Zeus!

That’s the name of our foster dog. We picked him up yesterday for a 6-week visit. As I understand it, fostering provides the following benefits for the dog:

1. Teaches the dog how to live in a house. Many of the dogs have never seen stairs, lived inside, learned the kitchen is the best place to be, or slept on a dog bed.

2. Gives the dog a break from living at a rescue organization. The rescue charity we deal with has 30 – 40 dogs at any one time. They also have 8 dogs of their own (that I know of). Living among many dogs is a good situation but it’s fairly stressful too. 

3. Lets the dog’s personality shine through. Living as they do in a large group, discovering a dog’s personality is impossible in that setting. So it’s our job as the foster family to help the dog socialize with various humans (i.e. kids), other animal species (i.e. cats, although we don’t have any of those because we have allergies) and see if that dog can live with 1 or 2 other dogs in a home. The more adaptable the foster dog, the easier to place in a permanent home. 

4. Lets the dog learn domestic dog behaviors, i.e. walk on a leash, come when called, pee and poop outside, and bark only when warranted.

Now, it’s unfortunate that I’m at work this week, but we have fostered before without any problems during the day while the house is empty. I’m lucky that my parents are currently visiting; they are able to be around to let the dog outside if needed. This dog, although only 9 lbs, is quite nimble. Last night I put the dog on the main floor of the house with our big gentle dog, hoping they would curl up on the big dog bed together. I’m not sure why I bothered with a barricade; he easily jumped over it and walked upstairs. This morning he hopped up onto the bench by the dining table and nearly onto the tabletop. Girl midget stopped him before he got that far but I wouldn’t ever be surprised to see him there when I get home from work. Therefore, I’m getting him a crate asap, and that’s where he’ll live when we are sleeping and when we are away at work. There’s nothing more damaging to a peaceful city life than a roaming disoriented dog. 

This morning I took all 3 dogs to the beach, along with my Mom. It’s a bit of a learning curve, handling 3 leashes and 3 speeds and 3 personalities. I’m hopeful the pack mentality will soon take over and we will have an easier time when leashes are involved. 

Around 1 pm

My brain sort of shuts off. A quick fix is a short trip to Marshall’s, which is conveniently located across the street from work. 

This morning I had an epiphany I’d like to share: I do not want to not work. In other words, I definitely do not want to be a stay at home Mom. When my kids were babies it would have been nice to take 5 years off, but I didn’t, and my career continued on its merry way. Well, not merry. But you know what I mean. I am not looking to ‘retire’ and stay home. This is a significant revelation for me because up until today I might have been slightly pining and a little jealous of women who are able to stay home with their offspring. I took a significant amount of time off this past summer and I really enjoyed it. But now I realize that while an extended vacation is great, staying home all the time is not for me. I imagine I would be much less productive than I expect, and would likely become a shut-in. Besides that, I like getting paid for my time, even if sometimes I feel like what I am doing doesn’t count for much. 

Yesterday evening I took 2 midgets to the dentist. Beautiful! No payment, because I have full benefits from my employer. So, there’s that. 

This past weekend I went to see Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 with the little midgets. The movie was very cute and full of fun puns. The scenes where the young inventor joins the Liv Corp company is particularly poignant for me because all of the would-be inventors work in a gray cube farm that resembles a honey comb in form. Isolated yet surrounded by other people. It’s quite the paradox.

 

 

Redeeming Qualities

I am at work today (duh, it’s a Thursday and I work on a cube farm, so where else would I be?) and just as I was getting on an elevator, I caught a whiff of someone’s very strong fabric softener. The scent came from the clothes of a man, so my brain immediately made some assumptions: The man did not wash his own clothes, and he probably didn’t fold them or put them away either, because he has a woman in his life who does all of these things. I’d like to think I’m a modern woman who believes in complete egalitarianism in the household. This arrangement simply does not exist in nature. Yes I know most of you reading this will be able to cite an example of such a utopia where household chores are split equally. I’d wager that in 100% of these cases, there are no offspring in the house. 

Oh my heck I am so tired today. That’s probably why I have such a skewed view of who is doing what, and where. I can admit when I’m wrong. Case in point: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/relationships/in-some-homes-men-do-more-housework-than-women/article12318648/. 

The problem is, speaking up about an unfair workload is tedious. I mean for shit’s sake, can’t you see dirty clothes and dishes, and dirty kids and hungry dogs? And I’m talking about my kids here too, not just husband. And it’s not as if husband is a slacker. He’s really not. I’m just tired. On tonight’s schedule is piano lessons. Tomorrow is a PA day for school, so I’ll be working from home while the kids are with me. 

