You Don't Always Stick The Landing, But Rolling With The Fall Is Important

I should probably not have poked Murphy with the declaration that our family rolls with life. You'd think I'd know better by now. Clearly, I am a slow learner.

Vacation is two days away, and we're all super excited. We're also in the pre-vacation panic mode of trying to get  All The Things Done And Organizing All The People. With 8 of us going, (we adopted an extra for this trip), and meal planning in advance, it's been more work. It'll be nice not to have to grocery shop upon arrival, so totally worth the extra effort now.

College Boy came home late last evening to join us on the vacation, and I sat up until the wee smalls visiting with him. We only see him a few weeks per year now, so every minute counts. My mind joins Anna, from Frozen, with her declaration that "the sun is up, so I must be up," and on days like today I am not fond of this sentiment. Those 4 hours of sleep I got just aren't cutting it. I was dragging by 10am.

I learned the hard way that Darla has a sensitive stomach. I had some canned dog food sitting around and thought I'd treat her, as she could stand to gain a half pound or so. (She's a tiny dog; a little weight will go a long way on her.) She was up a few times in the night, screaming to be let out before an accident happened in her crate. I was grateful not to have to clean up a mess, and happy to know that she's a neat kind of dog. It didn't help the sleep situation, though.

FYI, that is the happiest dog ever. Not even an upset stomach keeps her down. She bounds like a deer in a clover field, and greets everyone with exuberance, even when ill. I think she's pretty much past the worst of it, and I'm so glad I learned this important bit of information about her before vacation. Had I thought to "treat" her while away, that large smell in a tiny cottage with too many people would not be pleasant. At all.

With 1.5 days left to do the packing (which hasn't been thought about, much less started), finish organizing meals, and get all the store orders done, (while trying to pretend that I'm not about to pass out from lack of sleep), Luke decided to test out his newly repaired bicycle before we took it on vacation with us. He also decided to catch some air on a jump as he headed back to the house. He didn't stick the landing the way he envisioned it in his head. He's now rocking a broken rib and shoulder blade.

It's like deja vu.  Our boys should not be allowed to own or ride pedal bikes.

So Luke's vacation will now be spent sleeping on a sofa instead of a bottom bunk, enjoying the paddle boat instead of a kayak, and is borrowing a scooter to keep up with the family while we bike. He'll be powered with narcotics and Advil. This is all provided he doesn't need the bone set before we leave, and we can't even call the doc to discuss this until morning. We're seriously hoping that we won't have to delay the trip for a few days, and that he can enjoy himself despite the pain if we ever get there.

While the timing isn't great, we're rolling with this, too, because we have no other choice. At this point in our lives, we have learned to laugh as it happens. Josh made a meme about Luke's projecting shoulder blade being reminiscent of the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I told Luke he must have planned this so he didn't have to fold his laundry that I removed from the dryer this evening. Life moves at full speed, and sometimes there are road bumps. Sticking the landing isn't always going to happen, but rolling with the fall helps keep your sanity.

Plot Twist On The New Dog

When your child comes with his very own life-long disability, you learn to roll with life pretty quickly. Often, it's not because you want to, but because you have to. And life gets re-prioritized, too. What you once thought was a big deal, you now realize isn't so much. I mean, who cares if your son wears a poodle skirt into town? He dressed himself, and that's a huge step.

Rolling and re-prioritizing. It's what life is about. Some of us are just on a steeper learning curve than others.

That being said, when Micah decided to re-name his dog, I waffled. She was just changed from Dixie to Fiona, and now he wants to name her Darla. She'll be the most confused dog ever. An individual needs some consistency, after all. It's hard enough adjusting to a new life without knowing who you are.

Fiona/Darla/WhoeverSheIs is an interesting dog. While she's too stubborn to raise her head when intently eating bugs in the lawn, it's a happy kind of stubborn. It's like she lives in her own bubble world, with butterflies and rainbows and unicorns. She's oblivious to things around her, and just focused on whatever makes her tail wag at the moment.

Maybe that's what prompted me to start looking at the situation more closely. I retraced the past 2 weeks, and looked at incidents with new eyes. I came to the conclusion that the dog doesn't hear well. I spent a few hours conducting random tests, like snapping at each ear as she slept, and dropping a heavy object at the other end of the room. I had others make loud noises behind her as I held her, and we discussed how she lacked reaction of any kind.

