisies in your hair. Other days, you pick up toddler poop, extricate a dead rat from behind an arm chair and almost have to remove a Doc McStuffins toy from your dog’s rear end.

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Looking for the Helpers

We’re now through our first six weeks of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy and Olive seems to really be enjoying having the therapists stop by the house every day to play with her. The door bell rings at noon and she comes running for the door squealing, “It’s Ms. Gabby” or “Ms. Denyse! Ms. Denyse is here!”

I am so thankful to have such wonderful therapists working one-on-one with her and I am so happy that we had an early diagnosis so she is receiving this help before she begins a K-12 program.

However, it does present an interesting dynamic and has required an adjustment on my part. Having someone in your home every day that isn’t family and not quite a friend (in the sense that they’re there to provide a service) is a little awkward. Imagine if your child’s teacher came to your house every day to work with your kids. While it would be wonderful to have such attention showered on your child, it would feel strange to have what you would consider an outside entity in your home on a daily basis. It’s not a bad thing, but requires getting used to. The first week I kept the house immaculate. The kitchen was clean and the sink was empty, floors were washed, the couch cushions were laundered, the table was empty, and wiped down and all dog poop was picked up.

By week three, I was constantly apologizing for the state of my home. “Oh, sorry, we went to the park this morning so there wasn’t any time to clean!” (Also, I decided drinking a second cup of coffee and talking to friends on Facebook was really more important this morning.) There’s a sheen of dog drool on most of the couch, the only dishes that are clean are the ones that were dishwasher safe, you can’t see the kitchen counter, the floors were mopped three days ago, there are veritable land mines littering our back yard, and it looks like Toys R Us projectile vomited in my living room. I understand that these are people who I’m sure are just as imperfect as I am and see loads of houses that are *hopefully* in worse shape than mine, but from what I can tell the therapists I have worked with so far, either in ABA or in speech or occupational therapy tend to be on the younger side and don’t have children of their own. Its one thing to work with children every day and realize that their parents have a lot on their plate, but to come into someone’s home and see the chaos first hand is another. I know I’m a hot mess, but I hide it fairly well in public. My home is supposed to be my private space to let my freak flag fly. Walk around in no pants, take off my bra, binge watch Shameless on Netflix (when the kids are sleeping of course), and eat crap straight out of the bag/carton/box. Basically, when I’m home, I need to not have to pretend like I have my shit together. I just don’t feel comfortable doing that anymore. I still constantly feel like I’m readying for company (or failing to do so). Plus, the contract didn’t explicitly say this, but I think its implied I’m supposed to wear pants during sessions.

Blue presents an interesting element to this new schedule as well. For logistical and liability reasons, I can’t have him in the house with us during sessions so he stays outside. He’s not aggressive normally and I’m not concerned about him biting them, but he becomes very excited when we have guests in the home and tends to jump and mouth (a habit we’ve tried and failed to break, even with training). I can’t run the risk that when my 160 pound dog jumps on my 125 pound speech therapist she will fall and hurt her back or twist her knee. Also, no one wants to constantly wipe the drool from their crotchal region every ten minutes while they’re at work. I could crate him, but if he’s crated while company is over he barks like Kujo non-stop until he’s let out. I can’t stand it for more than five minutes, let alone three hours. My solution has been to keep him in the house with us right up until session and then putting him in the back yard just until it ends. With temperatures being 90 degrees + the last couple weeks, we’ve had to be creative. We’ve planned some outings when possible and the therapist has conducted parts of the session in Olive’s bedroom so Blue and I can hang out inside the living room and he can get a break from the heat. This backfired, when one of the therapists forgot that he was in the living room and she came back to get her water and clipboard. Blue charged her and thoroughly slimed her yoga pants trying to sniff her and then upon deciding that she was friendly, tucked his head between her legs and tried to carry her back into the living room with him. She finally understands why I keep Blue outside during our sessions.

The other aspect that makes life more challenging given that my three year old has a busier schedule than I do these days is that now when something comes up that makes it necessary for us to cancel or reschedule something, I feel like Olive’s personal assistant. For example, last week our air conditioner broke (of course while Matt is gone). So in between passing out snacks and putting Twice Upon a Christmas on for the third time (in July no mind you), I was both yelping AC repair places and leaving messages with them and then texting her ABA therapists to let them know of our predicament and would they be able to meet us at Play Town for session instead of our house? And then the kids and I were taking turns passing colds around this last week and I had decided the night before that we were all just a little too sick for therapy. So I had to call or text five different therapists the next morning to make sure to let them know in enough notice to make sure we wouldn’t be charged for our sessions. I never had to jump through this many hoops when I had to call into work sick when I was actually employed.

