Category Archives: Raising Kids

“P” is for Moms are Pack Leaders

"P" is for Moms are PACK Leaders

 If you are a mom, you are the leader of your pack.

Once we become a mom, we instantly (and instinctively) become a light to someone’s path. We become the leader of our Pack. Our decisions from that moment on are no longer about our previous existence. They are about our future and our Littles future. It becomes about survival and safety and nurturing and motherhood and strength and we suddenly realize that all of those responsibilities lie in our own hands.

From day one we start showering them with love. We hear and answer their cries, even crying with them at times. I once cut my newborns thumb instead of his thumb nail and we both wailed together until his dad came home. A month ago, I had to crank my daughter’s jaw expander for the first time while she laid there mouth wide-open knowing how much it was going to hurt. They hurt = we hurt. Our love is endless and unconditional, meaning that we never want them to hurt. As they walk with us, we want to show them not only how to survive, but how to thrive.

They have our love and our respect. We let them know that we are there when they need us. We allow them to make their own choices, like picking out their own juice box flavor at the grocery store or by asking them to pick out a head of cauliflower. We let them know that their thoughts count, their decisions are smart, their school work is worthy and their talents are impressive. We show them again and again that they matter, they matter, they matter.

We teach them to respect us. We are the leader of the pack. Think ducklings, wolf pups and cats. We are momma’s that put our Littles in place when they literally get out of line. We do it to teach them. We do it for their safety. So that weeks and months and years into the future, they will still be safe and still be making wise choices. Our Littles need a strong leader who won’t falter when they do.

Many of us don’t spank our kids, but mommahood still requires a firm hand. When we put them in a time out, we aren’t protecting them from their bad decision today, we are protecting them from their bad decisions in 8, 10, and 12 years, and when they make the big mistakes, when they hurt our feelings, when they do wrong, we become more unearthed with a stronger desire to help them through it, to help them fix it and to help them right it. We want to tell them that’s not who they are, that they’re better than that, and we point them back in the right direction. Our love adheres to their little souls like glue.

My son had a little friend years ago when he was about four. His friend was into everything, while my son knew his friends' choices weren’t the same as his own. He’d watch his little friend get into trouble again and again. He’d watch the mom’s response to see what she would do. The mom would make lots of noise but no action followed, so the boy would always go past the boundaries. After weeks of playdates, my son decided that his friend was having more fun than he was so he started to act out with him. At the playground one day, the little boy ran up to the exit gate, smiling and watching his mom’s reaction as he opened it to go out. She yelled out at him, but he went anyway. It took one quick backward glance and my son was right behind him. In a matter of moments, I was at the gate gathering them back into the playground. With one event, my son found it wouldn’t work with me and his walk on the dark side ended. He didn’t get a bite from me, but he got a “no, you’re not allowed.”

There are lots of places for “soft” when you’re a mom; cuddles, laughter, tickles, snuggles, bedtime and fun. But we can’t go soft when it comes to discipline. When we ask something of our Littles, whether it be to get back in line, or to put something down or to listen better, and they don’t, we can’t go soft. If we go soft, they watch it happen. They notice that we let it go. So they decide in that moment that what we had asked of them must not have been that important. Each time after that when we bark at them to get back in line, they know that it’s not that important, and not because they disrespect us, but because we taught them that it wasn’t that important. They learn from us.

Moms are brave, strong, powerful, nurturing, loving and at times intense pack leaders, and it all comes from one place; love, unearthed by our vision of their future and the path that they will follow.

Survive, Littles, so that we can love you long and hard and one day stand back and watch you when you unearth your own love. Our job as pack leaders is hard but the love we carry in our hearts because of you, and the emotions that we feel when we watch your smile form at the corners of your mouth is proof that love is eternal and it’s our driving force. We walk in front of you because we light up the path. We force you to walk in the light over and over again so that you don’t ever have to walk in the dark.

