Tuesday, July 29, 2014

We Do Not Hit

We do not hit and we do not kick are both phrases that are said over and over in Bulldogge Manor these days.  Owen has started doing both whenever he gets angry—which, since he is in the “terrible twos” phase, is quite often.  I find it all very curious, because Sean and I obviously do not go around hitting and kicking each other when we get angry, so it is not behavior that Owen is mirroring.  It must just be innate, to want to lash out physically at the person frustrating you?

It is to Owen these days at any rate.  Susan got him two books, Hands are not for Hitting, and Feet are not for Kicking, which we read to him (although I sort of think it hadn’t really occurred to him to kick until we started reading him this book, oops).  And he knows now that hitting and kicking are things he isn’t supposed to do, although most of the time he just can’t help himself.

I’m trying to respond consistently, although sometimes I will ignore him when he hits, because it often seems like he stops if he doesn’t get an angry reaction from me.  He is especially naughty on the changing table, when he will kick out constantly while we are trying to change his diaper.  What works best is to distract him by singing or asking him a question while simultaneously getting his little ankles in a pincer grasp and changing the diaper as quickly as possible.  I also like to tell him that whereas hands are not for hitting and feet are not for kicking, noses are for honking!  And then I quickly honk his nose, which sometimes will get him to giggle.

Another thing he will do now is that if Sean says something to him that makes him angry, he will come over and try to hit me!  He did that to Susan once, too, at music class when the teacher told Owen not to throw his drumsticks, he got angry and went over and hit Susan.  (As Susan said to me in a text:  we always hurt the ones we love!)

A colleague at work is having the same problem with her similarly-aged son, and she told me he also hits and kicks their dog, which has not (yet) occurred to Owen.  

I never thought I would spend so much home time avoiding being pummeled.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dorothy Gets Lasered

Last summer when we were in Maine, Dorothy overdid it a bit chasing tennis balls across my parents’ back lawn.  This is both an endearing and exasperating quality of Dorothy’s:  when it comes to physical activity, she goes all out.  She can’t just trot across a yard, or even trot quickly: she has to do a sprint, and the sprint has to be as if her life depended on it.  So when Dorothy runs, her front legs are always behind her back legs and vice versa.  And when Dorothy jumps, she has to jump and twist.

Dorothy last summer in Maine, taking a brief pause:

So when we were in Maine last summer and she had all that acreage in which to run around, she had to run around every inch of it and speedily at that.  By the evenings, she’d be passed out in a bed, and when she would get up we noticed she was a bit stiff and then limping.  We had her take it easy when she returned to Philly, and after a few days she was back to normal.  But a few months later, she was limping again, and this limp kept recurring.  It would appear after some strenuous activity, but then go away on its own.  We did notice that each time it came back, it left for less of a time than previously, and finally we decided to take her to the vet.

On Saturday the vet was pretty sure that Dorothy had a knee injury in her back right leg, probably a torn ligament or a partially torn ligament.  They put her on an anti-inflamatory medication and also gave her a three-minute laser treatment to make the knee feel better and activate the cells into healing themselves.

I did notice a difference on Sunday and Monday, although the problem soon became that since the leg was feeling better, then Dorothy wanted to return to her normal activities, and we were trying to keep her sedentary.  We took her on short walks around the block instead of letting her out in the yard, so that she wouldn’t run, and Sean put a temporary hold on their daily wrestling sessions.

Then yesterday when I got home from work, her leg was even worse.  Whereas before she would step down but not completely put her heel on the ground, now she was trying not to put that foot down at all.  Oh dear and bother.  It is all very stressful!  I want Dorothy to be able to be healthy and active, but we can’t afford the thousands of dollars that surgery would cost.  Plus I have this vision of going ahead with the surgery somehow, and then Dorothy running across the lawn after recovery and pulling the ligament again. 

This morning she seemed a little better—she was walking more normally although still not putting her foot all the way down.  Other than that, she seems her normal self—she is not at all acting like she is in pain, other than the limp that we see.  So we shall take it day by day and see what happens.  She was supposed to have another laser treatment today, but our car is acting sulky so we had to cancel; hopefully we will be able to make it to Saturday’s laser appointment.

