Last year I made the gutsy decision to switch this little life story of mine over to a different blog, one that I hoped would center a little more specifically around home schooling now that we were doing it officially with two kids. I stopped blogging over here, obviously, and I have been writing at least monthly in the other one, but haven’t actively sought a new readership. I just haven’t had time.
Of course, not making time to write is mostly from me physically not having any free time on my hands to do it anymore. But on some level, it also means that writing has become a little less important to me. If it were as big a priority to me as, say, picking up milkshakes with the kids every Thursday after the library, than I’d find the time for it. (What can I say, Shamrock Shakes are a passion like no other.) Usually, when things are rough for me, writing helps. I wind up doing it more even when there are half a trillion more pressing obligations vying for my attention in the background, silent but deafeningly obnoxious. Likewise, when I’m not writing, it’s usually because things are going pretty well.
And now that things are going well, it bothers me a little that people who read so much about our family in times when they weren’t, always, don’t get to see it.
For one, I am baffled by how much home schooling has helped Mary to grow. I am equally in awe of how take-charge she’s become about her workload everyday. I’ve started to write about the slow, costly, ultimately successful transformation no less than a dozen times this month alone, to no avail. Time is just never on my side these days. Our mornings start so early, breaking just to eat is sometimes such a burden… But there is such an abundance of good news to share. It’s hard to believe that this time last year I worried so much about where we’d be right now with her. The kid is an ace. She really is. For the sake of avoiding the jinx that would wind up turning this into another unfinished blog post, I won’t get into that now. I will later though, promise. For now I’ll just go on record saying, I don’t know how I could be any more proud of her.
In other news, we also got a dog! Like, whoa, right?
I know, I know, that’s not usually a big screaming deal for most families, but it really was for us. You, old blog, are not familiar with what a hellstorm home schooling has brought unto the unsuspecting order of my little brick house. If I ever thought that raising three kids, on it’s own, was hell on the unyielding girth of our home, forgive me for being an idiot. Homeschooling has us living day-to-day in a way that actually, on sort of a serious note, makes both me and my husband notably unhappy. Like, we know that it was a necessary thing and all, and that it was good for her and stuff, and that we don’t regret that we did it and everything… but my gosh, I can’t even remember what a luxury it must have been not to live in a world where scissors, pencil shavings and uncapped now-uselessly-dry markers don every imaginable surface. What were we talking about again?
Oh yeah, the cutest Goshdarned thing in the universe.
So getting puppy was weird. Well, wanting to get a puppy was weird. It wasn’t a whim. It was something I’ve been aching to do for almost a year now - if not maybe longer. I don’t know. I don’t write anything down anymore.
Puppies don’t make messy houses cleaner. I know that. If they weren't so freakin cute, more people would see them for what they really are: garbage disposals that poop - and also only dispose of things you want to keep.
But they are pretty good for easing panic that comes with realizing, holy shit, kid, you’re only just turning 27 and will never have another child ever again. Like, ever. You’re approaching that time in your life when these are the things (bridal registries, house hunting Saturdays, gender-reveal parties with personalized invitations) that would traditionally fill your world with butterflies for the next four to six years. But for you, they are already a page in your diary, dog-eared and relived many, many times since they happened.
Even though this year I needed the responsibility of training a puppy like Dolly Parton needs more plastic surgery, it was an investment. Next year, with Mary and Matthew both suddenly just… away… at school all day, I know I’ll need the warmth and distraction of a hefty, time-consuming responsibility. Scarlett is too much fun to count. She’s not even a challenge. Man, while we’re on the topic, isn’t she the best?
Anyway, Benson is remarkably more awesome than anything we expected to get out of a free exchange at six months old. He’s very low energy compared to every obnoxious dog I’ve ever owned, or even watched someone else own from a close distance. And that makes him all the more hilarious once you get outside with him off-leash, because he is a freakin jackrabbit once he has the space to run around. Everyone loves a crazy ball of energy pup… especially one that comes promptly when called, gives polite eye contact for treats, uses the bathroom outside in the same area everyday, has a predictable and courteous potty schedule, walks without ever pulling on the leash and doesn’t rocket out the door any time someone opens it a crack from inside, doesn’t pounce on people like they’re inanimate playthings with kidneys that cannot be punctured, is somehow perplexingly civilized inside of the house, and has never eaten food off the table.
Really, the only down side to him so far is that he likes to make a snack of his own steaming piles of poop sometimes, which… is not attractive, I’ll admit. He also eats everything in sight. And that’s bad when it means I can’t just lay things that, no, Benson, I did not actually mean to throw in the trash on the coffee table. But it’s good when my floor is remarkably spotless because if a kid does forget to put a toy of theirs away as SOON as they’re finished playing with it so it won’t get eaten (you mean that was POSSIBLE!?) - it’s already eaten.
Gotta say… I did not expect, after owning barely managed cats who have learned to rely more on birds for food than the five and twelve-year-olds responsible for keeping them alive, that owning a dog would suddenly and miraculously teach my darlings so much about responsibility.
Never underestimate the persuasive powers of dog logic. “Pick up that toy, buddy, or I will not hesitate to gnaw that shit into an unrecognizable plastic deformity, poop it’s digestible parts out onto a pile of leaves in the backyard, eat it all over again, and then lick your damn face.” This dog is a prodigy, I’m telling you. It might be better at raising my kids than I am.