Thursday, February 24, 2011

Make Me Feel Better!

Update on the dogs…they’re still living…barely….enough said.

Update on my grandmother…She’s still living. Although on Sunday she was back on the oxygen tank, not sure why, but she was in her wheelchair and able to spend time with us.

I swear my name “mom” is being taken in vain. I must hear it upwards 20 plus times a day with no comment after. Just “mom?” repeated endlessly until I finally lose my mind and patience and say “WHAT!!!????!” “What is it that you want Makenna?!~?” I then tell her to stop saying my name unless she’s going to tell me immediately after what it is she needs to ask or say. What’s funny about this is that she loves playing Go-Fish but when the three of us play, she forgets to say who it is she’s asking for a card from. So we have to keep telling her to say, “Mom do you have” or “Dad do you have.” So it’s probably pretty confusing to her that we tell her to stop saying our names, unless we play Go-fish, and then please say our names.

Makenna is pretty good at expressing when her feelings are hurt. When Chris is really stern with her, she’ll usually break down and cry. This past Sunday was a great example of telling someone what you want and I couldn’t stop laughing.

We were sitting down to eat and Makenna had the bag of croutons. Chris took it away from her and she promptly yelled at him, “Hey give me that! I had that.” He then yelled back, ‘You don’t yell at me!” This resulted in Makenna breaking down crying. Through her tears she was saying, “You hurt my feelings.” Chris tried to explain to her that she is not to yell at her parents. Makenna continued with, “You hurt my feelings.” Then she said, “Make me feel better.” I got the biggest grin on my face and started laughing. I wonder where in life do we lose that ability to say right off the bat how someone made us feel and that they need to rectify it right there and then. I hope this is a quality she doesn’t lose…as hard as it may be to hear.

I’m also so impressed with how far Makenna has come with gymnastics and swim. She is getting strong enough to almost do the parallel bar by herself. When she thinks about it, she jumps on the spring board to vault right into a summersault. In swim she’s doing the backstroke much better and learning to dive.

She also loves to get up and dance anytime songs come on during her shows. I talked to her yesterday about starting dance classes in the Spring and she is all excited about the idea. Another thing that she’s really excited about is starting kindergarten. She talks about it all the time. We are trying to teach her how to do certain things on her own and we keep telling her she needs to know how to do these things so that she can go to kindergarten.

One in particular is how to zip her coat. She can zip it if we get it started but we are trying to get her to be able to do it all on her own. Yesterday she just about did it herself (the zipper wasn’t seated all the way down). It was down far enough for her to be able to start to zip it up and she promptly said, “Yeah! Now I can go to kindergarten!!”

Can I just say I’m excited for her but so sad at the same time? I look back at old photos and videos and while they put a huge smile on my face, they also make me sad for that little girl I once had. Maybe I should tell her to stop growing up and make me feel better.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Death and Dying 101

This past Friday brought about the words I’ve been dreading…your grandmother is ill and is not expected to make it much longer.

When I found out it was in the late afternoon so I went and picked up Makenna from school and then dropped her off with Chris while I went over to do a bedside vigil. We were told she hadn’t eaten or drank anything for a couple of days. They had oxygen on her and she looked pale and more frail than usual. When she would wake up, she would usually talk with her eyes closed. My brother was told that she had said that she was ready to go.  I can understand her wanting to leave this earth. She’s lived 101 years and misses her family who’ve already passed, which is just about all of them, and she hates it when we leave her.

I took a class in death and dying (best class I ever took,) and it said how that you should ask the person who they are waiting to see. This is so that if they are waiting to pass to the other side until they see someone that you can either arrange to get them there or let them know that the person cares and loves them. Plus, it helps to tell them that it’s okay to pass on. Also, that you should tell them that you will miss them, but that you will always think of them and your love for them. Sometimes they also want to hear that they are forgiven.

Knowing all this and doing it are two different things. It is incredibly hard to say any of those things without breaking down. I did it one other time with my grandfather who I was extremely close to and I just bawled as I said it. I was privileged to be there as he passed even though, at the time, I would’ve told you it was the worst thing to happen to me. Now I look it as a blessing to have been there with him.

So here I was in this predicament again trying to find the ways to say the things I felt needed to be said without turning into a blubbering fool. After my brother left and it was her and I for a while, when she was in one of her lucid moments, I took the opportunity to run through the list. The only thing I didn’t think of was telling her that she was forgiven. This woman who had many trials and has overcome hardships in many different ways, in my mind, is already forgiven for any small misdeeds she may have done.

