Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Terminator

Our dog, Leigh, is a German Shepherd. With her family, she is timid, obedient, patient with the boys, and very loving. With strangers, she is altogether different. I find it fascinating watching people's reactions when they come to the door. When I hear her barking, I usually say, "Shut up, Leigh" in a disgusted voice. When strangers hear her barking, they freak out. Delivery men are usually back to their trucks before I even open the door. One day, my husband was doing exhausting, landscaping work with Leigh for company. All of a sudden, Leigh goes off like a shot, barking madly at a door-to-door salesman. My man immediately calls her off, but she still barks her head off at the poor man who had stopped dead in his tracks. My husband yells in an obviously uninterested voice, "Can I help you?" The man can't be heard over Leigh's barking, but my husband got the point when he waved a pamphlet in the air. He yelled, "No, thanks" and the man was prudent enough to turn around and walk the other way as fast as he could. I am usually embarrassed by our dog's unfriendly behavior, but this was funny to me. About two weeks ago, it was time to take the dogs outside to do their business. I opened my back door to find some strange man walking in our backyard. Leigh took off like a shot....again...and ran straight for him barking madly....again. I thought the man was going to pee his pants. He started yelling, "Down! Get down!" I was so shocked by what was happening I didn't immediately react. I noticed he had been headed for the meter, so I yelled for Leigh to come and she obeyed. I closed the door and said, "I'm sorry, but I had no idea you were on my property." He said it was alright in a breathless voice and went to check our meter. I felt embarrassed again, but then I thought, "What if that had been a predator?" Suddenly, I didn't feel embarrassed anymore. Alright, Leigh. Sic 'em. You go get those bad guys.

Fish Fright

My son, Aidan, has entered the "terrible twos" with a vengeance. He has discovered that moving one of the bar stools up to a certain place at the kitchen counter will put him in a better position for trouble. I have discovered that I cannot outsmart my two-year-old. While homeschooling his brothers, I usually put up a gate to keep him confined. Well, maybe I should do that while I watch the food network, too. Hmmmm. Aidan had decided to wake up his exhausted parents at 5am this morning, so I was conked out on the couch watching my favorite channel when Aidan proudly brings me something that I don't quite recognize. When it lands onto my hand, I take a good look at it and scream my lungs out. "It's the fish!" I yelled. Aidan starts to look a little unsure of himself as I look at him in horror. I call down Nathanael (said owner of the fish) to tell him the bad news. As he is coming down the stairs, I notice the fish's gills moving. Imagine my surprise that the fish had actually survived Aidan. We finally get him into his newly cleaned tank and watch him carefully as he gasps for breath. I then give Aidan a five-minute lecture on fish and water.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Our dog, Leigh, and I have gone through a lot together. When we got her from the German Shepherd Rescue Foundation, she was nine months old and fully grown. She is small for a German Shepherd and a pretty girl. She warmed up to us fast and was very sweet and patient with our two little boys. We brought her home and that's when I realized that even though she looked like a full-grown dog, she was definitely not one. I was pregnant with my third child when I specifically remember a time when I had been "traumatized" by the kennel training. Little dogs are sooooo much easier to train than big dogs. Little dogs have cute, little terds to pick up and flush down the toilet. Big dogs leave horse piles that sink to the bottom of the carpet. Those who believe that dogs will not do their business in their kennels have no idea what they are talking about. One day, Leigh couldn't control herself any longer and made a whopping mess in her kennel. My husband was at work, otherwise I would have had him clean it up. Since the stench was making the entire house reek, I had no choice but to clean up the mess myself. There I am on my knees with my big belly in the way yelling at Leigh and saying, "I (gag) hate (gag) you!" I couldn't even get the words out properly. As the years pass, Leigh finally understands that pooping anywhere in the house is a huge no-no, but the carpet especially. She is a very timid dog when it comes to telling her master and mistress that she needs to go outside. She would never dare to bark her head off to be let outside to do her business. Oh, no. She's much too classy for that. She just sits there and stares at us until we notice her and then we have to say, "Do you want to go outside?" proceeded by her running to the door with great excitement. If we are not available for her to stare at, then we're in for it. Last week, I come out of the office to smell a familiar stench since we had gotten a new puppy. I look around for the little terds that our darling puppy must have left behind, but couldn't find them. Then, Caleb says to me, "Mom, Leigh's in the bathtub!" I look into the bathroom and find the source of the stench. There's Leigh hiding in the bathtub having the fortuitous knowledge that pooping in the bathtub might keep her from getting into as much trouble as if she had pooped on the carpet. She was right. We actually felt sorry for the stinker. Days later, we were again unavailable for her to stare at, and she ended up pooping on top of our fan.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

First Love

When our third son was born, he wasn't breathing. Our midwife had to give him mouth to mouth while I gently talked to him looking into his beautiful eyes. When he was resusitated, he was starving. I immediately started feeding him feeling extremely guilty when our midwife said there was a knot in the cord and he had been starving in the womb. He was my smallest baby weighing in at 5 pounds, 6 ounces. From the time he was a baby till now as a four year old, I realized that there is something about Justin that melts people's hearts. A friend once asked me, "Is he your favorite?" probably half-joking. A couple months after Justin was born, Isabella, his best friend, came into the world. Whenever I see the photograph by Jacques Lowe called First Love, I am reminded of Justin and Bella. When they were two years old, they fell head over heels. Now they are four and they both have their own distinct personalities. Justin is matter-of-fact while Bella is dramatic. Even though they are so different, they adore each other. Justin is always greeted with a kiss to the cheek and he accepts it graciously. My heart puddles into my stomach every time I see that. Whenever they have to part, it is always very hard for Bella. Justin is always comforting her while she cries her heart out. He never seems to understand that she cries because she loves him and misses him. I'm sure he loves her and misses her, too, but being a man, well, you understand. I do not know what the future holds for them. It's just nice to know that they have each other for now.

Monday, January 15, 2007

"Just Give Us the Frickin' Word!"

My firstborn son, Nathanael, is in 4th grade now. To many people, he is very quiet and shy. It is very hard to know what is going on in that brain of his. He doesn't open up easily, but he is very sweet and loving. One day, Nathanael's principal of the classical school that he goes to asked me to stay after school to have a talk with her. I immediately broke out in hives. I was so nervous that I imagined all sorts of things she could possibly want to talk to me about. Did he get into a fight? Did he cheat on a test? Is he failing a certain class? It could have been anything and it drove me crazy all night and all the next day. Finally, the time came and I was sitting in her office. This was her story. The boys and girls in her Language Arts class were having a spelling drill. The girls had to give the boys a really hard word to spell on the board. They were taking a long time trying to find just the right word and it was making Nathanael very impatient. Finally, he couldn't take it anymore and in great excitement said, "Just give us the frickin' word!" When the principal told me this, I laughed my head off in relief before I realized that she wasn't really laughing along with me. I tried to calm down and put on my concerned face while she said, "I have no idea where he got that word. It's just so out of character!" Yeah. Me too. I have no idea where he got that word.