Monthly Archives: September 2008

When Your Pet is a Genius

Why write about your kids when your pet provides such exciting fodder for posts?

As I believe I’ve mentioned, we are thick in the midst of house training Tessie, our gorgeous Cockapoo puppy. I’ve read lots of books and articles on this, and tomorrow we are even attending a free “Potty Training” seminar at our local Petsmart, which should be interesting.

One (or possibly more – it’s hard to keep them straight now) of the things I read about house training suggested hanging some bells by the door you use to take your dog out to “go”, and give the bells a little ring every time you take them out. Well, a friend sent me some bells, which arrived on Saturday. SInce then I’ve been faithfully giving a little jingle every time we head outside. I did have to raise them up on the second day because she was playing with them. But she’s left them alone since.

Until last night. When she rang the bells after we’d eaten dinner. She even had to reach up a bit to do it. So I let her out. And lo, she peed!

Today she has rung those bells on three separate occasions – the first time she headed out and pooped, and the next two times she peed! Isnt she a genius?? And can you believe you are reading a post about dog shit?

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Who’s Training Who?

Today marks the one week anniversary with our new puppy, Tessie.

Have I mentioned how utterly adorable she is? And how sweet? Well she is both, in spades. We just love her.

Our biggest challenges right now are:

  • House training
  • Chewing
  • House training
  • Chewing
  • House training

And did I mention house training?

I am working from home for two weeks to facilitate the house training. I can already tell that is way too long for me, and way too short for her. I am starting to feel a little cabin fever-ish with being home all the time! Next week I have a conference to attend for work one morning, so I will be gone for half the day then….should be interesting.

At 10.5 weeks old now, the books say Tessie should be able to go roughly 2-2.5 hours between pee breaks. And yet, we probably head outside every hour, and sometimes more often. I have learned her signal as to when she’s about to go, and usually manage to divert her outside. But of course there have been accidents, usually when I am not paying attention (only once right in front of me). I think I’m the one being trained here…

We also started a Puppy Kindergarten class this week which is the first time I’ve ever attended formal training with a dog. I am very committed to doing whatever possible to have the most pleasant, well-behaved dog I can.

The other dirty little secret I have is that as much as she has brought into our home, I’m feeling very stressed out, and I’m taking that stress out on my children, in sometimes unfair ways. I need to be more conscious of that. And stop it!

Never Discuss This at a Dinner Party

Yep, they say there are 3 topics you should never discuss at a dinner party – sex, religion and politics. Me? I think that’s old school, since I’ve been at some dinner parties with very interesting discussions on those topics, especially if everyone stays respectful. I guess sometimes that’s a big if though.

I saw this test over at Rambling Mom’s site, and since I always thought of myself as a “Liberal Republican” or a “Conservative Democrat”, I was very interested to see what the quiz would reveal about my political leanings. Imagine my surprise:

You are a
Social Liberal
(68% permissive)

and an…

Economic Liberal
(35% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Democrat

Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also : The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

If Loving You is Wrong, I Don’t Want to be Right

All moms need something to help them keep their sanity. For some it might be a great purse, a cool kitchen gadget or their daily cup of coffee. Hmm, let’s see, I don’t own a purse, barely cook (although I do swear by good knives), and can’t stand the taste of coffee (the smell? that’s another story! yum!).

As for me, I couldn’t live without my DVR. I could be a walking commercial for Tivo, or any cable service offering. I love it so much I want to sing from the rooftops! How do I love my DVR? Let me count the ways:

  1. I can record pre-approved shows for the kids to watch when we’re actually home (since I have not found any appropriate shows for them that air between 5-8 pm)
  2. I can record MY shows, and watch them on MY schedule. This relieves all the pressure of getting the kids down before that 8:00 show starts. If something happens and it’s 8:07 before I come downstairs, no problem! That recording is already started and waiting on me! Try doing THAT with a VCR, when you’d have to wait for the whole show to finish recording, then rewind, to watch. (and hope you didn’t have another show scheduled to be recorded after that!)
  3. And I might even wait till 8:20 or so, so I can zip through the commercials, and still end the show on time!
  4. With my dual tuner, I can even record two shows at once! Or record one show, but watch something else live on another channel. Priceless, I tell you!
  5. I find I’m rarely watching anything live these days, except for sporting events. But if I miss a play, or need to answer the phone, or use the facilities, or get a snack, I can pause. Pause live TV! So awesome!

I could go on, but I don’t want to make all my other appliances jealous. Sure, I could use my scant evening alone time to do something more productive like clean my house, plan meals for the week or read. And some evenings I even do some of those things, for a little while. But I would not want to live without that DVR, which has been life changing for me.

What about you? What can’t you live without?