Well here it is four days later and I have to say, she’s recovered quite well. I attribute that to my brother Josh’s quick thinking and running out to get her, her favorite food….crab. When I arrived on Friday he told me that he went down to the local Chinese buffet and picked up a to-go dish of shrimp and crab. When he brought it back, she woofed down the crab. Then later, I tried getting her to drink some water but she wasn’t too into it, and I found some soda that she couldn’t get enough of. She stated that it was the nectar of the gods. Josh also called my other brother Jared and had him come later with some more crab which she ate quite a bit of.

Between the three of us, we were able to get some food and fluids into her and on Saturday, she was back out of bed in her wheelchair. Then on Sunday we visited with her again and she looked like herself once again. She was alert, happy, and seemed to be doing well. I concluded that she was just sick of the food at the nursing home.

BUT…in my class they also talked about the “second-wind.” This is when the person seems to come back from near death and perk up and you feel that all is okay once again. Then suddenly they take a turn for the worse and pass on. I can only hope that this will not be the case, and that we have some more time with her but again, I realize that she has truly lived a long life on this earth and whatever is in God’s plan for her, we’ll be sad without her, but will look forward to seeing her whole once again.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The "Stupid" Police

As Makenna’s language has grown, and expanded and more so in understanding, we’ve found one word that was in Chris and my vocabulary that we threw out there often in many instances was “stupid.” Over the past six months or so we’ve tried to watch our language as to not use this “swear” word of sorts.

In our defense, we tended to use it towards inanimate objects such as the tv remote (me) or something someone did or said (Chris). We found that Makenna a while back used this word towards people. She wouldn’t say, “You’re stupid,” but would just say “stupid.” It was generally said to us as we were putting her on the naughty step or as we reprimanded her for some infraction. This is what brought about a change in what we say.

We do occasionally slip up and it comes blurting out of our mouths and the “stupid police” or in other words, Makenna comes to our rescue to inform us that we have just said the world stupid. I think she feels this is her opportunity to say the word without repercussion as she’s just informing us of our wrong doing.

In fact, back when we said we were no longer going to say the word, Makenna cleverly found that by saying, “mom we don’t say stupid right?” was her ticket to saying it without getting into trouble. The problem was that she would say that phrase repeatedly and I would say, “that’s right Makenna, we don’t say that word, now stop saying it!” She would reply, “But mom, I’m just saying we don’t say stupid, I’m not saying stupid.” This little round robin would go on a few times until I had to say with a firm voice to stop telling me we don’t say the word.

She’ll now even inform us if someone in a T.V. show or movie has broken the cardinal rule. So yesterday she was watching one of her after school T.V. programs and they said “STUPENDOUS,” with the “Stu” part drawn out (STuuuPendous). With a gasp Makenna turns to me and says it like they did, exaggerated, and felt that they had said stupid. I tried to explain to her that Stupendous was a word that was okay to say. I then heard, “stuuupendous, stuuuupendous,” and had to chuckle.

You can also see by the picture that we celebrated daddy’s birthday at Grandma and Grandpa Jones house. When his actual birthday came, we happened to have a snow day and it was very difficult for Makenna to wait all day for daddy to come home so she could open up his presents. At least the day off gave me time to wrap them but as she gave them to Chris, she told him what they were prior to her opening them. There went the surprise.

We then celebrated again this past Friday by trying out a new place to eat called Mad Moose,” which was pretty good. They have oven brick pizza, which Makenna had, and BBQ type foods. It’s in a place that we used to go to all the time growing up (in our 20’s) called the Carlton and then L.I.E. When it was the Carlton it was a dance club type place then when it was the L.I.E. it was more of a place to go to hear bands. Chris and I tried to look around and see what they’ve changed and what they’ve kept from our “youth.” We both said we’d go back again sometime.

Gunner & Maddie

Gunner & Maddie

Put this under one of those “What was I thinking?!??!!” categories.  Having puppies has made me appreciate the listening skills of my child.

Now reflecting about why I would torture myself with not just one but two puppies, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve always wanted a puppy growing up and never had one. There was one brief stint in my 20’s when my mom had a dog at the house but I don’t count that as it wasn’t really my responsibility to take care of it and it was more a beast than a dog. It would wrap itself around a tree and then as you came to rescue it from its tangled mess it would magically untangle and jump all over you with it’s muddy prints thus causing you to curse and change your clothes, as it would typically do this trick prior to just leaving for work.

When this opportunity presented itself, going to actually see them in all their cuteness was just overwhelming and I wanted one. Being that we are away from the house for a majority of the day during the week it only made sense to get two. A brother (Gunner as named by Chris,) and his sister (Maddie named by Makenna). Maddie is all black while Gunner has some brown to him.

The mother was a relatively medium dog so we assume they won’t get too big but we don’t know who the father is. We think they’re a mix between a poodle and a Yorkshire terrier and maybe a Schnauzer. They are cute….when they’re sleeping.

