The Harrowing/Heartwarming Parent Moment of the Week

Normally, I’m writing about the everyday antics required when corralling three young boys. But owning a five-month-old Newfoundland puppy is like throwing an enormous hairy baby into the mix and seeing who will make it out unscathed. Leia loves our sons, they are her boys and she leaps into the car at 6:45 every school morning so that she can see them down to the bus, even though she has to lay across all three of their laps to do so. Then she puts her front paws on the first step and wags and wiggles as they stomp into the giant yellow beast that I am sure she thinks they ride around in all day until we pick them up together at 3:30. In fact, she knows when it is time to go and get them and when we were late because of a dental appointment, she convinced The Hunky Hubby to sit out on the lawn with her, waiting until they arrived. When a boy has had a hard day, she welcomes arms slung around her neck in a fearsome hug and applies a liberal washing to that boy’s ears as her own treatment for the blues. But she does seem to think of them as puppies just like her, and doesn’t understand why we object so sternly when she chases them down, tackles them, and proceeds to engage them in a toothy wrestling match that is terrible to behold. She also steals socks, whether lone socks or still upon the boy, it doesn’t matter to her. So, this week it looks like I’m just telling stories about our dog, but really, the boys are all mixed up in every one of Leia’s adventures, so know, dear reader, that they are a part of this as well.

To start things off, Leia managed to injure herself right before I left for the Story Vision Writer’s Retreat. There were so many mishaps that might have caused the limping…my niece’s big malamute totally tumbled her when she raced over to play, then Leia wrestled with Ricky, my brother’s spaniel. Then The Hunky Hubby let her off the leash to run in circles for a moment but instead of just burning up a bit if energy she leaped headlong off the small bank by where we park our car, flew through the air, landed bad, and skidded about five feet across the gravel on her face. But she was not limping after these escapades. She started limping in the middle of the night when The Hunky Hubby got up to take her potty. My only conclusion is that she climbed up onto the dinning room table to search for crumbs (yes it has happened, don’t ask me how I know) and in her haste not to be discovered, leapt down and hurt her leg. So we have had an increasingly strict leash rule to protect Leia from herself during her convalescence. Who knows what she might try to leap off next? She is quite board with all of this healing and has eaten half of our ottoman and taken about a foot long chunk out of our couch. I really hope she heals soon so that we can get this dog out on walks.

The other night Leia woke us up 3 different times to potty. Then I awakened on my own at 2:30am because she was on Sweet Boy#3’s bed licking his face and chewing up his stuffed animals. She’s been quite rowdy since we can’t take her on walks and kept plopping her huge front paws up on top of my head when I crawled in bed. She tried to jump onto my bed so that she could chew up my huge stuffed dog (a gift from The Hunky Hubby) and chase the moths that were attracted by my reading lamp.

This week, Princess Leia has been showing the white feather. Now I am not ashamed of owning a cowardly dog, but Leia expresses her terror with a round of fearsome barking that would make normal mortals quake, if they didn’t catch a glimpse of her cringing in fear. The first horror was a bale of straw that our cook dropped off in the driveway. Perhaps the bits of straw poking out all around made it look like a monstrous beast, but when I took Leia outside she wouldn’t leave the porch. Her hackles rose and she sounded her deep strong bark and stared the straw bale down. Finally realizing what was terrifying her, I bravely approached the straw bale. She cringed back, sure that I was about to be devoured. I kicked the straw bale to show her that it wasn’t alive. She actually flinched. I think she thought I was riling it up. After another kick, she approached and gave it a good snuffle. Later, I saw her actually attack the straw bale, as though to convince herself that she could have taken it on.

This morning, I took Leia out to go potty at 6:00am. It was still dark. A black shape loomed large on the lawn. Leia began her ferocious barking regime. The shape did not move. I knew it couldn’t be a bear and was willing to venture out on the lawn, but Leia was not. I had to go back inside, get a flashlight, and investigate. It was a folding camp chair and blanket that The Hunky Hubby had set up on the lawn so he could take in the evening air. Leia gave the scary chair a good sniffing before she was willing to head to a bush and go pee. Now we know that the family will be safe from any rogue straw bales or bloodthirsty chairs.

Kristen

I promise you a crazed animal, a concussion, and a kiss in every single book...you're welcome!

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