So let us be your pack leader. We won’t do you wrong. We protect you from it. When we put you to sleep each night, whether you are 17 months or 17 years, we come back when you are sleeping. We stare at your innocence and drop our tears as we stare and count our blessings in your freckles and eyelashes. And then we turn away and close the door because we know in this darkness you are safe.

Make Better Choices Today 2016 ~               xo Katherine

Katherine is doing an ABC Blog Series for #BetterChoices2016 in order to make 2016 your best year yet. Follow her blog at www.backtobeingawoman.com or get the blogs as soon as they are sent out by signing up for her newsletters.

Find previous ABC Blogs here.

"A" is for accepting your present existence
"B" is for be you
"C" is for create
"D" is for do
"E" is for eating and exercising
"F" is for free to choose
"G" is for grit
"H" is for higher
"I" is for intelligence preservation
"J" is for just dance
"K" is for kick crap to the curb
"L" is for look for the lesson
"M" is for Making Memories Last
"A" - "M" to Better Choices
"N" is for Nurture
"O" is for Optimum

Get my Newsletter here to keep up with my news and weekly blogs. Share this with friends that could do 2016 with us.

Follow me on Facebook  and  Twitter
Books by Katherine A. Rayne on Amazon.com.
Lost in Thoughts Adult Coloring Book An Adult Coloring Book that interviews you with each illustration.
Back to Being a Woman (Without Changing the Man) Turn relationships into elationships.
#Living Simply #Living Elegantly Your Life Journal Get your head and home in sync.
There's a Light at the End of the Tunnel. You A compilation of my blogs that all women can relate to.
Visit my website at www.backtobeingawoman.com

“N” is for Nurture – simple and sweet

"N" is for Nurture

I remember as a kid walking into a room where my mom was and telling her that I was bored. Her normal response was that she could find something for me to do. Read: UNfun. Chores. Boring. It seemed to work…I’d go find something else to do to become unbored with.

I always had The Jungle Book record on my record player in my bedroom that got me out of a lot of bored moments when my three sisters were in three different places somewhere else. I’d put on my record and see how much cleaning I could do in my bedroom before the record ended. After my room was clean, (to my standards) I’d see how many somersaults I could do during the song. Surely I’d lay down on my bed after that and then my imagination would take over from there.

It was a really great tactic so I of course used the same one when my kids began coming to me out of boredom, but eventually I began to see a pattern and realized that when they came to me out of boredom, they weren’t really looking for something more to do. They were looking for a moment of nurturing. Or a few minutes. Or an hour. So I decided to start giving it to them right then and there.

As a preschool teacher, the age I teach needs lots of nurturing moments. They don’t have to last long…they don’t even have to be a huge sympathetic deposit of love. They just need to include some eye contact, a listening ear and a warm hug. The result is instant and they are renewed and happy to go off and play once again.

In this day of phones, I often catch myself with my head in my phone when my daughter’s having an “I need you” moment and I’m like, hold on…almost finished answering this (unimportant-can-wait-until-later) text. I look up and she’s moved passed the needy moment but I feel I’ve missed that important moment of connection that you get to have less and less as they get older and older.

You can’t do these moments at your convenience. Kids move on easily and lose interest in your advice or kind words quickly when they are 12, 13 and more. You have to be in the moment with them when it comes around. Phones kinda’ suck the life-moments out of us, but also out of our kids.

What color eyes does my mom have? I don’t know…she’s always looking down in her phone. Maybe if I call her I can ask her.

When someone says “he just wants attention,” about a child, they are right. So we should give it to him. His way of acting out or acting up is saying, “help me….I can’t settle myself on my own right now.”

Kids don’t know our stresses, nor should they, but they still have their own that will stress them out in the same way. We are their stress-reducers. Teaching them that a calm adult is always close by will give them more reasons to be calm when they aren’t close.

