Eyes, in the Back of My Head

I look out my family room window and there is Little Man, happily tromping on the automatic pool cover, waves gently bobbing him up and down. My first reaction was to laugh to myself at the cuteness of the moment; then the ‘Mom’ instinct kicked in, I opened the window and yelled…”GET. OFF.!!” Little Man freezes in his tracks (rising and falling, rising and falling like a boat on the ocean), looks about, curious as to where that mysterious stern voice is emanating from, which is destroying his joyful play. His bubble of fun was burst. He did get off the pool, and he never did locate me in the side window. His apparent bewilderment and awe of being ‘watched’ reminded me of an episode raising my daughters.

While my girls were growing up I counseled them to behave, even when mom wasn’t looking because I had eyes in the back of my head. No, I didn’t creep them out. And no, they didn’t think I truly had eyes in the back of my head, (Although I suspect the ‘kind’ offer to brush my hair may have had the ulterior motive of verifying the validity of my words) but they did know that mom would find out any mischievous acts they chose to commit.

Staring out at Ruger, I inwardly giggle as I remember one lesson-learning instance, when leaving for school my eldest daughter asked if she could purchase a sucker from student council at school that day. I told her no, she had a treat in her lunch, she did not need to purchase a lollipop. Besides, she was late for the bus, and she had no money nor the time to get it. Later in the day, while I was volunteering in the school (unbeknownst to offspring #1), one of the other mothers happened to mention the ‘special occasion’ lollipops and informed me that my beloved child had borrowed the needed currency from her daughter to purchase afore mentioned confection. She assured me it was perfectly alright by her, but she wanted to be sure I was alright with it. I-Was-Not. I thanked her and assured her my daughter would be returning the borrowed funds in the morning. I wrapped up my volunteering and headed home to await the bus.

Not much later I watched, from the front bay window, as the dynamic duo hop off the bus and hurried home. Once coats were hung, backpacks emptied and afternoon snack served, I sat my angels down and inquired about their day. I allowed ample opportunity for a confession from my spirited eldest and when none appeared to be forthcoming, I inquired directly,

‘How was the sucker?’

That precious little cherub turned the most lovely shade of crimson in the cheeks, eyes widened, jaw dropping as she asked

‘How did you find out?’.

I answered: ‘I told you, I have eyes in the back of my head’.

Fortunately for mama-bear, the lesson was a double whammy since Pee Wee was sitting right next to her squirming sister, absorbing all. I explained that while I didn’t literally have eyes resting in the back of my skull, we did live in a community that cared for all the children. I counseled them that there was nearly nothing they could do that I could not find out about, and that they needed to act accordingly. And yes, the cost of that lollipop was coming out of her piggy bank.

Watching my puppy straddle the waves created by his antics, I am reminded that parenting is much like an ocean. We ride the waves. We have peaks, we have valleys. And in the end, we hope that we sail that ship safely home to harbor as we deliver our precious cargo to those unknown lands we call, the world. I’ve had my share of valleys, but that was a ‘peak’ moment of motherhood. And, how much of a blessing is it that I have been gifted with the opportunity and responsibility of  raising this incorrigible, spunky, energetic <not so> little bundle of fur, who had rekindled those rare moments of parental success?

Now, if I can just work my mama-magic on Little Man enough to convince his ‘box full of rocks’ noggin that I still have those Eyes, on the Back of My Head, he might turn out half as good as my girls. Then again, that blue roller coaster in the backyard is like the Siren…..calling.

Sigh.


Sleep-less

You’d think an empty nester would have the luxury of sleeping, all through the night. 

No children out and about to worry over, no children’s friends tromping through the house as they come and go. And it’s fall, which means short days, long nights. The temperature lowers, perfect for snuggling under the covers, all toasty warm, with the window cracked so the fresh, crisp, chilly air can filter in. It’s the time of year where one is busy, winterizing both inside and out, ending the day with a body and mind ready to drift off to slumber land. 

But, I have a puppy. And a puppy gets in to things a puppy does, eating things a puppy shouldn’t. And then the puppy tummy lets everyone know it’s not happy. 

And so, for the past couple of nights, I am up repeatedly letting puppy out to do puppy’s ‘business’. 

I’m not complaining mind you, at least ‘Little Man’ is now old enough to rouse me from my slumber, instead of making a mess. It convinces me, God wisely gives infants to young parents, who’s youthful bodies can more easily handle the rigors of sleep deprivation. That said, here I am up every couple of hours, hurrying the puppy down the stairs and out the door, standing bare foot on cold hardwood in my chilly kitchen, waiting for little Mister to do his business. Gratefully, he returns and is as anxious to get back to his bed as I am. I crawl into the warmth of my bed, he settles down, and all is good until the next tummy grumbling. 

Infancy passes all to quickly and it feels like it was just an eye-blink ago that I was awaken in the dead of night by the cry of my baby daughter, and blurry eyed stumbled to her room to nurse my precious little bundle in the wee hours of the morning. Now it’s a much older version of that self, repeating the motions with much less grace and not nearly as much resilience. But, just as child infancy passes, this will too. Until my girls have children of their own and ‘Nanna’ can watch them, I choose to look at this inconvenience as a blessing. I could be grumpy, resentful at the intrusion of my beauty rest, but I choose to be thankful for the refresher of wonderful memories. 

So here I sit, sleepily, at my kitchen table, a large steaming cup of coffee at my fingertips, sipping it’s body warming contents slowly, feeling the veil of fog begin to part. I gaze out at the maples displaying the colors of fall, swaying in the crisp gentle breeze, crystal clear heavenly blue sky as a backdrop; a picture perfect Kodachrome postcard. Honestly, how can I be crabby? How can I be anything but grateful and willing to count my blessings?

And such is the irony of life: ‘Little Man’ sleeps with perfect contentment near my feet.  

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Payback can really BITE!

Payback can really BITE!

This is Ruger.

This is Mia.

This is Ruger obviously stalking Mia, and Mia not quite sure she is happy about it. I find this completely hilarious, from a karma point of view. Why, you might ask? Here’s why:

We have always gone to the Humane Society for our dogs, and when we moved here 14 years ago, we had Kimmy, a Humane Society Black Lab/Shepherd mix who was already a senior of 11. When she went to Heaven, I had no desire to adopt a puppy while tending 2 young daughters, so we adopted Maize, a Yellow Lab/Shepherd mix who was full grown at 4 years old. (I absolutely recommend older dogs for young families. Busy parents generally do not have the time and attention to give a young puppy; little children are not very suited to caring for a young dog; and there are SO many older dogs who need good homes. Maize was absolutely loved by ALL she met! Please consider an older dog for adoption)
Well, about 5 years ago Maize was getting on in years and my children (now teenagers) felt it was time to get another family member, and they were old enough to help with a puppy. A trip to the Humane Society, and home we come with Mia.

She is a perfect dog. Yes, she is also a Lab/Shepherd mix (my favorite mix). She grew up out of her typical Labrador puppy chew stage to be a loving, good natured, calm and sweet dog. However, as a puppy she absolutely terrorized Maize! Ankle biter is what we called her! She would lay down and ‘stalk’ Maize, and poor Maize trying her best not to be utterly crabby about it.

So, it quite appropriate that ‘what goes around, comes around’. Ruger is smart, and so is learning quickly that ankle biting results in a ‘correction’ from Mia. All the same, I can’t help but giggle…just a bit.

(click on the photo to be taken to the Humane Society of America website. This is not a paid advertisement, but a personal plea to rescue loving animals who need homes.)