Monday, September 10, 2012

The Dog Days of Summer

My mother-in-law took the kids and I to King's Island a few weeks ago. We went last year, but obviously Danny did not ride any rides and there were only a few Jill was tall enough for. Well, this year she was able to ride The Great Pumpkin Coaster! (The kids' section of King's Island is all Peanuts themed. All in all, I think there were eight rides she could go on and four that Danny could.

I did make one mistake with the rides though. I looked at the map and saw there was one ride over in the Coney Island section of the park that would allow Danny and Jill to ride if I rode with them.

Logistically, it made sense to ride that ride, hit the carousel, maybe go up the mini Eiffel Tower, make our way over to the kids' section, get on the train, and then go to the water park. However, even the children were technically tall enough to ride that ride, it was quite a bit more than either of them seemed ready for it. It was one that swings you up and down in a circle and your individual cabin thing spins.

Danny got on it eagerly. He said one "whoa" during the ride. And then once it ended, he scrambled off quickly and ran to his grandma saying "done, done, done, done."

Jill did a little better, but she said it made her tummy feel very funny. The other day we were driving out in the country with lots of what my family always called "roller coaster roads." Jill said her tummy felt funny like it did on the monster at King's Island. (The Monster was the real name of the ride.) So I think that was a bad first choice for the kids to go on.

I thought we would have more luck at the water park, but since it was late in the season, some of the rides were closed, which unfortunately included all of the family rides.

So there were none that I could ride with the kids. Jill finally started going down some of the kiddie slides, including one quite a bit bigger than the one in the picture here, with three twists in it.

Danny, however, wanted nothing to do with it. I tried to push him down one, and he grabbed the side and got stuck. I was not allowed to go down the slide to get him (the life guard said that would get him in trouble), and Laurie was not allowed to climb up and get him. Sigh. It was an unpleasant couple of moments.

Danny had another bad moment when Laurie tried to get him to go down a slide. (In this case, it was the slide in the pictures.) Danny had done it earlier and enjoyed it, but for some reason he started refusing to. Then he acted like he wanted to again, so Laurie gave him a little nudge, because he was stuck at the top. Well, he was sitting when he started, but when he ended, he was somehow backwards and upside down. He was not amused.

All in all, it was a fun day though—Danny's misfortunes aside.

So I know the dog days of summer are supposed to be the hottest and most humid, but in our house the dog days of summer were really the end of August and beginning of September.

We were able to babysit our friend's dog for exactly four weeks. We found another friend who may be willing to keep him. (She already has two cats and a dog, so they're doing a trial run right now. They've had him since Friday. Cross your fingers for me.)

Now having a dog was a lot of fun in many ways. The kids were quite entertained by him, which saved me a lot of entertainment energy. Jill loved feeding him his doggie meals, and Danny loved feeding him his own personal meals. I took the dog running with me one day, and we went on a few other walks. When we met friends at the park, we were able to bring "our" dog, too. And he would cuddle up with me whenever I slept or napped. Pretty endearing.

However, for us it was not just the dog days, it was the puppy days. This sweet dog was ten months' old. I had never before really known what "puppy love" or "following you around like a love-sick puppy" meant. But now I do! That puppy would not leave me alone. Example: One day I was doing laundry. I fold it in the living room and then carry the different piles throughout the house where they go. So he followed me back and forth from the living room to my bedroom about eight times (one trip for shirts, one trip for clothes that hang, one trips for Jeff's under clothes, one trip for mine, etc.). I know that sounds like a lot of trips, but my laundry basket was accidentally donated to either Goodwill or Salvation Army when we were donating the things inside the basket. Whoops. (And I don't want to put clean clothes back in my hampers. Weird I know.)

Whenever I would be in a room with the door closed (like putting a child to sleep), he would scratch at the dog. And it would take about fifteen minutes for him to calm down from his excitement upon seeing me come home after being gone.

He also was a typical dog and liked poop. So whenever I was changing Danny's poopy diaper, I would have to smack him away typically about five times to keep him from licking Danny clean. Ew. And then he would want the diaper. Ew. And if Jill ever ran from the bathroom to the bedroom to get underwear (or like when he got out of the bath), he would lick her in those not-to-be-licked places. (The kids thought this was pretty hilarious. Great.)

But other than that, he was great. He almost never chewed on any toys. Once I figured out his pattern, he didn't have any accidents in my house. (You had to watch him; he wouldn't bark or scratch the door to be let out. He would just go look out the glass sliding door for a while.) He gave my kids many, many warning signals before he would react to their torture. (And they didn't torture him that often, and I was usually close enough to help them figure out what he was trying to tell them.)

He really was a nice dog. And now I know a little bit more of what having a puppy is like. It's like having another child.

And since I already have two children with a third on the way, I think I will wait until I ever get a puppy of our own. So at least babysitting him has cured me of my desire for a dog any time soon. Kudos to all of my friends who train puppies at the same time they are training their own kids. You're incredible!

So this picture is to show off the dog (Jill and Danny are still asking me where he went), but it is also to show you that spectacular lettuce mess. Jill came to me holding a head of lettuce and asked if she could have some. I thought that was weird, but I tore off a leaf, and she ate it, so I told her she could eat it if she wanted.

I don't know how long I was gone, but when I came back, there were small pieces of lettuce in my basement, on the stairs, in the living room, in the foyer, in the kitchen, and in the dog's dish. Fantastic. But hey! Instead of yelling, I took a picture and then let the kids help me pick it up. I tried to find out what kind of game they were playing, but I wasn't able to figure it out. Perhaps there don't always need to be reasons for big messes.

Sometimes now, since it was for four weeks, I forget that the dog is gone. I find myself not closing the door behind me, waiting for the dog to run through. But then he's not there. And I sit down, and no dog jumps up next to me. And when I move in my sleep, there is no dog weighing the sheets down.

Last weekend, we spent all Saturday down in Kentucky at a fundraiser for one of Jeff's clients. Jeff's company had built a soap box car and raced it in their derby. There were games for children as well and some inflatables, so it was a fun day. I had never been to a soap box derby before. It was all outdoors, and a lot of people brought their dogs, ranging from a 4-pound toy poodle to an enormous Swiss Mountain dog. It kind of made me nostalgic for my dog. But then not really, because it's hard to chase a one year old when you're pulling a leash. And Danny used to get knocked over by the leash a lot.

But still, it's funny how quickly you get used to being a dog family. (But please cross your fingers or pray that it works out for the dog with his new family.)

And for your viewing pleasure, here is a video of Jill and Danny's response to watching the Olympics.