So what do we need in order to nurture ourselves? Slow down. Quiet the noise. Go where there’s no distractions (we all need a break even from our kids sometimes). Every time I get myself to the beach, no matter how often I go, I ask myself while I’m there why I don’t go more often. It is always so calming and rejuvenating. Making sure that we have that place to go, wherever it is, is a priority. It’s an escape. You know how men have “mancaves?” My sister recently came up with a "womancave" of her own, the first I'd ever heard of. Make sure you have a “womancave” somewhere, and use it often.

Reading over this post, it's kind of gloomy. I think it’s because I had one of those moments yesterday with my daughter at breakfast, and I can’t take it back. Hopefully writing about it will bring me out of my phone-fog quicker the next time it happens. 🙂

So how are you going to nurture yourself starting today, during today? What's going to make you feel good? Do that. I'm going to go take my shower finally, and then spend the afternoon with my girlie. <3

Make Better Choices Today 2016 ~               xo Katherine

Katherine is doing an ABC Blog Series for #BetterChoices2016 in order to make 2016 your best year yet. Follow her blog at www.backtobeingawoman.com or get the blogs as soon as they are sent out by signing up for her newsletters.

Find previous ABC Blogs here.

"A" is for accepting your present existence
"B" is for be you
"C" is for create
"D" is for do
"E" is for eating and exercising
"F" is for free to choose
"G" is for grit
"H" is for higher
"I" is for intelligence preservation
"J" is for just dance
"K" is for kick crap to the curb
"L" is for look for the lesson
"M" is for making memories last
Read the highlights of Blogs "A" thru "M"

Get my Newsletter here to keep up with my news and weekly blogs. Share this with friends that could do 2016 with us.

Follow me on Facebook  and  Twitter
Books by Katherine A. Rayne on Amazon.com.
Lost in Thoughts Adult Coloring Book An Adult Coloring Book that interviews you with each illustration.
Back to Being a Woman (Without Changing the Man) Turn relationships into elationships.
#Living Simply #Living Elegantly Your Life Journal Get your head and home in sync.
There's a Light at the End of the Tunnel. You A compilation of my blogs that all women can relate to.
Visit my website at www.backtobeingawoman.com

A Glimpse of Grandma – Hood

A glimpse of grandma - hood

I’ve spent a lot of my summer cleaning out cupboards, closets, drawers, boxes and bins. I’m in my use it or lose it frame of mind, which doesn’t last long so I’m taking advantage of it. I want to simplify my home and make it more comfortable and less cluttered. Over the years, I’ve always given my unwanted stuff to charities. I trade it all in for a blue slip of paper that I give to my accountant with my taxes every year. This year my sister and I decided to do a garage sale at her house and it puts a new slant on cleaning out. It makes it easier to get rid of things when you might be getting green paper instead of blue. It’s also a great incentive to a 12-year-old girl to clean out her stash, too. Imagine, someone might pay for something that uselessly takes up valuable space.

I hang on to things that are sentimental, and I can make ANYthing sentimental. I can even go through my daughter’s stuffed animals she’s had for years and tell you who got it for her and whether it was for her birthday or Christmas or her actual BIRTH day. I even remember a lot of the names she gave them over the years, even though I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast today.

I semi-admire the women I know that can put anything and everything in the trash. How simple and clean their life must be. But I’m patting myself on the back because I am getting rid of so much stuff. I was parking it all behind my couch as I sorted through it all one weekend at a time but now with summer here, it made the pile rise up over the back of the couch forcing me to move it to a storage space. How good it feels to get a pile of unwanted stuff out of my home!

Going through everything means that I have to be very careful with my #BSOS (Bright Shiny Object Syndrome). When I come across the things that I know I’ll be keeping, I start going through them anyway. I don’t need to go through them but the sentimental magnet is strong.

I’ve saved some clothing from when my son, now 22-years-old, was young. Cowboy boots, a mini-Miami Dolphins jersey, shirts that he wore often and his outfit for his first professional photo shoot at JC Penney’s. As I was reliving some sweet memories, I came upon a lightweight jacket he wore often. Living in Florida, you don’t need jackets very often so one jacket can last through two winters. Between pee-wee sports and the playground and parks and walks and the backyard and the beach, he wore the jacket all winter long.

