The Life and Times of Poopwa Foley

Archive for January 2012

Our dog was invited to his first party this summer.  My daughter was going to a cookout at a friends’ house, and this friend has a big fenced in yard.  If that wasn’t exciting enough, they also have two dogs.  OMG.  Cooper was definitely in for a treat…if we let him go.
See, we were a little reserved about letting him out of our sight, mostly because our 1 ½ year old black lab has a well documented history of taking off on us to do a little adventurous sight seeing of his own.  Example:  If you accidentally open the door a sliver too wide, if you (ahem) trip over something and drop the leash writhing in pain on the lawn for all to see, if he pulls just a little too hard just a little too often on his stake and pulls it out of the ground, he’ll run like Forest Gump, looking neither right nor left. 
When he gets going, he somewhat resembles the liquid metal cop from Terminator who chases after Sarah Connor.  You can see that this could be a problem if you factor in traffic…because he’s definitely not looking both ways before crossing the street.  He’s a man on a mission.
Everyone in our family has had to run after him.  He got away from me one night.  I ran after him shrieking, cheese in one hand and baloney in another.  We finally cornered him about five blocks away.  I say we but it was actually my much faster son.  I learned two lessons that night.  The first is that I really needed to concentrate on more cardio at the gym and the second is that I could run after him with a porterhouse steak for bait and he wouldn’t stop.
My daughter let him out one night for an evening potty and he slipped out of the leash.  I should mention that she was completely ready for bed after taking a hot bath; meaning, the over the shoulder boulder holder was off for the night, the flimsy sleep shorts, t shirt, and gigantic hedgehog slippers were on.   Because she wasn’t going anywhere and no one would see her.
Or so she thought.  Cooper does not like to waste any opportunities, so he took off down the street like he was shot from a cannon.  Thinking quickly, my daughter saw no option other than to give chase…and she was furious.  You do not want to tangle with her when she’s mad.  I’ve seen kinder trapped raccoons.  So in 20 degree weather, she was forced to run after him, in her jammies, but with a grim look of determination in her eyes.  (hearing the story later, I almost felt sorry for Cooper.)  At some point, to enable better traction, she stopped and kicked off the large hedgehogs and ran in bare feet.
A marvelous tackle was made on the 40 yard line, which is about 4 blocks from our house.
I was blissfully unaware that anything had occurred until she marched him back into the house.  He didn’t seem worse for the wear but she was livid because a) her feet were freezing and b) because she was forced to run down the street in front of the neighbors without a bra to get that stupid dog.  Cooper wisely hid in our bedroom for a while before finally coming out to apologize.  (Author’s note…he didn’t sound all that sincere.)
But back to the cookout.  Suffice to say that we were reticent about letting him go anywhere in the car with anyone at that point, given his bolting history.  Daughter was insistent that she be able to take him with her to interact with other dogs.  We finally agreed.
The doggie interaction was a big success.  Many behinds were sniffed, gleeful chasing was done, and pecking orders were established.  Cooper, as the new guy, was on the bottom of that pyramid, of course.
Before they left that day to go to the cookout, I lectured Cooper to be a good boy, share the toys, and not run off, please, no running off.  He seemed to understand.
A few minutes later I hear some soft murmuring.  Following the sound down the hall, I hear my husband also lecturing Cooper.  I gently push the bedroom door open only to hear him telling Cooper, “and you better be a good boy.  And play nice.  And don’t run away.  And for goodness’ sake, if you want them to like you, don’t open your mouth too much because your bottom teeth are all crooked, and they’ll make fun of you if they see it.  I’m just saying.  I’m trying to save you from some heartache.”
Cooper was invited back to play a couple of times over the summer so he must have made a pretty good impression. 
Either that or he didn’t open his mouth much.
Did you ever leave the house, only to find that you’ve forgotten your keys/purse/phone and had to go back to get them?  Are you ever the only one NOT to get through the green arrow in traffic, annoyed because you’re forced to wait through endless oncoming traffic before you can proceed?
We have all been there.  It’s so very easy to get irritated when you’re running late getting to work or school on time, or trying to get to the show before it starts, or the store before it closes, the repair shop before it closes.  Some people think that the universe must be working against them, trying to keep them from getting there.
My daughter has this theory that the reason you are running behind is that something, or someone, is looking out for you.  Keeping you safe.  Keeping you in one piece.  Looking out for you.
Most people don’t feel very lucky if they are caught behind a train, or oversleep, or lock themselves out of the car at the mall.  In a thunderstorm.  With tired, hungry children.  (Yep, true story.)  It makes people crabby when their lives don’t go exactly as planned.
However, they would quickly change their minds when they finally got that green light, only to shortly thereafter pass a terrible accident they surely would have been a part of.
Or they got home with those same tired, hungry kids…only to see that during that thunderstorm, the tree in the front yard smashed in the roof over the kids’ bedroom, where they would have been napping had Mommy NOT been locked out.
Something’s looking out for you.
Case in point:
You forget your presentation at home…but when you run back to get it, you’re able to unplug the iron.
You oversleep…but are home to call 911 and help when you see the elderly neighbor across the street fall down on the slippery driveway.
You get detained in a long line at the grocery store…but are able to network with a possible employer and get a better job.
It’s all in the timing; there is no such thing as coincidence.
It’s gratifying to watch your children form their own observations about life, and satisfying to hear their reasoning about why things happen the way they do, but it is really cool to see  that they have also learned the fact that sometimes the same thing making you late is the very thing keeping you safe.
Are you having a hard time communicating with your youngster?  Do you talk to your child, only to have them roll their eyes?  Shrug their shoulders?  Mumble a barely audible response?  Shoot you a look of thinly disguised contempt?  All of the above?  Congratulations, you have a teenager. 