Yesterday I also had a serious phone conversation with boy’s school vice-principal. After all that BS about boy not doing his homework and being unorganized, it turns out he was on the receiving end of good old-fashioned bullying. I found this out a couple of nights ago. There are 2 boys in his class in particular who were being mean to boy every day since school started this year. It’s no wonder the kid doesn’t want to go to school! I told the VP I would give him the opportunity to resolve the issue with the 2 boys and my boy. But if the behaviour doesn’t stop, I will get more involved. I have no problem calling their parents myself. Today I feel fairly calm about the situation; yesterday I wanted to slam the boys’ heads onto concrete. 

Last night boy came home and he let me know that the VP, and one of the offenders, and boy all had a conversation during which the offender apologized and in the end they shook hands. The 2nd offender was absent from school and so when he returns he will be properly chastised as well. This is not to say boy hasn’t been slacking at home, but at least his school year is going to improve. 

I finished school

Image

Now I have to go through school again. I know ‘good’ parents are supposed to want to micromanage their kids’ lives in addition to all the other crap we must do as adults (you know, like clean, cook, work all effing day and be their servants all evening). The reality is that often I rely on my smart, well-adjusted midgets to remember to do their own homework, keep their school agendas handy, and keep their class notes organized. Yes of course I ask questions, and I TRY to make sure they are equipped for the school day.

Well, I just got off the phone with boy’s teacher and apparently boy has been a major slacker. Added to that is the fact that boy has been a total stinker when it comes to keeping his room clean (or rather, clean in my opinion not his). Husband took a photo of his room (that he said he had cleaned this morning before school after I had asked him to do it) and the room was not a disaster but not clean either. (see photo at top of this post)

When I ask boy a question, I trust he is telling me the truth in response. Duh. Stupid me:

“Where’s your school agenda?” — “At school.”

“What homework do you have?” — “I already did it.”

 

Here’s what his teacher has said his answers are:

“My agenda is at home, I forgot it.”

“My homework is at home, I forgot it.”

 

Now I know grade 7 has been quite a shock to wonder-boy’s system. School has always been easy for him and also sort of boring. This year is harsh reality as it is for many children in 7th grade. I remember my own 7th grade, and that was a long time ago, so that should tell you how tough it was. But I managed to get through it, I complied with teachers’ orders and put on the yoke that is grade 7 and above. It’s necessary, and he needs to get ‘er done.

I’m at a loss as to how to support him in this crucial school year. I don’t want to become his jailer and I would LOVE to be able to ask a question and get the truth out of him. I am a little pissed off that boy is now lying about school. First of all, how stupid does he think I am? Don’t answer that, it was rhetorical, smart ass. Second of all, how stupid is he to think this course of action is sustainable? Third, why does he suddenly hate school? 

Boy is just starting to figure out he is a cog in a wheel and it’s upsetting for him. He is starting to realize that, even though I seem to give him choices and autonomy, he in fact has no freedoms nor rights. Case in point is when I replaced cow milk with almond milk at our house. Boy was so angry and confused.

Boy: “Why do we have to eat what you tell us to eat, and why do you get to tell us what NOT to eat?”

Me: “Uh, because I’m the queen around here, that’s why. I decide every detail of your little life and I always have. This will end someday but not any day soon, so get used to it.” He didn’t like that. Again, duh. 

I talk to boy all the time about school. I ask a lot of questions about his lessons and teachers, I care about his opinions, and I spend a good deal of time with him as part of our family group and 1 on 1, every week. I feel like I am doing everything right, and yet this crap jumps up and slaps me across my face. 

You don’t know what I’ve got

I’m not a perfect person. I inadvertently hurt others’ feelings and there are also occasions on which I’m not able to hide my emotions when necessary. In polite society it’s necessary to use tact, through words or omission of words, hiding unflattering thoughts and feelings, and sometimes lying through one’s teeth. Those are necessary evils, ones that, in my teens and 20s, I figured were old-fashioned and I could blaze a trail for myself in which I would always be honest. However.

I was raised to be polite, and being polite is sometimes incompatible with being honest. Also, I learned early that, if I did something naughty, being honest was not going to help me in that situation. Lying was disapproved of, but occasionally I fooled my parents and so escaped punishment those times. 

I was also raised to be respectful to my elders, and I find that even when an elder is driving me completely fucking mad, I am still polite and accommodating. I can’t help myself. That’s probably a good thing.