Toddlers are A$$ Holes

I should preface this post by saying that I promise to keep expletives out of 99% of my posts, because frankly, I normally find them unnecessary in my writing. If I’m dropping f-bombs left and right then I’m not trying very hard as a writer in finding the right verbs, adjectives and nouns. But today I couldn’t think of any other way to describe the behavior of both my toddler dog and toddler human. They’re a$$ holes.

I don’t mean this in a permanent sense of the word. I know this is a normal stage in their behavioral development and they’ll grow to be loving, caring, wonderful people that will one day make wonderful contributions to their fellow (wo)man. At least Olive will. Blue is not a person. Also, he may be a lost cause. We may have to chalk him up to the “first pancake” of the batter. Basically a throw away (and no we’re not going to throw away our dog).

Unfortunately, Blue is not a stupid dog. He is a goofy looking specimen, super drooly, with about a foot of extra skin that collects in wrinkles around his neck, face and jowls (do your jowls hang low, do they wobble to and fro? Blue’s do!). He is super intelligent, to the point that he realizes he can get away with not listening to me 85% of the time. It took about nine months for him to realize he was bigger than I was. That meant that if I tell him to go outside or go to his crate and he doesn’t want to, he will just lay down in front of me and look up at me like, “Well, now what? You gonna pick me up and carry me?”

The only way Blue will actually go outside or his crate is if I present him with a treat, which becomes problematic because 95% of the time he hasn’t earned said treat. I don’t have high expectations, but I don’t consider laying down on your bed to take a nap or squatting to poop worthy of reward.

The last three times I have tried to make him go outside without a treat, it ended disastrously. When we get to the back door and he realized that I wasn’t going to give him anything; he turned around and shoved his head in between my legs. Then he proceeded to lift me off the floor and carry me back into the living room with me on his back, facing the wrong direction. Nothing quite puts you in your place more quickly than a piggy back ride against your will. In the words of Bob Peck (Jurassic Park), “Clever, girl” (even though you’re a dude dog).

My saving grace has always been Olive, who has always been sweet and cuddly even if she is a little unpredictable and a bit of firecracker. I think this is part of what makes her unique and I hope she never loses it.

But lately, those terrible twos of toddler hell have begun to set in. She is defiant. She throws temper tantrums over the smallest things.

For example:

*she ate a piece of candy and now it is gone.

*She wants to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on YouTube all day, everyday and I said no.

*I’m trying to change her diaper so she’s not sitting in her own feces.

You get the picture.

And she likes to make the kind of trouble that only an a$$ hole toddler would think to do. For example, earlier this week I decided to let her color in her coloring book with her crayons at the coffee table while I started to load the dishes in the kitchen since she seemed content in this activity. I was sure to check in on her every minute or so to make sure she wasn’t Picassoing the flatscreen and for the first ten minutes she did great.

Then it got quiet. So I snuck back to where she’d been coloring only a minute before to see her coloring book was now closed and her crayons were scattered and she was hunched over with something in her hands, looking very Gollum-esque.

“Olive, whatchya doing, sweetie?” I asked

Olive looked up at me with a “I know something you don’t know” smile on her face with her mischievous brows furrowed and eyes laughing kind of way. There was also a smattering of crayon gravy (the purple and orange variety) smudged on the side of her cheek and lips, mixed with toddler spittle.

“Olive, are you eating crayons?”

“Uh……no.” (One of the only responses she has at this age).

Right. I grabbed the wipes, put her on my lap and proceeded to dab the inside of her mouth, creating quite the rainbow array. I began to wonder if it would be this colorful on the other end.

It was quite clear she had been busy. Of course, she then tried to chew and eat the diaper wipe I was using to clean her mouth and when I went in after it, she bit my finger. Hard.

“Sh#^&$%T!” (I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it. Those little teeth hurt!)

To which, she laughed hysterically, chortling and giggling, like a little evil gnome, mouth open, and molars chock full of Crayola.

And then there was the incident today, which brought the realization that indeed, my daughter is also too smart for her own good. And a mean girl.

