Monday, June 26, 2006

Molly's New Life

Death is exhausting. Not for the one that has died, of course ... but for the ones that are left behind.

This weekend, not surprisingly, was exhausting for us. When something happens that is emotionally draining, like losing a loved one, there reaches a point where you are physically drained, too. There's no doubt about it ... being sad consumes a lot of energy.

After spending the majority of the day Saturday mourning (i.e. bawling our eyes out), we spent Saturday afternoon at the Pet Supply store. We picked Molly up two new beds (one for inside, one for outside), a few new toys, a new brush, a couple new bowls and a hodge podge of doggie treats. Molly then got another bath and was ushered in to the house ... where she was immediately swarmed by toddlers.

Now, when I use the term "swarm"... imagine walking in to a bee hive covered in honey. Molly was the one covered in honey. Our triplets were the bees.

Molly has always been a pacer. She paces, constantly. Monty on the other hand, would lie down when ever and where ever he had the opportunity. In that way, our two dogs couldn't have been more different. But even as a pacer, there is only so much pacing you can do, before you need to take a load off. Of course as soon as Molly would stop her pacing to take a rest for a moment, she had three curious children touching her tongue and her collar and her eyes and her nose and her tail and her teeth and her ears. And, last but not least, climbing on top of her like she was a pony.

From what I could tell, she loved every second of it.

Even though it appeared Molly enjoyed the attention of being front and center, we have been extremely cognizant of her need for space and we are very cautious that the babies are gentle with her. Charlie and I sound like a broken record constantly repeating "Gentle kids, GENTLE."
In return for Molly letting the kids swarm her, they have been indulging her with all kinds of goodness from the kitchen table. I came to the conclusion on Saturday morning that we may be able to permanently retire our broom and mop. As soon as a crumb lands on the floor, it is instantly picked up by Molly.

However ... there are definitely a few kinks to our new lifestyle we need to work out.

Kink Numero Uno: Even though Molly is a good replacement for our mop and broom, I don't think it's a good idea for her to be in the house during meal time. Having a dog patrol the kitchen table causes several areas of concern for me.

First. I don't want Molly to balloon up to the size of a house, which she will if she feasts off of our kids floor scraps. (Have I posted a picture yet of mealtime? I'll have to do that, soon.)

Second. I don't want the kids to find entertainment in throwing food off their tray for the dog to gobble up - especially since they find enough entertainment in throwing food off their tray, as it is. The last thing I need to do is add fuel to THAT fire.

Third. I don't want Molly to start taking food out of the babies hands. Yes, she is gentle. But I can imagine she would get highly excited if a pudgy hand offered her something tasty like say, a half eaten Ritz or a Cheerio.

Kink Numero Duos:
Dog hair. I didn't realize just how much dog hair there was, until I looked at our kids after they rolled around the floor for 5 minutes. Dog hair on the kids clothing is one thing. Dog hair on their sippy cups and loveys, both of which go in their mouth ... one word - three syllables.


And here's another thing with the sippy cups ... as much as I enjoy seeing the babies offer one another a sip off of their drink, I'd prefer NOT to see them extend the same generosity to the dog.

Molly, never one to turn down anything remotely consumable, will eagerly lick the cup - and then the babies always turn it back around and take a sip while I am (graciously) flying across the room to try and stop this hospitable exchange. Might I add ... NEVER, EVER do I make it on time. Nor, do I have my camera handy.

Did I read somewhere that a dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's? At this point, all I can do is PRAY that it's true.

Kink Numero Tres: The backyard. You already know where I'm going with this ... don't you? So today, I had some work to do. While I was working in the back office, I heard Charlie outside playing with the kids and Molly. They were having a grand time, running around, chasing a ball, playing in the sandbox ... all was well. Then I hear Charlie exclaim "OH OH! OK kids, over here. Over here."

I hear Charlie run in the house for a bag, I hear him run back outside - to presumably - scoop up the "Oh Oh!". Then I hear the hose come on, to wash down any residual "Oh Oh!" that might be left on the grass. A few minutes pass and I hear Charlie yell "OH NO!!!!"

What I later learned is that William had located another fresh pile of "Oh Oh!" that Charlie had missed. William found the "Oh Oh!" and picked it up in his pudgy little hands and squished it. Suffice to say - playtime in the backyard came to an abrupt halt. William's hands were completely scrubbed down, washed numerous times with soap and water, and smothered in Purell. I didn't actually need for Charlie to tell me what happened. I could hear him gagging from my safe spot in the back office.