I came upon the red and white pullover a few days ago and it was almost as if I was lifting my sweet four-year-old son out of the bin. He was standing next to me, voice and all. I could hear him call my name while he was holding a plastic bat, I could hear him yelling after the dog as they ran around pretend baseball bases in the backyard. I could see him coming down the slide only to run back around and climb the ladder again. And I could see him running to me with his arms wide open happy to see me come outside to play.

If I would have given that jacket away years ago when he grew out of it, I never would have been flooded with those sweet memories, even though they made me miss that tiny, big-hearted boy. Tears of joy and memories gushed out my eyes.

I hugged the jacket to my chest until the urge to cry left me. Now I was going to have to find the strength to tuck it away once more with the sweet memories, and of course I’m keeping it.

PosterKids

I have sisters and friends all around me becoming grandmothers. They love being grandmothers and they tell me there’s nothing like it. No one tries to explain what it’s like, nor can they find the words to. They only say, just you wait and see.

After discovering that jacket, I don’t think I have to wait anymore.

Grandma’s…is it the fact that you almost feel like you’re holding your own children again? The ones that you lived a lifetime with when they were young and innocent and created so many memories with? Is it because you forgot what it feels like to hold your child in your arms, the only human being that you can feel that heart string being pulled with? Does it remind you that the time flew by too quickly and that you would love to have those days back, even if only for a short time? Does it remind you of the countless books you read to them and the million Crayola moments and the painting and the puddles and the cozy weekends in bed together and teeny-tiny ticklish toes?

My son is still the same boy to me. Bright and confident and giving with a huge heart. He’s not worried much about what people think but is always concerned with how they feel. He’s always been that same person. I’ve always liked him as much as I love him.

But there’s times when I reminisce and realize that there’s a little person that I raised and spilled my love and heart into that eventually just disappeared from my life.

Not when he grew up and learned to drive off with his friends. Not when he moved away to college. Not even when he gets a place of his own. Just by growing up and turning into an adult. It’s magic - he grew up overnight. I enjoyed every phase of his life as he grew. I always felt like I smuggled as much as I could from each age to take with me into my later years. We had so many good times together. But looking back, you are losing a child. Not in the disastrous, gut-wrenching way that some mom’s lose their little ones. But in a quiet, slow-moving, sneak-up-on-you kind of way. My daughter is only 12 and we laugh and love and have fun together, but I watch out of the corners of my eyes as she grows towards that sneak-up-on-you direction, too.

One day you look up from the couch when your son walks in the house from his trip home from college for the summer, and you see a man standing in front of you. (OhmyGodI’veMadeAMan)

His little laughs and giggles that came so easily, his excitement at Christmas time, his sleepy little face that found me for a snuggle in the mornings as I lay quietly in bed, are all only memories now.

That little boy is gone. But maybe, when my kids have kids, he’ll be back. And I can hug him until the urge to cry dissipates. And then I’ll pull out the crayons and stories and raincoats and I'll love my grandchildren as much as I love my own and enjoy them while they are close.

Katherine A. Rayne misses those two tiny kids from years ago, but is creating new memories and experiences with her 12-year old and 22-year old hearts.
“Once you have a child, your heart is forever outside your body.” unknown (YES, way!)

Home-Feat-Home

PosterUnconditional

It’s true what they say; if your child behaves perfectly with others (teachers, babysitters, friends), and then acts out with you, it means that you are doing something right.

Your young one is smart enough to know what is expected of them in life when they are out in the world (way to go, mom and dad!), and they are smart enough to know that when they are home, they are in a safety zone with their parents. Enough so that they can act out without embarrassment or shame.

It’s called unconditional love. We will love our children no matter what they do, and they know this because we have made it clear to them.

They know that they are loved, even when they don’t behave, even when they temper tantrum. We continue to want more of their sweet hugs and wet kisses. Because we love them.