This is our life now and although I grumble, its just because I’m a crotchety old woman at heart. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Olive is getting the care she needs; care I couldn’t provide without much needed help. And the silver lining is that I have actual adult company during the day (although I try to stay out of their way) and someone to keep Olive busy so I can focus more on other things if only for a couple hours during the day. Whenever I feel myself resisting this new normal, I try to remind myself what Mr. Rogers would say:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'” — Fred Rogers

 

 

Is there an adult around here?

Some days I feel like I have it all together (there are fewer of those these days) and some days I just have to embrace that life is messy. And I’m a big (hot) mess.

I was up with both Olive and Willow multiple times in the night and early morning and succumbed to the Starbucks drive thru on the way back from school drop off. After going through my mental to-do list I realized I STILL hadn’t returned Olive’s overdue library books. And I mean we had checked them out in September (and renewed every four weeks). When I went online to check them, I realized we’d been charged over $50 in fines. At first , I assumed my last renewal request hadn’t gone through and after mentally kicking myself I went ahead and paid the fine and then immediately packed up the car to return the books (Really, enough was enough already. Why did I require eight months to read “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie”?). The truth was that one of the books had gotten into Olive’s destructive hands and I was ashamed to have to return it as I had never damaged a library book before. I feared “tsk tsk-ing” and eye rolls almost as much as having to pay for the book (which probably would’ve been $20 and now I’d paid $54 in fines).

After leaving two books in the drop box and going to pay for the third, the librarian scanned the book and told me that I’d already been charged for it as it had been marked as lost so it was my book now. I thanked her and apologized up and down and then headed back out to finish errands before preschool was over. It wasn’t until I got home later that I realized that the $54 wasn’t fines, because I’d kept the books for SO long, they assumed they were lost (because I mean really, eight months of renewals to read Disney Pixar’s 5 Minute Bedtime Stories is a little excessive). Which essentially means I’d paid for three books and returned two of them.

Fast forward to lunch time at home while I’m trying to call the library about the books and I’m also trying to put PJ Masks on for the eighth time for Olive, all while Olive is screaming for “LUNCHEMS!!!” (Lunchables). Also because my iPhone’s screen is cracked (because if I’ve spent eight months not returning library books, I’ve also spent two months not getting my iPhone screen fixed). Which is why I couldn’t bring up the buttons I needed to pick “option 3” and talk to a library staff person. I finally lost it and started yelling expletives at the phone all while punching buttons on the remote and trying to tap on the iPhone screen.

That’s when I hear Olive yell, “GAWD! FUUUUUUUUUUXXXXX!”

“Olive, I’m so sorry mommy said bad words but please don’t say them.”

“GAWD!!! FUUUUUUUXXX!”

And then I look down at my phone and realized we were leaving the library a voicemail. And because the screen wasn’t cooperating, I didn’t have the option to delete it.

Today has been a rough day, but I’ve learned a few things.

  1. Do not try to adult without at least four hours of consecutive sleep.
  2. At least Olive learned new swear words AFTER preschool.
  3. Don’t hold onto library books so many times the library assumes you lost them or are dead.
  4. Don’t wait so long to get your phone fixed that all the apps on the phone work except for the phone itself.
  5. If you accidentally leave a random voicemail that is just a ranting adult screaming expletives and a toddler that swears like a sailor they WILL refund you for the books you returned when you call back without asking too many questions.look-me-adulting.jpg

One in Sixty-Eight

Olive has autism.

You know when you say the thing out loud you don’t really want to say, because if you say it out loud, it’s real?

I realize that is a ridiculous sentiment. Its real regardless of whether I say the words out loud or not.

I took Olive to the developmental pediatrician on April 12th. It took me three months to book the appointment so I should’ve been full of anticipation and nervous but I wasn’t. I don’t know if its because it was the day after her birthday and a few days before her birthday party so I just had too much going on or I honestly just didn’t think anything would come out of the appointment.

But after watching and playing with Olive for two and a half hours and talking about some of the things he’d noticed, the pediatrician said that the developmental and speech delays we’d experienced were part of a larger issue and he felt confident that she was on the spectrum. I suddenly felt like I was underwater, hearing everything he said afterwards from a distance. Everything around me grew incredibly silent and remarkably loud all at the same time. My throat closed up and my stomach dropped as I watched her happily play dinosaurs and crash cars as if everything were just the same. Because it wasn’t her world that was just turned upside down, it was mine.