This post was inspired by Parent Bloggers Network and Yoplait Kids, the makers of that yummy yogurt that kids just love (Belle in particular is a big yogurt fan!) and it has 25% less sugar than other kid yogurts. Less sugar in my kids? I can live with that!

When Spelling is Everything

Krystal is in second grade. As in first grade, she has a spelling test every Friday. They get a list of words on Monday, along with other homework. The other homework is due back on Thursday, and the spelling test is Friday morning. I like that we have the week to manage the work. It’s easy enough that if we have a lot of time one night it can all be done then, but we can spread it out too. Though I suppose that might mean it’s not quite challenging enough. But on with my story!

On Wednesday night I gave Krystal a practice spelling test with her list of 18 words (nearly double the first grade list!). She missed 4 words, and had a total meltdown over it. She wanted to retake the whole test then, but I could see how tired she was (pretty good detective work, eh?) and suggested we do it the next night. Oh no, she wanted a “smiley 100 percent” now! Well, not tonight.

Thursday morning she spelled the words orally as we got ready for the day, and again this morning. I knew she could spell them all, I knew she was “ready” (one of the words), but there were also a few I knew could trip her up if she went too fast or didn’t stop to think.

When I picked her up at school, the first thing I asked her was about that test. She claimed she hadn’t looked at it yet, but pulled it out for me to look. It was marked 17 out of 18 correct, but the missed word, everything, was spelled correctly. Except, it looked funny to me. The “er” had an erasure underneath, and was written with a lighter hand (or pencil). I asked her about it and here’s our conversation:

K: You’re allowed to erase during the test, everyone does.

Me: Well of course they do, honey. That’s fine. But this word is spelled correctly on this paper, and yet your teacher marked it wrong. Did you change it after she handed it back?

K: No.

Me: Well, it looks funny. See these letters?

K: It looks funny?

And then the landscape of her face changed, and she admitted that she did change it after she got it back.

I asked her why she changed it, but I waited till later. At first she thought I was asking because I was going to tell her teacher, but when I assured her I would not, she said it was because she knew how to spell the word and she wanted it right on her test.

Maybe so. But I have to say she was really quite sincere with her story and the only reason I kept questioning it was the physical evidence didn’t match. She will totally have the ability to snow me if I have no information to refute what she says. I am in trouble.

She’s Home!

Welcome to our crazy, chaotic little family, Tessie!

Yes, that would be her sleeping on my feet last night! And we got her yesterday, rather than today, since I decided I needed someone to drive me so I could have her sit in my lap on the way home, and the only person I could find to do it could only do it yesterday. I didn’t tell the girls about the change in plans, so they were extra thrilled when I showed up to pick them up last night with a puppy in my arms!

Some challenges:

  • I haven’t actually had a puppy since I was a child – my dogs as an adult were all over a year when they came to me
  • I’ve never crate trained a dog (when I first heard about it around 10 years ago I was appalled – I’ve learned to see the benefits over the years however)
  • My kids are way too excited to really participate in the training process, meaning things are a bit stressful for me

Some Delights

  • She is freaking adorable!
  • She is so sweet!
  • She loves people! Especially me!

So far I have to say parenting a new puppy is very similar to a child, which has its plusses and minuses for me. Anyway, stay tuned as I’m sure you’ll be hearing lots more about her in the future!

Back to the Dog

So, I said I’d come back and tell the back story on the name drama of our new puppy.

Krystal named a stuffed animal Boston about a year ago, and I commented that I thought it was a great name for a pet. She initially wanted to name our chinchilla Boston, but we ended up going with Joey, which I think fits him better.

When we started thinking about puppy names, I began a list of names. And then I read “The Art of Raising a Puppy” by the Monks of New Skete in which they talk about choosing a name. They suggest a one or two syllable name ending in a long vowel sound (e.g. Nemo, Cookie), or a short a sound (e.g. Anka, Olga). I realized our list needed to be revised, so I went back to the drawing board and came away with about 10 names each for boy or girl pups.

So when we arrived at the house to look at the puppies on Sunday, Krystal and Belle wanted to know their names. The owner explained they really weren’t named, “except for these two”. Those two were named Matt and Pip. Krystal identified Pip as her favorite even in the sleeping pile, and as it turns out, that is the one we are getting. I had brought my list of names with us, but Krystal had ears for Pip only. I was sure I was going to see my name choices disappear.

So we got home and I read through all the names again, and it’s funny how once I gave over some control to the girls that it clarified my favorites. And I was pleased when it was a fairly easy selection to choose Tessie.

Now, I’ve made no secret of my love for the Boston Red Sox, and as it turns out, Tessie has a Boston connection. I showed this video to the girls after we chose the name, and now they love the name, and the song.