When they are out and about, they’ve found that chasing each other around, growling, barking and making each other in pain is what fun is. But even more fun than that is driving me crazy by peeing and pooping everywhere! I keep telling myself it’s a learning curve and that we have to just be diligent in getting them outside. But holy cow! When I came home on Sunday from Church, Chris had already had them out once. I then took them out and within the next hour, they peed and or pooped four more times in the house! I feel like giving friends a stock tip and telling them to invest in Bounty paper towels and Resolve Carpet Cleaner.

Luckily the poop is usually small and easy to pick up with a paper towel and doesn’t leave a mess on the carpet. And yes, we do have newspaper down but they seem to use that when they feel like it. Short of putting a “new carpet” of just newspaper everywhere, we just try and put it in the spots they tend to go to the most.

Plus, I’ve bought them various chew toys and different types of bones to keep them occupied but it seems like everything else but those things are much more fun to chew. I swear I should lose a ton of weight just chasing them around to get them to drop whatever it is they picked up to chew or eat and or to have them stop chewing something. I sit down for five to ten minutes, I hop up to see what it is they’re now chewing on and make rounds inspecting that they haven’t left a mess anywhere.

A lady at the check-out at the grocery store said the best five cents she ever wasted was letting her dogs have a returnable plastic water bottle. I tried it yesterday and she was right! Besides the loud noise it makes as they are attacking and chewing it, it’s a great way to know what they’re doing. When it goes quiet is when I worry.

Maddie is the vicious aggressor. She beats up on her brother all the time. She’s usually the dominant, obstinate female…figures. Gunner is usually the one you hear yipping in pain. He’s usually on the bottom while she’s on top pummeling him into submission. Although he does chase after her and gives it back at times. The cat, who wants nothing to do with either of them, has whipped them into submission and they tend to cower near her. They got into her space about twice and after the second time they see she means business. The only time they tend to get more forceful around her is when they smell her food and realize it’s on the floor for the taking. I’m not sure how bad it is to have them eat cat food but they seem to like it a whole lot more than their own food.

They also are quite the escape artists. We put up a baby gate that we used to have for Makenna in an area in our bathroom so that they have a little room during the day to get out but they either squeeze out through the gaps or they’ve figured out how to climb the thing. They’ve gotten out a few times but we now close our bathroom door so that they can only do damage within that area. Yesterday I came home to find “presents” in our closet that’s attached to the bathroom and has no door. I was not too happy. Today I remembered to give them a chew toy that you put treats into to hopefully keep them busy. We’ll see if we were successful in keeping them contained.

We’ve also taken them for one round of their shots (they had some prior to us getting them). I decided to pick a place close to our house and it was expensive. As Chris and I left the appointment, he was already adding up the cost we’ve spent on the dogs. I don’t want to think about it.

Makenna enjoys them but is confused as to why when she wants to play with them and goes to get them, they run away. Yet, other times when she doesn’t want anything to do with them all they want to do is play with her. She’s helped a few times to take them out but with this cold weather and all the snow and ice she’d rather stay inside. So would I. I knew I never wanted to get dogs in the winter but that’s just how this worked out. We had a couple of snow days last week where Makenna had off of school so I just took off of work thinking it would be better for the dogs too as we hadn’t even had them a week yet and I could get some sort of schedule down with them. I found out I’d rather be at work. I was exhausted by the end of both days. They are so much more work than just having a child. I now see why my parents never had dogs while we were growing up.

It wouldn’t be so bad if they’d just go outside and not in the house. When we take them out, they don’t always go and then it seems shortly after bringing them in, they decide, “oh yeah, I guess I do have to go.” A lot of times they just fight each other outside and go digging around for cat poop or sticks, grass, leaves, etc., to eat.

I think I’m starting to catch on though. I think having free access to food is what’s causing most of our problems. We’d put out their dog dishes during the day while we’re at home and that just fuels their bowels. So I decided last night that after I get home from work, depending on the night and what we have going on, that after our first initial outing to do business, then they can eat/drink and I take them back out in about 20 minutes., then no more food or water until it’s time to go to bed. I was nervous about this thinking that I’d have a mess in their pen in the morning but it seemed to work out well. They were anxious to get out as usual this morning and I got them outside in time. Then I fed them some more and about 30 minutes later they went back out. Then out once more before leaving for work. I do leave what food was left from the morning meal in their pen for the day. So if I get this down, the next trick is to get them to stop escaping their pen during the day.

I’ve been working on getting them to sit and they seem to be getting the picture but once I start to give one a treat for sitting, the other jumps on top of the other to get the treat. One thing I know for sure, is that as soon as Spring comes, dog obedience classes are in store for them…and me.