We are “home” to them. We are Safety. Even if there is judgment at home, it is not detrimental to their survival or to their safe haven. We are going to be there for them. They are smart enough to know this, too. They can be who they are at their worst.

After they give away every ounce of their best behavior to the world, and the world in turn makes them feel insignificant, less than worthy and incompetent, they know that when they get back home, they can release all of the negative feelings that they have experienced into the safe hidden crevices of home and of hugs and of unconditional acceptance. So they do.

That temper tantrum last night? That was from the previous days’ experience of not getting a fair turn on the playground. And that break down last night right before bed? That was because they were ostracized by a group of close friends for a simple embarrassing mistake.

But we don’t get to hear about the experiences. We only get to feel them. Their frustrations come barreling at us like a James-and-the-Giant-Peach-rhino-nightmare. They don’t hold anything back. They let it all go until the steam and the pressure have been released into the air around us.

We need to be ready to stand to the side so that the heat doesn't scald us, but we need to keep our hand on their shoulder to steady them. To remind them that we’ll hold them up if they need us to while they spew the bitterness of the world onto our lap.

We don’t even need to know what problems they had. We just need to recognize that they had a problem that needs to be released, and allow them the space and the time to do so.

When I get asked for advice about a child’s behavior, I'll often say that everything is just a phase and it will pass. And that is often true.

But this behavior children have of acting out at home never goes away. We hold onto it throughout adulthood. We let loose on our loved ones.

We come home and guess who gets our bad mood? Our frustrations are served up on a platter to those who are home when we arrive. We get anxious and angry with the ones who are in front of us when we are running late. They feel our frustrations of life. Meanwhile, the people that we work with and play with and visit with see our softer, better behaved side. We are polite and politically correct. We don’t trust them completely. Not like our home bodies.

Our home bodies will hopefully love us and our faults and mood distortions and anxieties and short tempers unconditionally. When our angst settles, they will know it and they will come up and give us that hug that the world never can.

We can melt and falter and tear up, and they will glue us back together with only a few words that will comfort us and put us back on track to the person that we were minutes before. We need our 90 seconds of suffering released and we need to be accepted while we do it.

The next time that you feel the anxiety from your little or big loved one, whether they are two or seventy-two, comfort them through it. Be strong for them when they can’t be.

If temper tantrums happens at your house, you are safety. You are trusted. And you are unconditional.

Live unconditionally~   Love, Katherine    PosterLoveStories

Unguard

Unguard             September 15, 2014

There’s only one other person in your world that loves your children as much as you do. In the heat of divorcing them, it’s hard for us to remember that one simple thought.

My ex picked my daughter up for breakfast one recent Sunday morning and I asked him if I could come along. I was hungry and dressed.

There’s a restaurant that we both frequent with her, individually. Never together. It seems to be our favorite place to have a weekend breakfast, although between the three of us we've never discussed it. The servers all know my daughters’ order by heart; Toast on the light side, crispy bacon, fruit and a side of cream cheese, with water.

We slid into a booth, me facing them, an image I don’t see very often. Her eyes on her iphone and her ears in our conversation. We had one light-hearted conversation after another with each other, and

yes, your main conversation topic is and always will be about your kids, whether it’s date night as husband and wife, or breakfast as exes.

A discussion about our absent 21 year-old son came up. My ex was already smiling huge about a seven year-old boy inside of a fourteen-year-old memory as he brought it back to life. It was one that I’d never heard. As he told it, his eyes filled with memory and liquid joy. It made his tight lips turn upward and his soft heart sit on his sleeve all wet and soggy. I took in the image innocently, happy to be on the receiving end. I tried to imagine what other memories might be ready to surface if I asked.

A drawback to divorce is that you don’t have that person in your life anymore to reminisce about your shared treasures.

It doesn't matter who comes into either of your lives. They won’t feel the exact same way towards your children as you or your ex do.

In the beginning, divorce brings on foreign emotions;

You've felt sadness before, but not quite like in your divorce. You've felt anger before, but never how it feels through your divorce. You've felt frustration before, but never like in a divorce.