I had to ask him to repeat everything he said at least four times. He said that although it’s an early diagnosis, he thought she was probably High Functioning (HFA) and the form of treatment would be fifteen hours a week of intensive early intervention therapy in the form of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA). Kids that receive this therapy before the age of five have the best prognosis, but in terms of the “big picture” he couldn’t say what her life would be like. A lot would depend on how she responded to therapy. Come back for a follow up appointment in six months.

I spent a lot of time over the next week being confused, sad, and angry. I’ve spent a lot of time talking with other people who have children or relatives on the spectrum as well as people who work with autistic children and young adults. They said that its normal to go through a “grieving process” with this diagnosis for the life you thought your child would have. The hardest part is not knowing what this diagnosis will mean for her life. Will she be able to have a career? A marriage? A mortgage? Adult (Frankly, I question this in myself on a daily basis)? At this point, we just don’t know. I know Olive will have the life she wants to lead, whatever life that may look like. Because we will do everything it takes to give her the tools to carve the life she wants for herself. Just like any other parent without a child on the spectrum.

Part of what bothered me initially with this diagnosis is that it felt that the very things that I loved about my daughter: her quirkiness, her mannerisms, her love of building, the way she repeats phrases in answer to a  question, the way she crashes her cars and knocks down block towers, her love of spinning, her haphazard way of walking and running, basically all the things that I felt made her unique and beautiful were now symptoms of a disorder. I’ve had to spend a lot of time since April 12th reminding this part of myself that my daughter is that same little girl she was on April 11th and every day before it. No diagnosis will change her or define her.

Since I’m not one to NOT share, I’ve of course been fairly open about our experiences the last month and our journey in general with her evaluations and therapy treatments for developmental delays with family, friends, and acquaintances. I will continue to share this journey through my blog because I want to help any one I can if possible and frankly, it is cathartic for me as I process everything I learn on this very new road we are on. I will also share what I try to advise any one that has questions about how and why we sought out a pediatric developmental evaluation to begin with and what to look for. If you think for any reason, that something is “not right” or “off,” speak up. You are always your child’s best advocate. It’s always best to get treatment early than to spend time secretly wondering if there is something bigger going on apart from a quirky toddler who is very strong willed. Who just happens to be very good at building towers and lining up trains. Who knows ALL of their alphabet, numbers, colors and shapes but couldn’t tell you without six months of speech therapy at the age of two. There’s a reason why autism is a spectrum; no one child with autism looks the same or has the same symptoms. One in sixty-eight children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and it is believed that one in forty-eight actually may be on the spectrum, but so many still go undiagnosed. Please don’t be afraid of autism. It has many faces and this one is my favorite.

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Carpe Diem. Or don’t.

Today has been a failure. I define a failure as a twenty-four hour period where nothing on my to-do list is accomplished both because every attempt has been thwarted by either a toddler or a baby, or by me, and also because I can’t find my to-do list. I’m wearing one shoe, and face planted into the couch, watching my Zumba DVD but not actually participating in the act of Zumba, while Olive runs around the living room making it rain play-doh and demanding to watch more videos on You Tube, most likely of children playing with toys she already has. Also, I’m crying on the inside.

I will tell you how I got here.

I had plans today. We were going to go to the park, I was going to work out and clean the house and play with Olive and do all sorts of things I have written down on a list I can’t find.

It was a new day; twenty four hours to really delve into my to do list (the one I wrote for the week on Sunday but is most likely either sitting on a pile of crap on the dining room table or being made into poop by the dog). I was going to take the kids out to do fun things, and I was even going to get up before the kids and work out.

I’ve been trying to make up for the fact that we’ve been cooped up in the house because one of us has had either the stomach flu or a very nasty cold since December 22nd. I’ve spent the last three weeks  covered in so much vomit, diarrhea, snot and general oozing discharge coupled with straight cabin fever that my eyes are beginning to get twitchy and to say that my fuse has been short would be a mild understatement.

So even though Willow woke up before 5 am for the second night in a row with a drippy nose and hacking cough, I did not disparage. It’s ok, I can work out during their nap and she will be better by ten AM surely. But it was clear after spending the next 1.5  listening to her congested snoring  that it would not be so. It was also clear, while clinging to the six inches of the bed that she allowed me when I brought her back into bed with me that  I would not sleep well this morn. When Olive woke up at seven ,I could take heart in the fact that I was right. Not that baby snuggles aren’t awesome, but I cannot run on coffee and wine alone.