Olive and I had been playing and cleaning in the living room. Let’s be honest, I was doing the cleaning. Her idea of cleaning involves dumping chocolate powder on the  floor and spreading it around with her hands while wearing my panties from the clean laundry pile around her neck like a scarf). I needed to go tell my husband something, but he was working in the yard. Olive of course threw a fit when I made her stay inside by the front door, but I was only going to be a few seconds and I didn’t want to deal with the even longer fit she would have when she couldn’t play in the dirt hole in the yard that Matt was making while he was trying to pull out a stump.

I finished conversing with Matt and turned back around where Olive was still waiting by the door.

Which it turns out, she had locked.

“Olive, sweetie, did you lock the door?”

She looked up at me all sweet and innocent, and it was then that I realized she also had my car keys in her tiny, diabolical hands.

And that’s when the panic alarm went off in my car.

Luckily, the garage door which is usually locked, was unlocked because neither my husband or myself had our house keys with us or otherwise this would be a much different story.

For some reason, when I got back in the house, Olive was upset and started crying (I can only assume because her evil plans had been thwarted). In an effort to cheer her up, I put on her little toddler sunglasses and asked her, “How do I look?” This is a game that we usually play with her that she finds hilarious and then takes off the sunglasses and begs to have them put on her face.

But this time she didn’t laugh. I asked again, “How do I look?”

That is when she brought back her fist and punched me in the face.

I had to hold back my laughter since luckily, almost two year olds don’t have a lot of upper body strength. But that did earn the little Evander Holyfield a time out in her crib.

This got me thinking about toddler behavior in general and how both my little minions are developing into obstinate little/big crazies. I know I need to curb them of this behavior because it won’t be cute when they’re eight (although by then, Blue will be quite old in doggie years).

But thank goodness this appears to be quite normal. In fact, if you google “toddlers are a$$ holes” you will find a myriad of websites, tumblrs, pictures, blogs, Facebook pages, etc. dedicated to this exact theory. Hopefully, this means this is all a phase (at least for Olive) and one day she will understand that it’s not nice to steal keys or sucker punch people. At least she’s spritely.

Normally, I have some kind of life lesson or “the world is really butterflies and roses in disguise” behind my stories and long-winded posts. But today as it turns out there really isn’t a lesson to be learned here. And life is not sugar snaps and lollipops.

The only thing you really need to know is toddlers are a$$ holes.

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Muahahaha

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You know no cage can hold me, right?

Cha Cha Cha Cha Changes!!!

I’m really not good with change. Especially big change, even if its completely planned and wonderful.

For example, I flipped out when The Big Bang Theory was temporarily moved out of its Thursday night slot to Tuesday (It totally messed up our DVR schedule!).

I was also really upset when I moved to California and realized that along with Faygo, Toasteds, Better Made potato chips, and Winshuler’s cheese, I would have to add Open Pit BBQ sauce to the list of things I can’t find at the grocery store. Eventually, I discovered Baby Rays and peace was restored in the kingdom.

On the scale of larger changes, although I really wanted to stay home with Olive once she was born, and truly appreciate every day I get to spend with her, I was desperately depressed the first month I was home and my routine was altered. I was used to putting on my nice pretty work clothes and stopping by Starbucks on my way to work. I would spend a few minute chatting it up with my office peeps (rehashing last night’s episode of American Horror Story) before settling down to the rest of my latte and perusing my work emails and then jetting off to a morning meeting. Regardless of how wonderful it is being Olive’s “super mommy” (or mediocre mommy), spending my days bottle feeding, changing diapers, not showering, and watching horrible day time tv and scrubbing dog drool off the furniture was a cruel new reality.

So again, I have to remind myself that changes are good! We bought a new house (our first!) and moved in last month. We had previously been renting a few miles from our current home and frankly we were tired of renting. With Matt being in the military, buying a home is more of a risk than a normal home owner because you don’t know how long you will get to enjoy it. We have three years and then it will just depend on where his orders take us. If we don’t stay in San Diego, we will be faced with either selling our house or renting it out and hiring a management company to deal with it while we are away. But I was tired of living in a house without a dishwasher, central AC and functional heat of any kind. Plus I’m fairly certain the electrical was no where up to code. So I’m very excited to be living where we have all of these things. It feels very luxurious.

If I’m going to be honest, I’m not a good packer. Or unpacker. Or organizer. Or decorator. So things are slow going. I blame part of this on our move coinciding with the first trimester of my pregnancy which made me ridiculously tired 23 hours out of the day and want to hurl all 24 hours of the day.