Heal, Dorothy!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Crabby Swim

We set up a crab pool for Owen this past weekend, and he had a much better experience than he did the previous year when we plunked him in a pool.  At first he just stood and filled the bucket up and poured it out:

It was at this point that the mailman came by and Owen had to regale him with many “Hi Mail-Mans” and “Bye-bye Mail-Man’s” with his little belly protruding all the while.

After he had been in the pool for a bit, I sat him down so he could enjoy the buckets and cups at his leisure.  Then he got out and we turned up the sprinkler feature, and Owen got soaking wet.

And Owen liked that too!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Win/Win Situation

I am unduly pleased with myself because I did a bit of weeding in the front yard on Sunday.  Seriously, I’m as bad as Owen, who likes nothing more than to plunk a leaf in the bag and proclaim proudly, “Weeding!”  But I was outside with Owen for the umpteenth time, and getting a little bored of watching him flick water from a bucket with a paint brush, so started removing obvious weeds from our flowerbeds.  And it was very satisfying!  I was tidying the yard!  And I love to tidy.  There were a few moments where I had to stop because I wasn’t sure if a plant was a legal resident or an imposter, but on the whole, I was able to significantly improve one small square foot or two of our front yard.

It didn’t hurt any that I had a very enthusiastic helper in Owen, too, who once he saw what I was doing, decided he would take each weed that I plucked and run it down the driveway to where his bucket was.  I didn’t bother suggesting to him that he bring the bucket closer, because I figured it was a good way to tire him out; and indeed he ran down the driveway to his bucket and back at least twenty times.  I know fifteen minutes of weeding does not a gardener make, but it was the first time that it occurred to me that gardening could be something in actuality that I enjoyed doing, and not just in very fuzzy theory.

I knew not to weed this:

I was also able to get Owen to walk almost around the whole block on Sunday, which is a pretty good distance.  He walked halfway around so that we could go look at the school buses where they are parked; I carried him up the hill, and then he walked the rest of the way on his own accord, albeit with numerous stops and starts.  A toddler walks a lot like a puppy:  he squats to look at a stick, and then picks it up and moseys for a bit while examining the stick; then hits a few things with the stick; and then all of a sudden will start running out of the blue until  he reaches something else that grabs his attention.

He likes to say “hi!” and “Bye-bye” to anyone who might be out in their yard, although he also will get a little tongue-tied should they want to have a longer conversation.  If he is feeling really shy, he will hide his head in my legs, but sometimes he will chat, too.  You can never quite tell how shy Owen will be, if at all.

Not shy at all while shaking his booty 
to a musical card in the Rite Aid:

Monday, July 14, 2014

Good Girl!

One thing I tend to do multiple times a day is join Dorothy where she is reclining on the couch and give her belly a scritch while telling her over and over that she is a Good Girl!  Dorothy likes this, and tends to respond by making these little puffing sounds while I scratch, which I figure is her version of saying, a little to the left, a little higher, etc.  Owen also likes when I do this, and although he won’t help with the scratching of the belly (he smartly likes to keep his distance from the swiping reach of Dorothy’s long-nailed paws), he will now pipe in with the chorus of Good Girl!, and does so using the exact same tone of voice as I use.  Sometimes, Owen will even drag me over to the couch and initiate such a session himself.  He enjoys praising his beloved Dorr-Dorr.

Now that “good girl” is part of Owen’s vocabulary, he will also use it to praise Plum and me and Sean, so I’ve started correcting him with “good boy” when it is appropriate, although as of yet he seems to think that I am joking when I do this. 

Owen and Dorothy have another thing in common, which is their great affection for Owen’s cousin, Katie, who sometimes will accompany Susan to our house.  Both Owen and Dorothy get VERY EXCITED when they see Katie get out of Susan’s car.  Owen will start opening and closing his little hand in a wave and saying, “Hi, Ka-tee! Hi” and Dorothy starts wiggling and crying and will dash out the door the minute I open it so that she can accost Katie on the porch.

Owen being carried by cousin Katie:

Her reaction has reminded me just how much Dorothy enjoys people and being admired—something that she got all the time in the city, but less so since we are out in the suburbs.  Dorothy would make a great shop dogge, come to think of it, as she would like nothing more than to greet strangers who are willing to give her an ooh and an ahh.

Dorothy thinking, I could say welcome to our shoppe!

