My Furry Boy

No, I don’t mean the giant, despite his natural leg sweaters, and fur vest. I mean my real fur boy, Darwin. Darwin has a very interesting relationship with my other little boys. When we first brought Oee home from the hospital Darwin wouldn’t look at me for about a month. He would reluctantly follow commands I gave him but he refused to look me in the eye. He knew I had just completely ruined the life he was so accustomed to, being treated like our baby! (Apparently our dog is a misogynist and has no understanding of the birds and the bees, since according to him, I am solely responsible/to blame for our children.)

Darwin’s relationship with Oee evolved as Oee got older. The pinnacle of his torment was when Oee learned to crawl and Darwin could no longer just move away from the pint-sized maul-machine. Things slowly got better from that point and now they even seem to play together. When we brought Wossy home, Darwin already knew the drill and was resigned to his fate. There was no anger with me, just pity for himself. And boy can he ever look pitiful!

Regardless of Darwin’s frustration with ME for having brought children into our home, he has always been incredibly gentle with, and protective of, both the boys. Oee can climb all over Darwin, put whole hands in his mouth, and even ride him like a horse. (While pounding his chest and saying baby gorilla. I know, we have a strange kid with an impressive and weird imagination) We can no longer take Darwin to the park with Oee because he freaks out as soon as Oee is on any playground equipment and is desperate to “rescue” Owen from the slide or teeter totter or god-forbid another child that wants to play with him.

Oee mounting Darwin for a baby gorilla horsey ride and Darwin watching over Wossy as he sleeps.

Oee mounting Darwin for a baby gorilla horsey ride and Darwin watching over Wossy as he sleeps.

It isn’t that surprising, since Darwin has always been protective of us and he can even sound like a guard dog, when he feels like it. He is so protective that he even barks when people come to the door now. (Great job. The dog takes up barking when I have 2 little ones whose naps I desperately rely on. Awesome.) I noticed this last night, when I ran over to my sick sister’s house at midnight and returned home 20 minutes later. Darwin heard me on the porch steps and tried to wake up all three sleeping boys. But Darwin’s protective instinct seems a bit confused, since he stops barking immediately when whoever is outside gets into the house even if he has no idea who it is. So, monkey bars and Jehovah’s Witnesses beware, Darwin is ready for you, but anyone who makes it in to our house, you’ll probably be fine!

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Don’t Mind Me While I Catch My Breath

To say parenting is nerve-wracking is the understatement of my entire life. For more than 2 years (and for the rest of our lives!) the single most important job the giant and I have had is keeping our boys safe. In spite of themselves. It is amazing that the human race has survived as long as we have, given that every baby and toddler seems hell-bent on maiming themselves. “Why sure, I should definitely dive head first down the front steps”, “Let me touch the stove-windex-whatever, while I explain to you not to touch it” “Must. Roll. Off. Couch.” or my personal favourite “I wonder what my hand would feel like inside that pitbull’s mouth”.

It is not surprising to me that there are a lot of moments of terror, which have always turned out to be ok, but leave my heart rate sky high and me scrambling to catch my breath. Even with my children both directly in front of me, any loud noise resembling something coming down a flight of stairs leaves me completely panicked.

I had these moments of near-disaster before becoming a mom, they are just a much more common occurance now. Recently, both the giant and I shared similar moments, and not even related to our children’s safety. It was however related to our kids. One night, having finally lulled all my boys to sleep, I was tucking myself into bed when my bare foot encountered something somewhat firm, clammy and the size of my hand, under the blankets. I managed to not scream outloud, but I jumped out of bed faster than ever before and threw the blankets up. The next morning, when picking out a tie the giant stepped on the same object (yes, I just kicked it out of bed and left it on the bedroom floor), which let out a wet gargling sound, followed by a high pitched squeak. Then the giant let out a terrified “What the…” followed by an out of breath, and relieved “Oh thank god”. Let me explain: Oee often brings lots of toys into the bath with him and he is never very particular about their intended use or water resistance. Sophie the Giraffe was taken into the bath and was never quite the same afterwards. And Oee has also started hiding things in our bed. Awesome.

Thankfully, my kids are fine and I will do my damdest to keep them that way. And we don’t have any vermin in the house, just waterlogged toys. But I will continue to need a moment to catch my breath on a regular basis.

Back in 2011, Oee playing with (pre-bath) Sophie and his beautiful auntie Jess.

Back in 2011, Oee playing with (pre-bath) Sophie and his beautiful auntie Jess.

Awesome or Ruined?!

A rare moment of Oee crying, the day Wossy was born.

A rare moment of Oee crying, the day Wossy was born.

Darwin rarely barks. In fact he is scared of barking. He will happily run wild with any big, ferocious dog. Bring on the dobermans, mountain dogs, great danes; the bigger the better. They will beat the snot out of eachother, playfully of course. But if a dog barks at him, he is terrified, thus teacup poodles are his nightmare! I always thought it is awesome that Darwin is scared of barking. He is a quiet dog and I like it that way. I assumed it was something bred into him. Now I am questioning if this is instead a neurosis that I have created.

Oee isn’t much of a crier and he never really has been. Again, I thought this was awesome. When Oee was still in the infant class, it was pretty routine for me to come in to pick him up from daycare to find all the other kids crying, and Oee to be looking around quiet, confused, and a wee bit nervous. It was adorable.

Now, Wossy is an even quieter baby than Oee. I can actually still count the number of times he has ever cried since he was born. And yet again… AWESOME! Or so I thought.

At the WONDERFUL family get together we attended over the weekend, Oee’s second cousin cried at nap time. Like a normal, healthy child. Oee was more than a little concerned. Now I am worried that the same fear of barking instilled in my dog has manifested in my children as a fear of crying. The question in my mind, is have I made my children even more awesome as a result, or have I possibly done some real psychological damage!? It’s not like it was intentional, and we never scold them for crying. It’s not like we trained our dog to be scared of barking either, but boy he is!

I think a lot of parenting (for me and the giant, at least) is about worrying how much you have damaged your kid. And sometimes it’s pretty nerve-racking. Until I take a pen or marker away from Oee. Then he is not afraid of crying at all. And I think we’re doing ok.