Ok, so scratch being too adventurous today, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun and get stuff done around the house. Except after having half a pot of coffee while trying to navigate, clean clothes (because Murphy’s Law clearly states that if someone in diapers can pee past their diaper’s capacity they will) and breakfast (because I am sneaking eating the last banana in the kitchen while trying to explain to Olive that chocolate cake is not breakfast), I succumbed to the fact that it was 9:30 and not only had Olive been watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and play doh videos on the laptop all morning, at this rate it would only continue. I finally brought out her own play doh which she promptly discovered ways to shove it into niches and crannies all over the living room. I’m sure I will only continue to find remnants of dried play-doh in random places in the coming days. Perhaps in my missing shoe.

Its ok, I told myself, we’ll get out of the house and grab Subway for lunch after I get some cleaning done (which ended up consisting of me loading and running the dishwasher and removing the contents of the dryer into an ever growing pile that I’m sure will never be put away. After trying to finagle an over flowing garbage can outside I realized that we didn’t put the garbage on the curb today either, which means that all those diapers I’ve been throwing out the last week get to stay in our driveway for an extra week. Superb. I’m sure our neighbors will also be thrilled.

Then it was time to get “samiches.” This was the only thing that went right.

After eating lunch and playing more play doh and watching Inside Out for the umpteenth time since the holidays, and carrying a kicking and screaming Olive to bed for a nap, I decided a nap was a better idea than my original plan to work out. Except of course Willow had other plans. And then by the time Willow went down Olive was screaming again.

Ok, so no nap, but I can still squeeze in a Zumba workout! I’ll just let Olive play in the living room while Willow sleeps and I’ll work out this stress and frustration and get the endorphins flowing. I just knew it would turn my day around.

It became clear a half hour later when I couldn’t find my other shoe (I only own one pair of athleticesque shoes and apparently now I may only own half a pair). What can you do at that point but begin whimpering  at the stupid Zumba menu that was clearly taunting me with its sexy Latino reggae drums or maracas or whatever the hell it is?  I don’t need your damn come hither beat, Zumba a** holes. I seriously considered trying to Dirty Dancing this workout in stilettos, but realized that could only end in shattered ankles. I finally had to mute it, but I was too sad to turn it off. Part of me wanted to buy a new pair of shoes, part of me wanted to cry, and another part of me wanted to hide in the bathroom with the last ice cream sandwich and a glass of wine.

But I didn’t. I wrote this instead. Because some days are really hard and sometimes it’s difficult to just get started. Whether it’s because the task just seems too daunting or because you don’t have a shoe for the other foot.

Besides, tomorrow is a new day filled with twenty four more hours and opportunities to tackle that laundry. Get out of the house. And find that damn shoe.

 

SS Ashley Makes Berth

So today marks three more weeks left of my pregnancy before C-Day! I have some minor apprehensions about undergoing surgery again, especially knowing I will have a long healing process ahead of me. I am lucky though as my Dad will be flying out for three whole weeks to help us and I have been spending the last few months preparing for it, so I’m about as ready as I can be. I know what to expect this time around both during the surgery and afterwards. In order to both give me something to look forward to (apart from our baby, that is a given!) I’ve started thinking of all the wonderful things I will be able to do once I’m no longer pregnant.

1. I want to see my feet. They’re down there I’ve been told. But I can’t paint my toes. Or reach them (but I couldn’t really touch my toes before my pregnancy so that’s not really a big loss). It’s not really a priority honestly, but that seems like the obvious one.

2. I want to drink wine again. I miss it. Let’s be honest, this is really #1 but I didn’t want to seem too eager. I’ve spent the last two weeks slowly but surely restocking my wine rack from Costco and Bevmo’s 5 cent wine sale. I’m also really tired of the nasty awkward looks I get when I buy wine at eight months pregnant. I’m not drinking it now, people!

3. I’m quite tired of the judgey looks I get from people in general while pregnant. Yes, I’m drinking coffee. The wine in my cart is for cooking, not drinking. Yes, I’m having another child and my daughter’s only two. Yes, I can carry my own gallon of milk, but thanks for checking. No, I’m not having a boy. Yes, I can have cold medicine. No, you can’t touch my belly.