Guys, this is the perfect dog for us. Our disabled son has his very own disabled dog. We are pretty sure that Fiona is completely deaf. This is a plot twist, of course, but nothing we can't roll with. And it's even better, because now Micah can change her name any time he wants. It's not going to confuse the dog at all. We may never know who he's talking about, but that's beside the point.

Darla, as she'll be called until further notice, is going to teach us a whole lot, just like her owner does. We're already re-learning how to interact with her, and to teach her basic things like NO and DOWN. Words just aren't going to cut it, and that's sad because I have perfected the Mom Voice after 22 years of parenting. Even the dogs respect that voice, and heed my commands when they hear it. I'll have to up my game with the Stink Eye, I guess.

I know many people with deaf dogs, which is probably what set me to thinking this might be the problem with Darla's stubbornness. I have resources to tap into and learn from, and that's all anyone can ask for. A good support system is golden, whether it's for your children or their pets. We're moving forward, because life doesn't stop to allow you to process things. And really, this isn't anything new to Darla. I'm taking her happy cue and wagging my tail as we navigate the unknown ahead of us.

Louie's Adjustment To A Third Dog

I am Louie's person. He's incredibly protective of me, too. That dog doesn't like when another dog invades my personal space, and recognizes that my personal space boundaries encompass a 5' circle around me. Louie will step between me and another dog that tries to gain my attention, touch me in any way, or look me in the eye from across a room. Jealous is a bit of an understatement. 

Because Louie is so focused on saving me from the affections of other dogs, he generally doesn't interact with them. He looks like a total snob, ignoring dogs of all shapes and sizes as he stoically walks beside me, waiting to come between me and any other 4-legged being that will threaten our bond. 

Because rules are meant to be broken, Louie's one exception to his no-play contract are shih-tzus. Louie is in love with those long haired dogs. He just can't seem to control himself when he sees one, and lunges at it in an overt greeting and invitation to play. His reaction is interpreted as an aggressive act by other dogs, and his would-be friend cowers from him in terror. Pet conferences are a struggle for us both, as we engage in a contest of "who can spot the shih-tzu first." I think Louie finally gave up on his love of long hair, though, as last week's BlogPaws conference was the very first event where he didn't uncontrollably lunge at another dog.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I was sitting on a bench in a relatively empty lobby, and Louie leapt off the seat to greet another dog before I even knew that dog had entered our line of sight. I looked up to see what was going on (and call my errant dog back), when I realized that the dog wasn't a shih-tzu, but a shelter dog.

Louie loved Fiona from the moment he laid eyes on her.

I am so sure that Fiona is the dog we were meant to have. The fact that we were able to rescue a dog from the Humane Society at all is a miracle in itself. Having Louie accept her from the start is also a big deal. 

I didn't want to push my luck with the infatuation, so I let Fiona run around and take in the sights. I held Louie and we both watched her. I barely interacted with the sweet new dog, for fear of making Louie crazy jealous. I figured there would be a lifetime of togetherness to make up for that missed hour, if we chose to make her our own. I even went as far as to have friends help with Fiona the rest of the evening so that Louie and I could be together, as he expected. I really didn't want him to hate the new dog from the beginning, and have to work to undo that when we got home. It would be a much more difficult transition for all concerned, if that were the case.

All bets were off in the hotel room, though. With 3 dogs trying to do the meet and greet, it was crazy. Once we got all dogs settled into something that might work for the night, I held Fiona beside me, waiting for her to calm down. Louie snored at the foot of the bed.

Louie's boundaries of my protection include anything that I'm sitting or lying on. Beds, sofas, chairs and benches are for me and Louie to share. No other dog is allowed to even jump up and place a paw on that object. A dog sleeping under my arm is a total OHMYGOSH WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING WITH THAT OTHER DOG kind of emergency situation. But Louie snored peacefully by my feet as Fiona laid by my side, allowing me to be a dog mom to someone other than him for once.

There is no doubt that Fiona is meant to be our dog. And by "our," I mean Micah's dog. 

The very first time Louie laid eyes on Fiona.