The other part of moving that I hate is the adjustment period it takes to figure out where every thing is located. For example, I knew exactly where the closest drive-thru Starbucks was at our old house, the best Target location, the best Albertson’s grocery store. I knew that if I left for the Commissary by 8am with list in hand, I could be back in time to put the groceries away, grab some snacks for the diaper bag and be at our play date with our play group at 11 am.

The first play date we were scheduled to go to post-move was a pre-holiday cookie exchange. I was exhausted from the move, but I love baking and we hadn’t been to a playdate in a while because of the move so I was determined to make it happen. I stayed up until 11 pm the night before making hot chocolate cookies with melted marshmallows on top and woke up early the next morning to hit up the commissary before the play date. Unfortunately, the location of our new house tacked on six miles each way to the trek and I didn’t get back from the commissary until the play date started. I was exhausted and feeling sick from lack of food and energy. I walked into the house and Matt and Olive were playing together, still in pajamas and she hadn’t eaten yet either. I broke down and started crying, shoving cookies in my mouth. “WE’LL NEVER MAKE IT!”

If we are ever faced with a zombie apocalypse, I probably shouldn’t be the first person you team up with.

And we didn’t make it, partially because we would’ve been over an hour late by the time we got there and mostly because I didn’t want people to see my mascara streaked face, bags under my eyes, and chocolate coated teeth. So I put the groceries away and took a nap instead.

Part of the way I deal with change is to plan. Which as any military wife or mother will tell you is pretty much impossible. We had originally planned on trying to get pregnant and have our second baby before Matt went back to a submarine, as it would best assure that he would be here for the delivery and recovery period (I had a c-section with Olive and I am anticipating I may have one with this pregnancy as well). However, his sea duty was pushed up a few months and well…you can’t plan everything. So here we are approaching the second trimester and here we go! Back to the boat!

What this means for us is Matt may not be here when our second baby is born. After almost ten years together, I’ve figured out its best to plan on him not being here so I don’t have to be devastated and overly stressed when plans change and I have to put on my big girl pants and deal with something on my own.

Which means I will more than likely have to do LOTS of extra planning. I’ll be making lots of meals for the freezer and buying some things in bulk closer to the due date, so we will have everything we need for the first couple weeks in case I can’t drive (Oh the joys of c-sections).

It means possibly boarding our beloved Beluga Whale of a dog for a couple weeks until I’m healed (the thought of him jumping on me post-delivery makes my uterus hurt).

It means having lots of people on back up and possibly having family fly out around my scheduled due date so I have extra help with Olive since I won’t be able to pick her up for the first two or three weeks post-delivery. And having people take us to follow up appointments for those two weeks when I can’t operate a motor vehicle or lift anything heavier than an infant.

I try not to think about all of this too much, because the very thought of dealing with not only another c-section, but adjusting to having both a toddler and an infant, all while my husband is gone kind of makes me want to simultaneously stuff my face with cookies, start sobbing, and scream

“WE’RE NEVER GOING TO MAKE IT!!”

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We’ve got this, Mom!

Riding in Cars with Dogs

Our family has had very exciting news in the last month which I had originally planned to write about in the next couple of posts: the first being that we just moved into our awesome new house and the second being that we are expecting again and will have another baby in early August. But I’ve decided to push these posts back a week since Blue has decided to remind me that having nice things is temporary and he is as much baby as we will ever need.

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My three musketeers

Blue is crate trained for good reason. He can’t be left on his own for any large amount of time inside the house. He has proven time and time again that regardless of how long my back is turned he WILL find a way to both destroy the room you left him in and ingest a large amount of inedible items in the shortest amount of time. The first time I tried leaving him alone in the living room while Olive was napping, I went to grab a load of laundry from the dryer. I returned to find he had jumped on top of the dining room table, knocked over my vase and chewed up my bouquet of roses, grabbed an entire pack of sewing needles on the bookshelf and distributed them like booby traps on our shag rug. When I walked back into the room, my jaw dropped and I spilled the laundry basket. Blue was sitting on the couch, chewing up a stuffed whale. There were water and needles everywhere, and a single red rose hanging out of his left jowl.

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Sometimes Olive gets crated too.