4. I want to be able to wear pants again that don’t look like I borrowed them from Comic Book Guy from “The Simpsons” and be able to wear one or two tank tops without my belly button popping out through the shirt. Or have to deal with the fact that my shirts don’t always cover my stomach, unbeknownst to me and I’ve been walking around not only with coffee stains down my front (because I only own three shirts that WILL cover my belly and they all have stains on them at this point) but with my lower belly hanging out. Pretty sure I’m on peopleofwalmart.com now.

5. I’m kind of a coffee person in the morning. Like the kind of coffee person that makes a cup, drinks it for an hour, then makes a second cup, and if I’m having a really bad day I pretend that I didn’t have half a cup after that. I’m tired of calculating how many milligrams of caffeine I’ve had during the day to try to figure out if I have to forego an afternoon glass of icy cold diet pepsi….mmm…

6. I know this will take awhile, but I can’t wait to be able to do back-to-back errands, take my kids to the park, go to the zoo, tackle a household to do list without having to take a couch break after an hour or give up and go home because cleaning the toilet AND  carrying Olive from the car to the driveway is too damn taxing. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a good vegging out session with a glass of something cold, some chip dip, and my DVR, but I don’t like to be forced to be a couch potato. If it becomes a necessity I become resentful. And I eat too much chip dip.

7. For some reason both Blue and Olive seem to understand that I am severely physically limited. This means that Olive thinks its hilarious to wait for me to take off her diaper and then run away from me giggling and continue in a “keep-away” game and watch me waddle after her. Blue thinks this is equally fun, but he’ll grab a toy or piece of trash and then wait for me to get within two inches of his mouth and then gallop away to another part of the house.

Whatever. Eat your garbage. Don’t wear a diaper. I don’t care. If I’m lucky, maybe Blue will eat the toddler poo later. I may have used this tactic already earlier this week when the cat vomited on the floor. I waited for the cat to eat it later and when he didn’t, I just let the dog in. Its called working smarter, not harder.

8. I love my pregnancy pillow, it’s large and envelopes me at night like a super comfy boyfriend pillow. I think my husband would remind me that I shouldn’t need a boyfriend pillow when I have a husband but that’s beside the point. It takes up far too much of the bed (two thirds of a queen size bed) and I’m sure Matt will be glad to see it go.

9. I would like to be able to not have to pee every ten minutes. I almost peed my pants yesterday, because Blue blocked my entrance into the hallway and refused to move out of the way so I could open the baby gate to go use the bathroom. I’m also too pregnant to be able to physically move the dog myself (actually I’m too small to do this even when I’m not pregnant). He literally had me trapped in the living room with no way to get past him. I may have gained twenty pounds, but those twenty pounds are currently resting on my bladder  and Blue still has forty-five pounds on me on a good day. On a bad day he has more. He was upset because he thought I was going to leave him in the living room alone for the rest of the night, but he didn’t understand when I explained I just needed to pee. I almost started crying. It was super embarrassing. I finally had to grab treats and chuck them into the living room and then make a run for it. I felt like Sam Neill in Jurassic Park when he throws the flares over the bridge to distract the T-Rex. I also sort of felt like the lawyer on the porta potty who later gets eaten by the T-Rex. I was that desperate.

10. I know its supposed to be a good thing when the baby is moving and its supposed to be this magical experience feeling the baby kick. I realize I’m not going to get the “Mother of the Year” award for admitting this, but I’m over it. I’d like to be able to eat a handful of Skittles or try to take a nap without getting jabbed, kicked and somersaulted from the inside in the ribs, spleen, and hoo haw. And after five months of it I literally feel like Sigourney Weaver in “Alien.” Like at any moment a hand or foot (or for all I know an alien head) is going to pop its way out of my stomach, probably demanding more Skittles. If that happens, is it still considered a “natural birth”?

11. I’m tired of being a vessel. Some women love being pregnant and relish the whole experience. Their body is this mystical vessel and they are growing new life inside of them. I just want my body back. And I don’t mean because its swim suit season. I want to be able to do all the things I did before I was pregnant without having to worry about whether its OK for the baby. It sounds bad and selfish, but its true. I don’t want to be a vessel anymore. I’m not a vase or a boat. I’m a person.

I know I have plenty of other awesome things to look forward to once I’m not pregnant anymore. Like having two kids, instead of one. Being a family of four, instead of three. Olive will get to be a big sister. But I also like to find joy and purpose in life’s little things too. Like a couch, a glass of Francis Coppola, a nice spread of goat cheese, and a full DVR queue waiting for Matt and I after the kids go to sleep. And that’s kind of hard to do when I’m also a vessel.

