Wednesday, May 8, 2013

How to Live with a Three-Year-Old Child and a Three-Month-Old Puppy At the Same Time

Wake up to the dulcet tones of your child screeching from her bedroom that it’s “UP TIME!!!!” and she needs to pee in the potty “right now, Right Now, RIGHT NOW!!!”  Look at the clock.  Look again because it can’t be only 5:57am.  It can’t.  Sigh.  Get out of bed and shuffle to your child’s room while she switches from screeching to singing an unrecognizable song very, very loudly and out of tune.

Open the door and get hit full force in the chest by the child, who has, joyfully, launched herself off her bed and at you in some misguided tackle-hug that you were not at all prepared for.  Good thing you have quick reflexes.  And who needs to breathe, really?

Take the child to the potty down the hall.  Listen to her talk incessantly about nothing that makes sense.  Or, maybe it does make sense to someone who got to sleep past 5:57am.  Make noises that you think might seem positive and responsive.  Wish that your husband did not need to leave for work so damned early.  Try not to doze off while sitting on the edge of the tub listening to your child pee and then exclaim, “That’s a lot of pee!”  Remind the child to wipe.  Answer her blank stare by ripping off a strip of toilet paper, wadding it up, and handing it to her.  Remind the child to wipe again.  Answer her blank stare by enunciating every word like you are an elocution teacher: “You. Need. To. Wipe.”

After the child finally wipes, take her back to her room.  Where she starts jumping on her bed and talking about which panties she wants to wear that day.  Attempt to convince the child that it’s not actually up time, yet.  When the child points out that the sun is already shining, curse daylight savings time.  Offer the child a deal: she can lie down with Mommy in Mommy’s bed!  Regret that deal almost immediately when the child won’t lie down and, instead, wants to jump on Mommy’s bed.  Ask her what about “lie down” did she not understand. 

Don’t get an answer because you can hear the puppy downstairs whining in her crate.  Know that, if you don’t get up right now and get that puppy outside, you will be cleaning dog shit out of the crate before 7am.  No one wants that.

Take the child downstairs.  Get the puppy out of her crate.  Take the puppy out into the backyard.  Where you discover that it rained overnight and the yard is muddy and it is unseasonably cold.  Praise the dog like a demented cheerleader for peeing in the yard.  Notice that the child is slowly opening up the back door and stepping out onto the deck, barefoot and in only a nightgown.  Have the following conversation:

You: No!  No!  Get back inside!
The Child: Why?
You: Because you don’t have shoes on, and…
The Child: (interrupting) I’ll go put my shoes on!
You: NO!  Just go back inside!
The Child: (whining) Why?
You: Because it’s too cold for you to be out here.  I will come back inside in just a minute…. (to the puppy, who has just squatted) Good girl!  Goooood girrlll!!!!
The Child:  What did she do??
You:  She pooped.
The Child: (starting to walk down the stairs to the yard) Can I see?
The Child: (starting to cry) Why?
You:  JUST GO!!!

Now that you feel like Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest and the puppy has finished her business, attempt to get the puppy to come inside.  The puppy, who has not yet learned to come when you call, will not follow directions.  Start walking towards the puppy so that you can pick the puppy up and carry her in the house.  The puppy will think this is a game.  A game called Keep Away From The Human.  Chase the puppy across the yard and around some trees.  Get really close to the puppy only to have her hurl herself in the other direction and run like a madman to the other side of the yard.  Chase the puppy some more.  Fail.  Scream at the puppy to COME HERE!!!  Realize that, considering the voice you just used, the last thing the puppy will want to do is come anywhere near you.  Try talking in a high-pitched, uber-happy sounding voice.  Inwardly rejoice as the puppy starts to come closer to you.  Reach out to grab the puppy, who, scoots three feet away, continuing her ridiculous game.  Seethe with anger.  Want to scream.  Stop yourself.  Instead, suddenly sprint directly at the puppy and throw yourself in her direction in an attempt to tackle her, landing front-first in the mud, in your nightgown, grasping one little puppy paw in your hot little hand.

Force yourself to not violently shake the puppy while you carry her back into the house.  It is a good thing she is so cute.

While you get cleaned up (with a washcloth in the kitchen sink instead of the shower you so desperately would like), fend off the breakfast requests of the child.  Advise her that, even if you had cupcakes in the house, she couldn’t have them for breakfast.  Ever.  Same for popsicles.  And cookies.  And ice cream milk (which is what she calls milkshakes).  Begin making her fifth choice, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 

Drop the spreader full of peanut butter on the floor when you are interrupted mid-sandwich-creation by your child’s unholy scream.  Ask what’s wrong while racing from the kitchen to the family room where your child was, moments ago, happily playing with her My Little Pony toys.  Scan the scene while your child shrieks “SHE TOOK MY PONYYYYYYYY!!!!!” and points at the puppy who does, indeed, have a pony in her mouth.  Try to grab the pony from the puppy.  Fail as the puppy renews her game of Keep Away From The Human.  Fail repeatedly while chasing the puppy around the room as your child howls like the end of the world is nigh.  Try to get your child to help you trap the puppy between the couch and the coffee table.  Fail. 

Finally, scare the puppy into dropping the toy by yelling like a banshee.  Scare your child as well.  Spend fifteen minutes calming your child down while the puppy chews on a rawhide you have given her.

Go back to making breakfast for your child.  Whereupon, the puppy will decide she needs to play with the child.  Which means nipping at the child’s feet and hands.  Repeatedly.  Pause in your breakfast-making to stop the puppy from nipping the child.  Yell “NO!” loudly and repeatedly.  To no avail.  Clap loudly at the puppy while yelling “NO!”  Also to no avail.  The child is now running across the room, holding her hands above her head and screaming “SHE’S TRYING TO BITE ME!  SHE’S TRYING TO BITE ME!” which makes the puppy think she has succeeded in her game and she should play harder.  Haul your child up onto the couch, where she stands, still holding her hands above her head, still screaming, while the puppy tries and fails to jump onto the couch to continue the game. 

Grab at the puppy, who runs away again.  Take two steps toward the puppy, who starts running around the room at full speed, careening around tables and chairs and into the kitchen and back.  Stand there, dumbfounded, and watch this for two and a half minutes until the puppy stops, in front of the couch, and tries to jump up to nip at the child.  This time, actually catch the puppy and put her in her crate and close the door and sit down in the nearest chair, exhausted.  Sit there for exactly one and a half seconds before your child says she “has to pee has to pee has to pee.” 

Take her to the bathroom.  Repeat the earlier conversation about wiping. 

Look at the clock.  It’s only 7:22am.

Wonder where it all went wrong.

Decide that a program of tiring out the puppy (and, possibly, the child) must be undertaken.  Immediately.  Devise an exercise program which consists of taking the puppy on two long walks a day, rain or shine (lately, mostly rain), sometimes with the child, sometimes (when she’s at school or your husband is home) without.  Resign yourself to giving up what little me-time you had to do this. 

When you tell people you have started an exercise program, stop them before they congratulate you on your new wellness plan or your healthy life choices. 

Explain to them that you have no wellness plan and the exercise isn’t a choice.

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