And yet within a split second of wreaking havoc on my strained nerves they revert back to those sweet little cherubs that bring my heart peace with a simple little smile.
Tomorrow it could snow. No, really, it could. Today, it hit 72. (Don't ask me. I don't get it either.) In the midst of our on-again-off-again battle, we headed out to enjoy the weather tease - me, two kids and the dog we've borrowed.
Oh, wait, the dog. Let's back track a moment here shall we. A year ago we had a dog. She was old. She was sick. She had to be put down. Meg remembers Tasha enough to talk about her but has no concept of where she is other than she's not here. Logan completely understands the dog is dead. To him, that means the dog is laying on Heaven's floor refusing to play fetch with Jesus because you know, why should we change in the after life? No fetch on Earth. No fetch in Heaven.
Logan's preschool class has started a new "good deeds" program. Last time it was a chain of paper links. This time it's a plastic barrel. Get caught doing something nice and you get to put a dog treat in the barrel. Yum. When the barrel is full, the class is going to donate it to the local animal shelter. I knew this was coming, it was in the little month-in-review letter the teacher send home last month.
I saw the barrel on Monday. As is our custom, I asked Logan questions about his day that require him to contribute more than "yes," "no," or "nothing." You know, nice things like, "So, tell me about the dog shaped barrel in your class." So, he did. Tell me that is. Then he throws this curve ball:
"Do you know what the animal shelter is?"
"Yes, I do."
"Well, I will tell you anyway. It is where pets live when they haven't found a family that will love them and take them home," he says with conviction.
"That's right," I say and I attempt to change the subject but apparently not far enough off topic. I said something witty like "So did you get a biscuit to put in today?"
"We should get a friend from the shelter," he says. And with her impeccable timing Megan yells, "I WANT A DOG!"
"What?" I say, because if you've read this blog long enough you know I've got a gift for eloquence.
"Yes," said Logan. "I think it's time we get a new dog. It's ok if it's an older one. Some day it might die and then I'd have two dogs in heaven. They can be friends there."
Megan interjects again, "I want a dog. Please! Let's go get our dog."
"A dog," I say trying to force my brain to work better, "A dog. Well, I'm not sure we're quite ready for a dog again just yet. Let's just wait and talk to Daddy."
They still chattered about this new pet they expected to get. I felt my heart leap a little. I'd like another dog some day; I just don't think today is that day. Call me chicken, but potty training a strong-willed toddler, getting a pre-adolescent 4 1/2 year old cooperating (remember, bad day, loads of attitude), AND house training a puppy - ahh, yeah, no. And I know the husband person feels the same way. No way.
There is, however, Grandma's dog.
Grandma's dog gets this quasi-love-annoyance thing from the kids the two days a week I work. They love her, but she makes them insane. It's not the food stealing (although that does get to them) it's the herding. Syd is an Australian Shepard. They herd things. She, lacking sheep, herds children. Personally I find it an admirable quality.
And Grandma has a birthday this week so she and Papa are away for a few days. That leaves the dog in the care of my brother, who works long, long hours. Oh and then toss in the construction on a new addition that began this week. The back fence is down. Aussies, I'll have you know, run the first chance they get - open door, gone is the dog.
All this means *I* have had a part-time dog the last two days. Not all day. This dog gets horribly homesick if you keep her out past bedtime. The last time we tried it (years and years ago) I took her home at 1am lest I not sleep at all with her whining and pacing. The last two days she was, however, here several hours of each day.
We played with her. We took her for a walk. (I'm insane, by the way. Two kids and a dog that likes to run on a mile and a half walk. No strollers.) By the last part of this afternoon's romp in the yard we had one preschooler yelling, "SYDNEY GIVE ME BACK MY SOCCER BALL!" and one toddler crying, "SYD! NEE! GIVE! ME! DAT! FRISBEE!"
The yelling stopped long enough for Logan to softly whisper, "Ahh, Mommy. I'm trying to practice soccer and Syd pooped in the goal."
I smiled sweetly. I cupped the boy's chin in my hand and I whispered back, "This is why we're not getting a dog yet."*
When the three of them weren't fighting over toys or what belonged between the post of the goal net, we had moments like this:
And those led to moments like this:
And some how, it almost made the whole trip to the shelter seem worth it. Almost.
*Logan is not amused. I have told him we can talk dog when he can work the pooper-scooper.