Threenagers, Caramel Caribou, and Bunny Poop

You know that moment when you’ve finally put your kids down for the night and you get out your half gallon of caramel caribou ice cream, plant yourself on the couch, and start eating directly out of the container? And then you know that moment afterwards when your dog, who is sitting in front of the couch dips his head fully into the container, which you’ve tried (unsuccessfully) to hold out of his reach and starts to help himself?

No? Only I’m faced with these kinds of dilemmas?

I tried to swat him away and explain to him that I would let him lick the spoon with some ice cream on it if he would wait his turn, but his response was to head butt me with his open mouth directly into my baby bump (gently, but it was still mean). Its like he was saying, “Mom you’re getting fat. You don’t need ice cream. Plus you’re eating it directly out of the bucket and that’s just sad.”

What’s really sad is that after I put him in a time out in his crate for nipping me (and calling me fat), I continued to eat the ice cream even though he face planted into it. If I didn’t, it would mean the dog had won. At least, that’s how I’m justifying it.

Mom, I don't know how to tell you this, but you should probably lay off the ice cream. Put the bucket down and walk away...
Mom, I don’t know how to tell you this, but you should probably lay off the ice cream. Put the bucket down and walk away…

I also didn’t get much sleep last night, not because Olive kept me up or I was tossing and turning from pregnancy back pain and heart burn (which has been pretty normal these days), but because Blue started howling in the living room and wouldn’t stop. When Blue starts barking, its hard not to pee your pants a little. Because not only does he resemble a bigger, darker version of Hooch from “Turner and Hooch” (and sounds like him too), but you can’t help but automatically assume there is a serial killer breaking into your house at that very moment. So of course, I throw off the covers, flip on all the lights and come waddling into the living room at one a.m. on full alert.

“Blue, what’s wrong buddy?” I ask him.

He tilts his head and pouts in pure puppy fashion and then just stares up at me. When I don’t reply (because I can’t read dog minds), he starts in on his low growl and rushes for the back door and starts what I like to call the “slow bark.” I walk towards the sliding glass door where he is staring into the dark, awaiting what I can only assume are the vampires from “30 Days of Night” or the zombie apocolypse.

They were bunnies.

I patted Blue on the head and reminded him that while I understand he doesn’t like bunnies pooping in his yard, this was not on the prerequisite list of “howling in the middle of the night” type of emergencies. And of course after all that excitement, I just couldn’t fall asleep.

I understand he takes his job as protector and guard dog very seriously at night, but during the day he really has become quite the threenager and Olive has been protesting his righteous attitude more and more. It used to be that as long as we put all of her toys away and out of reach her things were safe. And by “out of reach,” I of course mean in other rooms behind closed doors, there’s really no such thing as out of reach when you own a giant breed. I witnessed him pull out her toy bin from the coffee table shelf drop his head and pull out what turned out to be a princess toy mirror and start chewing. I rescued the toy, but it was not unscathed. There’s nothing more sad than watching your two year old clutch what used to be something not covered in tooth marks and dog drool and start whimpering. Normally, I would remind her that’s why we don’t leave toys out, but the trollop actually got the toy out of the toy bin.

It probably doesn’t help that she sees me constantly telling him to “Leave it” and “No” so she mainly follows him around the house and confrontationally points her finger at him (regardless of what he is doing) and yells “No, Boo! No!” I have to remind her that we don’t yell at him when he’s not actually doing anything wrong, but its sort of hard not to chuckle at her audacity considering that he outweighs her by 140 lbs.

I had so hoped that since we have basically been raising them together they would love each other. And they do. Like two siblings that can’t stand each other now but will be inseparable in their 20’s. Olive is just tired of being accidentally knocked over or sat on, being constantly doused in dog drool, and having her diaper chewed on while she’s still wearing it. And Blue is tired of having blankets stolen from him, getting sidearmed when he’s trying to give her kisses, and being yelled at in toddler tongues.

And I just want to be able to sit on the damn couch and eat my damn ice cream without someone simultaneously licking out the canister, drooling on my maternity wear, and blocking my view of the TV.

"Little girls are cute and small only to adults. To one another they are not cute. They are life-sized." Margaret Atwood
“Little girls are cute and small only to adults. To one another they are not cute. They are life-sized.”
Margaret Atwood