We had our ups and downs, but I still think we had a peaceful divorce compared to most. I attribute it to how we handled ourselves, not how we handled the divorce. It’s easy to become defensive. SO easy. But we stayed on tract with who we were most days, and worried less about what the other was doing. We both had our son and daughters’ best interest at heart, and that goes a bountiful long way in order to be able to deal and then to heal. My kids and I also stayed at our local beach house for the duration of the divorce.

I HIGHLY recommend a beach house (and wine and sunsets and walks on the beach and a lanai that is screened-in because mosquitoes suck, literally) for your divorce. It enabled me to have peaceful memories from some unpeaceful times. I was on “vacation.”

I don’t know if he ever hated me, but I never had a moment where I hated him (that I can remember). And that helped when it was time to become friends again. Not the easy innocent friendship that we had when we first met and began dating. Not the committed friendship that we had while we were married.

But a new friendship that makes everything bearable when you see each other all the time for the rest of your lives because you have children together.

It’s so much easier if you stay true to you, while going through the throes of divorce because

at some point, you want to be able to look them in the eye again and feel okay about the past.

And it’s okay to still be a support to your ex if the opportunity arises. You've shared a life together and cared about one another to great lengths in the past. What's one more time. And don’t stand guard thinking your children need protection from their fathers’ love. Allowing his love to flow to your children freely without standing in the way of it will only benefit your children. Step to the side and let them love them in the way that only they can. Your children deserve it. And you won’t have to do it alone.

 

Katherine A. Rayne is on your side! She is an author, freelance writer for local and online magazines, blogger, preschool teacher of nine genuine hearts and a mom to two delights. Her book, Back To Being A Woman (Without Changing The Man) on Amazon.com, is her first published non-fiction. It's a secret weapon to help women fix relationships, including the relationship we have with ourselves. She has been blogging since January, 2014, but has been writing since childhood after discovering the magical rhythms of Dr. Seuss. She founded the Facebook Community www.Facebook.com/BackToBeingAWoman and posts #DailyChallenges for women on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/BeingAWoman. Her blog resides on her website geared towards empowering women to be their best selves: www.BackToBeingAWoman.com. She began an "I Did It" campaign on her personal website at www.KatherineARayne.com to help women take on and take over their dreams and goals. She utilizes her years and experiences to inspire and encourage women to move forward in their beautiful life, and to leave worry behind them in the dust! You can contact her at Katherine@KatherineARayne.com and sign-up here for her Sunday Newsletter!

 

“It’s Time”

“It’s Time”

My Daughter’s Smile Told Me It Was Time

by Katherine A. Rayne

It keeps happening. This dog of mine. I cleaned up diarrhea three times yesterday and twice today. He knows to run and hide. I love this dog. But.

He came about in a destructive way. My way of lashing out I THINK, but I’m not sure.  Because I’m not a lasher-outer.  Ten years ago, I was finished with dogs as far as I knew. My little sweet Yorkshire/Chihuahua mix, Beau, lived for 17 years, thank you, God. He was my lovey little guy. He was my baby before I had babies. He was my dependence during my independence of living on my own. My mom decided (thankfully) that it would be wonderful for me to have a puppy in my new home. I was the last of four daughters to move out and I think she wanted to make sure I wasn't lonely. I didn't even say the word and she was out looking. She found Beau for me at the Humane Society. She sold me on him before I even saw him. And OMG she was so right. Not necessarily the cutest little puppy ever (by no means ugly), but his personality shined so bright. How on earth was he the last taken of a litter of four? They must have all had the light. He was happy whether I picked him or not. He was playing with some un-toy in his cage, looking me over and smiling, then back to his un-toy. He had me at play. My little guy.