Regardless of the fact that we have tried to minimize the amount of time he is left unattended, he inevitably gets into things and we find them later in his “leavings.” Mainly, baby socks. The guts of stuffed animals. Bits of dog toys. There was the rather humorous incident (at least in my mind because I didn’t have to help) when we found out that Blue had eaten a whole dish rag. Matt had to help him pull it out of his rear because Blue couldn’t quite pass it by himself. I won’t get into graphic detail here, but you get the idea.

As funny as these incidents are there are always the scary ones too. Blue has made himself sick on more than one occasion because he has bitten or eaten more than he can chew.

There was the time he ate a bunch of plants that didn’t agree with him AND tried to eat a bee. That ended in two days of non-stop vomiting and dry heaving, followed by his puppy dog cheek swelling up to the size of a soft ball. Matt had to drive him to the vet, where he filled the entire back seat of my Yaris with urine because he lost control of his bladder. We found out from that trip that Blue can take an adult sized dose of Benadryl and it takes several days of cleaning to get his pee smell our of a hot car.

My poor Yaris. It has ended up being Blue’s main means of transport and usually Matt is his driver. About twice a month, my husband will make the trek out to Ocean Beach dog beach and then there’s always the dog park, Pet Smart, and a couple times a year he sees the vet (who he loves, which is weird to me). My husband receives plenty of double-takes and eyes-widening, jaw-dropping stares from pedestrians and other drivers alike when he drives Blue places.  This is probably because 1) My husband is really four inches too tall to be driving the Yaris. 2) The Yaris gets great gas mileage but let’s face it, its a bit of a clown car 3) Like any good dog, Blue prefers to ride in style with either his massive head resting on Matt’s shoulder or his entire head out the window, jowls flapping in the wind. That being said, the inside of the car is covered in dog hair, sand and several layers of dog drool and perpetually smells like stale wet dog. Regardless of the destination or the smell, Blue loves riding in the car with his Thunder Buddy (that would be Matt).

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Imagine those jowls flapping in the wind.

The only time Blue rides in the car with me are the dreaded emergency trips to the vet, mainly because I refuse to try to deal with both the dog and the toddler in the car. Luckily, that has only happened a couple times in the last two years but I dread them like the flu. There is nothing more stressful than an emergency trip (to either the ER or the vet) with a sick dog/child/husband.

Which brings me to today. Now that Blue is slowly reaching dog adulthood, we’ve been experimenting with letting him have more time in the house without supervision. For the present, this only happens at night when we go to bed. Rather than crating him for the night, we’ve been leaving him sawing wood (that is exactly what his snoring sounds like) and tucked in with a blanket on the couch. When we get up in the morning, he’s usually migrated back to the crate. I caught him with a bag of english muffins in his mouth and he’s figured out how to open the back door to the garage, but otherwise we haven’t had any major incidents.

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Blue and I like to snuggle before bed.

This morning, much to my chagrin, Blue ate about thirty bone marrow treats (usually we don’t give him more than a couple a day). Its my own fault, I accidentally left the bag on the kitchen table last night. I was expecting at worst, an upset stomach. But then later this morning when I decided to bring Blue in to spend some time with us before I ran some errands, I made the mistake of leaving him in the living room while I went to brush my teeth. I rushed back in the room when I heard the sound of plastic cracking. Blue was sitting in pre-puppy pounce position (front paws to the ground, ears perked and head cocked with butt in the air and tail wagging) with a chewed up plastic packaging in front of him.

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Who me?

This was the package:

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Is it just me or does this box look like it was the victim of a drive-by shooting?

Luckily, I was fairly confident the package was already empty, there was still the concern he may have swallowed a button battery if it hadn’t been. My protocol for these situations is to crate the dog with a death wish and monitor him for a couple hours first (even though the protective dog mommy in me wants to rush him to the vet, the pragmatist in me also knows that this will automatically be a $350 vet bill for x-rays and antacids).

Of course, at the end of 2.5 hours he starts vomiting in his crate and then in various places in the living room and again when I brought him outside. Now the part of me that tends towards panic starts to take over, but I also remind myself that he’s consumed a large amount of doggy treats earlier this morning and refused breakfast. Which probably means he had an upset tummy BEFORE he chewed up the plastic package that probably did NOT contain a battery. I monitored him outside for a couple more hours during which time I carefully dissected his sick (when did he eat carrots and half a diaper wipe?). I eventually came to the conclusion that we were most likely in the clear and got out the vomit towel (well that’s what its going to be from now on, I’m certainly not bathing with it anymore). While following the trail of you-know-what and cleaning and disinfecting, I began to wonder why we spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a new house, just so Blue could vomit all over it. Finally, fixing my sick baby some steamed white rice with a little chicken broth mixed in (which he devoured) and later an apple which he stole from Olive, I deemed we would NOT be making a very expensive trip to the vet.

