Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Many Little Helpers

There has been much hustle and bustle going on at Bulldogge Manor this week, yet not by me (except on Monday when I left the house to escape it, and moseyed this way and that under the hot sun with Owen in his push-chair.)  We are converting from an oil furnace to a gas furnace and adding central air, which in this age of global weirding has become a necessity in Philly.

And because we have three pets, it is always a bit of a challenge to have workers in the house, especially when they are working in the basement, or as Posy thinks of it, the forbidden, and therefore very alluring, chamber.  We have a makeshift pet fence across the doorway to the basement, and of course Posy lurks right there hoping that she can run through when you open it a crack.  Meanwhile Dorothy, always a floozy, wanted to cover all the workmen in kisses, and help them with whatever they were doing.  And when they cut a hole in our living room floor to add a return vent, or some such vent, they had to alert us to the fact that Plum then sat by the hole and kept putting his paw through it and feeling around, and then soon the purple head and yellow eyes followed.

Amazingly enough, Owen was able to nap through earsplitting noise and drilling and shaking and rumbling both in the morning and afternoon.  I don’t know how this happened, since sometimes he’ll wake up if a pet hair falls to the floor.  But I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth.  He slept on Monday; and I was glad.

And because Sean is the ant and I am the grasshopper, while I was reading a novel, Sean started a new home improvement project, painting the shed, or as we call it, the barn.  And now it looks more like a barn, what with its spiffy new barn-red coat!  Here it is half completed:

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Big Boy!

In the last few weeks, Owen has really started to become a little person -- albeit one who wobbles on the precipices of curmudgeonliness.  I can see him trying to figure things out, and getting really excited when he is able to put two and two together.

He also can respond to things we say, and we've been teaching him the standard repertoire of waving hello and goodbye, clapping his hands, and holding up both arms when we ask, "How big is Owen?" (Sooooo big!)

Sometimes he isn't in the mood to be a trained monkey, and when we demand a performance, he'll phone it in, like raising only one arm instead of two, or seemingly on purpose clapping when we ask him to wave, or vice versa.

Just the other day he really started crawling on his own accord, and not just when we dangled our iPhones in front of his head.  In true Owen fashion, he does not seem very impressed with the whole concept.  In fact, he keeps his head down parallel to the floor when he crawls, and then complains loudly the entire way, as if we were whipping him along as he made his way across (we are not:  no whips, no spurs).

I think in general he is just the kind of kid who was quite happy having things brought to him, or when he was feeling active, zipping around the sunroom in his walker, so the whole crawling thing seems to him an undue burden.

Next up:  walking!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Swinging in June

I’ve been wanting to bring Owen to a playground, because although he doesn’t walk yet, I was thinking that swings might be right up his alley.  He likes the out of doors, he likes movement, and he likes the idea of his chubby thighs sticking out of a swing.  Okay, that last part was just me.  Anyway, his Aunt Susan did some sleuthing and found out about a playground that was within driving distance, and brought him there to try it out.  He wasn’t so sure about the swings, but did enjoy watching other kids on the seesaw.

Sean and I brought him back a few days later, however, and upon giving it some thought Owen decided that swings are fun!  Here he is enjoying his second swinging experience in familiar sun fedora and new sandals!

This park had a nice woodsy trail too, which Owen wasn’t in the mood for on that particular day, due to the certain inching forwards of his two front teeth, causing crankiness and copious amounts of drool.

I’ve noticed recently that Owen gets really excited when he sees other children, be they a few months old or seven.  He’ll see a kid from half a block away and start to chortle and laugh and kick his feet.  The poor only child needs a playdate!

Anyway, for what it is worth, while Owen was swinging, someone at home was Not Swinging.  And while you are at it, back away with that camera, bitches, before snoozing is interrupted:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Happy Birthday, Tulip!

If my beautiful Tulip was still alive, today would have been her 20th birthday.  And that would be pretty frighteningly old for a pug!  As it was, she almost made it to her 17th birthday, and I thought that was quite impressive.  Here are the two of us looking very young, if not a bit uncomfortably positioned.  I think I am 27 here and Tulip 2.  Spring chickens, both!

 Tulip would not particularly have enjoyed Owen, but I like to think she is somewhat responsible for his existence, in that if she hadn’t lived such a long pug life, I would not have gotten Dorothy when I did, and thus would not have gotten to know Sean well and there’d be no son. 

I’m sure that Tulip is glad her life didn’t overlap with my life as it is now though, because while she did enjoy flirting with the menfolk, she did not want to share me, be it with man or boy or cat.

Here’s me and Tulip eleven or so years later on pugoween.  What a pretty princess!

Anyway, I do miss my gal terribly and if I were a boozy sort with no obligations, you could probably find me in a pub tonight, toasting my pug beauty with pints of Guinness, and getting teary while quoting Auden:

She was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song….

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Owen La La!