Over the years, I watched as friends’ dogs passed away and were put to sleep. Putting to sleep, I always said, I could never do that. When he goes, he goes on his own. I can’t make the choice for him. Until that day 17 years later. Until he could no longer eat because of the tumor on the roof of his mouth. The sadness in his eyes that showed more than the cataracts. The hunger over the food that he wanted but gave him pain instead of satiation. It was after 10:00 pm and we came home, my family of four, after a late night of visiting, and we saw it in his eyes. Time. It was time. He couldn't move. We took him to the emergency animal clinic, not because we decided to, but because no one could speak and we knew we had to do something.  The four of us drove silently towards the veterinarian. I was holding his quiet weak body but don’t remember the ride.

Months before, we’d learned that he had cancer and his doctor had told us that we should have mercy by not putting his 17-year old blind, deaf, arthritic body through chemo and surgery. Now there at the clinic, through my tight lips and wet eyes I could only say, “It’s time,” to the stranger who kindly looked us over to decide if he should argue it or not, not knowing my dogs’ history. My son, quiet, my daughter, too young to know, their dad holding her while I snuggled Beau taking a needle. He left a small hollow in my heart with his last breath. It wasn't easy, but it felt right.

At 17 years old, he had his weaknesses. Cleaning up after him was not unusual, but until the end he always avoided carpets, the sweet little guy. So thinking about another dog was not on my mind. He was irreplaceable, and I wasn't up for more cleaning up of a potty-training new puppy, either.

Fast forward almost two years later. Say “I” if you have ever bought a dog at the pet store at the mall because heeeee’s sooooo cuuuuute! I wasn't planning to. I always took my son to a hair salon at the mall to get his hair cut. While he was having that done, I’d take my 3-year old to look at the puppies. There he was each time we went. Cute. Sweet. Pretty. Addictive. Every time we were at the mall, we’d visit the pet store and there he would be. Less expensive than the last time. Still prancing around with his head high no matter how long he’d been there.

It began when I Googled “Papillion.” I think I was Googling for reasons not to consider him becoming a family member, but I couldn't find any. My son was by now ALSO in love with him. He wanted him more than anyone else, but the answer was still no. Then one visit I felt my daughter’s smitten smile spread to me as she gently played with him. I realized that if I didn't get a dog, my little girl would not know having one.

PosterMuffin

I brought him home while their dad was out of the country. No notice whatsoever. Not even to myself. I did it before I chickened out. Of course he wanted me to return the little guy. Can you return dogs? I have never tried before OR then. He was adamant, but I had a lot of ammunition in my corner to use, to remind him of alllllll the big decisions he’d made without me. I also reminded him that he was the one that put a doggy shower in when building his dream house when we no longer had a dog. He’d planted the seed. It grew.

This Papillion, Muffin. He’s no Beau. But he’s awfully sweet and cute and lovable and pretty. Even I call him a she. He is a yappy dog. He’s my doorbell echo. Everyone outside is there to kill us, in his little overprotective mind. I don’t tolerate it well even after eight years, but hopefully my neighbors do. He took forever and a day to become potty-trained, which I found to be my weakest area of tolerance. He swallowed my daughter’s first lost tooth. I did some excavating later that day outside to retrieve it. (It was her first tooth!) He pooped ON my kitchen table after jumping up there and being stuck the whole day while I was out. Disgusting and hard to divulge. He’s peed on throw pillows on purpose. He’s even pooped on my BED.

This little guy sleeps with me in my bed most nights. As much as he’d love to be king there, I won’t allow it. I have to remind him that he’s just a dog. He states his disapproval with a loud sigh from his tiny six-pound body.  One recent morning, I discovered poop in my shower. I guess he’s picking up Beau’s habit of avoiding carpets. I always talk about finding silver linings, but it’s hard to when you find poop in your shower.

I get so mad. But then I look into those eyes. Innocence intensified. Soul-saturation. Apologetically sad. And when I pick him up, he tucks his head under my chin and reminds me that he’s just a dog. Lovable, poetically cute, and pretty. And my daughter knows that love. There are the nights when he sleeps at her feet. Using his growls to keep her safe and separated from the night sounds.  It makes it easier to forgive finding poop there.

 

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