This morning, when Owen saw that Katie was not climbing out of Susan’s car, he said, “Ka-tee honk-shu, honk-shu, honk-shu” (which is our sound for snoring), and what Susan gives as the reason for Katie not being there, that she is home sleeping.  I thought it was quite clever of him.

Dorothy and Owen also both enjoy the arrival of the mailman.  Owen will run to the door saying “Hi, Mail-Man!” over and over, and Dorothy will also run to the door so that she can get a milkbone from the mailman.  He is very fond of and nice to Dorothy, and a good mailman on the whole, although I admit to being a little disgruntled when he opens our screen door and puts the proffered milkbone straight into Dorothy’s mouth.  So much for Dorothy’s being a guard dog!

Dorothy thinking, I really do love that mailman.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Gone Reading

I’ve been a bit blog-shy lately, primarily due to wanting to spend all my free-time first re-reading the 7th and then reading the new, 8th Diana Gabaldon Outlander novel (a guilty pleasure, although really not that guilty, since except for issues with pacing and a tendency to over-swashbuckle, she writes quite well and is an excellent story-teller).  And since her novels are all about 800 pages, it will probably be another week or two before I complete the 8th.  Anyway, I shall pry myself out of the 18th century and let you know what Owen has been up to these days:

He has been up to CARS.  And TRUCKS.  And BIIIIIIIIIG CARS.  And FIRE TRUCKS!  Pretty much all day long.  The first thing he does each morning is to start bringing certain cars and trucks from where I put them the night before, to scattered about in clumps and lines throughout the living room.  It is something he can play with on his own, so I am all for it, except that he doesn’t know how to hook his trains together yet (trains are categorized along with CARS and TRUCKS), so when he is playing with one of his trains there is a lot of whining involved and one of us has to keep hooking them together.  We show him how to do it himself, but he hasn’t caught on yet.

We took Owen to the 4th of July parade in Glenside and it was a big hit.  Almost 2 is really a good age for parades; he can’t scamper out yet and get the candy, but he can get very excited over the twelve or so firetrucks that went slowly past with their sirens a-blaring.  He also liked the marching bands and the mummer string bands, and the Philly Phanatic, and the Belgian horses.  For the record, he was a little creeped out by the man who walked past wearing stilts and long striped pants.

He really loves music, and the minute he hears it, will start bobbing his head in an exaggerated manner, clapping his hands with wide arms, and doing this move he learned in Music Class, which consists of raising his arms overhead and spreading his hands wide and waving them about.  He’ll do all these moves even if the “music” he is hearing is just his parents singing.  And then when we finish singing, he claps and says Yay!  And then “mo” for more.

In fact, one of his favorite things right now is when we sing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” – he gets very excited and will join in on the e-i-e-i-o’s.  I think what excites him most about the song is the choosing of the animal, and then interspersing what the animal says with the singing—that always makes him laugh.  He also still is a fan of “The Wheels on the Bus” for the same reason—the choice of the subject of the next verse.

Owen’s favorite thing to watch on TV right now is Peppa Pig, a British cartoon for toddlers.  Coincidentally, I find it as amusing as does Owen, albeit for different reasons.  (Have you seen Peppa Pig?  It’s hilarious!)

Owen fell on Saturday and got his first scraped knee.  It was not a bad fall by any means, but the whole washing of the wound and applying of the band-aid was a new experience for him.  I had cut my own knee the week before, and all week he had been talking about Mama’s boo-boo and pointing to my knee (often jabbing a finger right into my cut, which needless to say, wasn’t too pleasant).  And now Owen had one of his own!  It turns out that Owen has inherited his stoicism, or lack thereof, from my sister, Meredith.  (Hi, Meredith! J)  Each time he remembered his injury, he would clutch his leg and act as if he were dying.  Sean said it was like he had been in ‘Nam and was having a flashback.  Poor Sean was in charge of the first bath after the wound, in which Owen had to first get it wet, and then have the band-aid removed.  I think Owen’s howls were heard in the next town over.

And I think that is mostly it for now.  Owen so kindly did not awaken during the fireworks on Friday night, and also managed to remain asleep during the bad thunder storms we had on the 3rd.  He also was very helpful throughout the long weekend while Sean caught up on the weeding.  As usual, Owen was very pleased to be able to help put the weeds in the bag.