In April, Owen started taking a music class with his Aunt Susan.  He has a cd of the songs that they sing in class, and he also gets to use instruments while there, such as the drum.

I’m told he is very interested when his teacher plays the guitar, and stares at her amazed that she can do what Sean does.  He also likes to make percussive sounds on the body of the guitar with his sticky fist.

Susan plays the cd for him daily in the mornings, and although it almost always ends with Owen falling asleep in her arms, he does seem to like it, despite the fact that his father gets the creeps from the songs (and claims it’s a cult).  When we leave in the morning to go to work, I often leave giggling at Owen’s Very Serious face as he dances along with Susan to the Ostrich Walk.

I would like Owen to be a musician, and have in mind for him the cello via piano.  Sean would like that he do both, and be interested in guitars, since he stands to inherit Sean’s collection of electric ones.  And Owen does seem interested.  He listens to Sean’s music each night when Sean gives him a bath, and he has an already considerable history of falling asleep to the Smiths in the car.

I often “sing” to Owen too, and since he was a wee thing “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean” can make him laugh, although I suppose it is possible that he is laughing at my version of it.  For some reason though (no doubt sleep deprivation), my mind goes blank when I go to sing Owen a song, and can usually only come up with two hymns from my childhood church-going days (“Let Us Break Bread Together On Our Knees” and “Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley”) or a series of folk tunes that, it turns out, all have rather macabre second verses (Clementine dies!  My Sunshine is dreamed dead, as is My Bonnie! Daisy won’t marry the man with the tandem bike!  Etc.)  And for some reason "Scarborough Fair" always comes to mind, but I sing a version that spirals up and up in key until I sound like Kate Bush on helium.  So at the moment I don’t think I’m doing that much to further Owen’s musical education.

I played him Carmina Burana once, but don’t think he liked it, as he looked startled throughout.  Loud Latin accompanied by timpani can have that effect on a fellow.

Then there’s always “The Wheels on the Bus”—Owen is willing to listen to as many verses of that as I care to sing, and it’s amazing just whom you find on a bus these days.  A lot of livestock, apparently….  

Dorothy thinking, The only good kiddie song is that one about
knick knack paddywhack give a dog a bone....

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Say What?!

In the past week or so, Owen has really turned a corner with his "speaking."  He always talked a lot, but now he has added consonants to his repertoire, saying dada, ma (on occasion), good, and his new favorite, NANANANANA!

He also will clap his hands upon command, and wave, and then is very proud of himself for doing so.  (He tried to do both while nursing the other day, which basically resulting in me getting pummeled when he clapped and slightly creeped out when he waved at me from the vicinity of my breast.  Yes Owen, I thought, I know you are there....)

In this picture below he is trying to get ahold of my iPhone.  Every time we show him a picture or a movie of him on our iPhones, he laughs.  We have to be careful though, as he seems to be quite speedily able to delete apps and send texts, not to mention repeated attempts at using the phones as very expensive teething accoutrements.

After Martha left last Sunday, we spent most of the day indoors since Owen was feeling a bit out of sorts, and his playing has really changed all of a sudden too.  He spent an uninterrupted hour playing with his stacking blocks--putting things in, taking them out, etc.  It was fun to watch.  He also gives really good and loving hugs now too.  Our Owen is quite the cuddler!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Romeo, Go Away!

Our next door neighbors have two cats who are basically outdoor cats (they seem to go inside for meals, but that’s about it.)  This means that in addition to our two indoor cats, we have two yard cats as well, since the next door neighbors’ cats do not respect our property lines.

This is really annoying.  Before I was a cat owner, I was and am a big fan of songbirds, and thus have taken to heart the fact that it only takes one or two outdoor cats to decimate the songbird population of an area.  My cats have thus never set foot outside in their lives, except in a carrier.  On the one hand, I get why some people might have a problem with this—my cats have rather narrow habitats.  But on the other hand, I can’t imagine opening the door and letting a pet outside and not knowing where it is and if it is okay.  It is against the law to let dogs roam, so why is it different for cats?

What is even more annoying is that Romeo, the neighbor’s cross-eyed flamepoint Siamese, is always hunting and killing and leaving small heartbreakingly dead things on our property.  Little bats, moles, mice, birds, you name it and Romeo will kill it if given the chance.  This morning Sean came inside after bringing out the trash and told me not to look outside.  My first panic was that Romeo had gotten one of a pair of gray catbirds that I am very fond of (this male catbird is a virtuoso singer.  He sits on a branch outside my bedroom window and sings a song that’s a ribbon of beauty).  But my catbirds are safe for now.  What Romeo did kill was a tiny week-old baby rabbit—I mean, really, where is the sport in that?  Who couldn’t hunt and kill a baby rabbit?

So now war has been declared; one of us plans on purchasing a large water gun and dousing a certain wall-eyed Shakespearean hero the next time he comes looking for his Juliet. 

Dorothy doesn't want to know what is happening outside right now.