Not so long ago and far away, my lucky husband and I had THREE of them in the house at one time.  It was, quite simply, a magical experience.  And by magical I mean NOT magical.  No, not magical at all.  At one point or another, someone was mad at me, or my husband, or each other, or a significant other, sometimes, every other living, breathing human being in the house, AND the dog.  For fun, sometimes it’s more than one child who’s upset. 

There was a LOT of drama going on a few short years ago in our house (and not much has changed, to be quite honest…they’re just older.)  Hubby and I used to walk around on eggshells, never knowing who might be offended by the simple patter of our adult footfalls or sound of our laughter.  How dare we be happy, when they were so obviously miserable

The problem is, however, that teenagers don’t like to actually TALK to you about what is going on.  Parents of teenagers already know this.  They will certainly make you aware that they are upset, but to actually communicate with you?  That would be ridiculous.  It’s much more fun to keep you guessing why the door to their room is locked, or why they’re pushing around the food on their plate sullenly instead of shoveling it in like usual, or why they’re lying on the couch crying with a cell phone and a box of Kleenex.  Not telling you why.  Sobbing loudly, especially when you walk by.  

Do they not know that as parents, we have been through our share of issues?  Dating trouble, work trouble, personal issues, you name it.  Ask us for advice!  We LOVE to talk!  I realize there are issues that teens face now that weren’t around 20 years ago.  Case in point:  texting and instant messaging.  There were times when we’ve had to comfort one child or another because they got a text or instant message they thought was mean.    

We have tried, over and over, to explain to them that with those types of communication, you can’t hear an inflection.  What is written is not always what you think it means.  When reading a text, instant message or Facebook post, it is not only possible but likely that you may mistake their meaning for something else. 

It is absolutely perplexing to me why more teens won’t just pick up the phone and CALL each other already.   Communicate clearly.   (author’s note:  I actually DO know why they text.  It’s easier and quicker and you don’t have to leave a voice mail, and I guarantee you will get their voicemail because no one answers their phones…they’re too busy texting.) 

One way to get your child to communicate is by journaling with them.  Get a spiral notebook, and compose a chatty note to your teen in it.  Date it, and stick it under their pillow with a note that it’s now THEIR turn to write in it, to you.  You will be amazed at what they will spills out in the pages of those notebooks…things that they (especially girls) would NEVER tell you in person, but feel on paper they’re ok to share.    

(another author’s note:  I myself have used this technique and was gratified at how easily my youngest daughter agreed to “pass the notebook”.  I was also slightly shocked at some of the information she shared, but that’s a story for another day. ) 

Find different ways to interact with each child, if you have more than one.  Make sure you get to spend some alone time with each one.  Take them grocery shopping with you.  Despite the fact that you’ll end up with $20 in junk food in the cart, it will be fun.  Make a pit stop for ice cream.  Be yourself, joke around, and it’s a pleasant surprise when your child actually might start making conversation.  

Maybe then, you can both LOL.

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  • Mary Fran Says: Thank you for contributing to Sweeps Week! We make a great team. Maybe we'll collaborate in our next lives? SISTERS! lol :)
  • Mary Fran Says: What's better than a Baby Shower aka Early Baby Birthday Party? Baby's FIRST Birthday Party! (Although it's hard to call them "baby" by one! They grow
  • Ann Jones: I'll have to check it out, thanks for the heads up!