I do not enjoy these hurry up and wait situations and frankly, don’t want to think about dealing with this when Matt is out to sea and unreachable. But I’ll do it anyways because that’s what I signed up for when we adopted him. And I can’t imagine a world without our Romper Stomper in it. I would miss our snuggle sessions at the end of the day, when the sound of his snoring and puppy breath lulls me to sleep on the couch before bed. Even though he drives me absolutely crazy for two-thirds of the day, I would miss that big goofy drooly face too much if something ever happened to him. So today I’m thankful for every day that has our “pile of paws” in it and for empty plastic packages that don’t have any batteries after all.

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Our pile of paws

How to begin…

I’ve been attempting to start this blog for weeks. I don’t know why it always seems like beginning is the hardest part, but like a lot of things in life, once you get going its hard to stop (or shut up). Or maybe that’s just my life.

I struggled with how to begin…do I introduce myself and give a synopsis of my life (and explain why you should even finish reading this paragraph) or start off with why I decided to start a blog in the first place (that’s what unemployed housewives and mommies with too much education do, right?)

I guess I’ll start somewhere in the middle and work my way around in my future posts, hopefully in some kind of full circle, but really I make no promises.

It all started with a dog. Well, really a cat. Then a herd of cats. Then came the dog. Then a baby.

A few years ago, my husband and I were living together, happily unmarried, childless (so bliss, really). I was gainfully employed as a paper pusher and customer service extraordinaire at a university and considering grad school options. My husband had just reenlisted in the Navy where he goes out to sea for months at a time on a submarine and fiddles with computers (not really, but its close enough). I decided that if we were going to continue to live apart for long periods of time, I would need a companion. So we settled for Tater our cat. Then came another cat, Chloe (because he needed a companion). Then a third and fourth feline and eventually they all reproduced exponentially. Our episode of Animal Hoarders will be airing on Animal Planet next month.

Just kidding.

The deal was that if he allowed me to adopt two cats (in my way of thinking, two cats constitutes a herd because they’re just as difficult to wrangle than any actual herd of animals), I would allow him to choose whatever breed of dog he wanted when we were in a house with a yard. Looking back, I don’t know what I was thinking. Also, I’m a big believer in karma and I must’ve had it coming for something horrendous I did in my younger years because in August 2012 two things happened:

1. We put a deposit on this:

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2. Two weeks later, we found out I was pregnant.

Just in case you were wondering, that adorable lab mix puppy that looks like he’s about six months old is neither a lab mix nor six months old. My husband decided that he wanted the biggest, drooliest dog on God’s green earth. That puppy is a Neapolitan Mastiff and he is six weeks old here.

We were optimistic. Great! A puppy and a baby, they’ll grow up together! We understood that Blue, a Neapolitan Mastiff would grow quite a bit faster and larger than the baby, but mastiffs are supposed to be “gentle giants.” It turns out it doesn’t matter how gentle giants are when within months of getting said “gentle giant”  turns into this:

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So that’s how it started. Now Blue, our oldest is 160 lbs and two years old (and yes he is going through his own terrible twos which I will get into in future posts) and our youngest, Olive will be two in April.  They like to get into shenanigans both together and separately. They fight a lot with me and each other. I tend to enjoy living in the chaos produced when raising a toddler that prefers screaming to talking and uses peanut butter as face paint along with a dog the size of a man that leaves “frosting” on all the furniture and eats cat poop and then licks my face. I get through the day by not taking life too seriously. And realizing that in order to stay sane I have to relinquish any delusion of control I might once have had over my household.

But at the end of the day after my throat is hoarse from yelling at Blue, I’m covered in dog drool and toddler grub, I realize I haven’t showered in two days and I just sat in someone’s urine, its moments like this that remind me that we made the right decisions. Even if they seemed crazy stupid at the time (and still sometimes do). In the end, things tend to work themselves out.

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