The fourth thing, which is preventable by keeping the bathroom door closed, and hence - isn't really a "Kink" but which I believe deserves honorable mention, is the task of keeping both the children AND the dog, out of the toilet.

Just this morning, I heard a splashing sound emanating from the bathroom ... which I incorrectly assumed was Charlie. When I went to investigate, both Carolyn and Elizabeth were splashing in la commode up to their elbows. I picked up both of my daughters, soaked with toilet water, to carry them out, while using my legs to block William from wandering in and continuing with the splashing. Meanwhile, Molly ducked in around both me and William, and proceeded to take a drink from the pot.

So. There you have it.

Not only is it exhausting grieving the loss of our beloved Monty, it is exhausting trying to figure out how we are going to succesfully incorporate Molly in to our lives, as an indoor dog. Although, I feel I should add that she will continue to stay in the garage at night, because we can't get any sleep with her pacing and tags rattling. We did try ... for about 20 minutes.

I am now open for suggestions.


  1. So wonderful of you guys to use the sadness of Monty's loss into positive changes for Molly--she looked absolutely ecstatic in the photos... One small suggestion: you mention the tags rattling driving you nuts, we had the same issue with our pacing Lab as well, and were able to find essentially a tag pouch that slipped over the tags and muffled their sound/kept them from clinking. Saved our sanity, and her inside bed priviliges! Good luck, and thanks for sharing your adventures!

  2. We have a 10 month old yellow lab, and it's like having half a kid (as well as I can tell from not having any kids yet). We try to keep doors closed and her exercised... a tired dog is a good dog. To be good, ours needs to run or be taken swimming. She's not too hot on fetch, but loves frisbee. Even a few minutes of it can make a big difference.

  3. Fun with Molly...I had a black lab named Molly too. In terms of one of your concerns..I doubt that your Molly will become food agressive to the extent that she will try to take food out of the childrens' hands (she will probably not pass up an opportunity to take what ever a little hand offers though).

    The hair - yes - as you know it is everywhere..

    Enjoy your days with Molly and the kids

  4. I'm so sorry about your dog. I had to put my dog down back in February, and it was horrible. She was 14. I had had her since she was 5 weeks old. I still get teary thinking about her.

    And I do know what you mean about the exhaustion. I was exhausted for quite a few days after she passed.

  5. You're a wonderful mother to both the dogworld and the babyworld. ALL of your children (Molly included) sound like they are so lucky to have you guys as parents.

    I miss having a dog around our house and our kids LOVE animals! They would join in the swarming with your kids. Since I have the choice right now, I'm choosing to not have another living thing in my house that eats and poops. (Too many of those right now).

    We've been dogless for 2 years now (not by choice) and it's been less worrisome since the babies came along but I definitely can't wait to ONE day have an addition in the pet department (since I'm done in the baby department).

  6. I swear, labs are the best dogs for kids! Once they outgrow eating all their toys. They are so patient and tolerant!

    We have a chocolate lab/floor cleaner named Claire. We've trained her not to touch stuff on the table, but if we're not looking, she helps herself. She isn't interested in sippy cups, maybe because the wandering around ones only have water around here. (Grape juice in my carpet.) The only way we can keep the hair at bay is daily sweeping/vacuuming. AND especially brushing outside frequently (with one of those loop shaped brushing things.) The dog poops in the front yard, and the kids play in the back. We have an "Easter egg hunt" once a week. :) And my dog loves to drink out of the toilet when the chance arises, as well. What is worse, to me, is when my toddler gets into her water bowl, spills it all over the floor and then slips in the puddle and lands screaming on her back.

    I have to say, though. My kids all love her! And they've never been afraid of dogs.

  7. Jen,
    You are an amazing woman. Dealing with triplet toddlers and a dog is no easy task. I truly admire you. You are also a wonderful writer and I check your blog daily just to read your stories. I don't have any advice on the dog front but do wish you well and hope you are able to find solutions. Thanks for the entertaining reading. :)

  8. I am glad to see that things are starting to get back to normal (chaos)! Those pictures made my day to see your three interacting with Molly and Molly enjoying herself.

    I don't really have any suggestions with any of your kinks considering we have an indoor dog (A Husky/Lab mix) that sheds ALOT so I have that concern also. It will be any day now till Alyssa is crawling around and no matter how much I vaccuum, there is still hair on the floor. So I really don't know what to tell you with that.

    The feeding thing, I think you have a good idea by letting her out during that time because it is not good to feed your dog table food. That is one of the things I learned while in "doggy training" (which BTW my dog flunked out of)! And it is for the exact reasons you mentioned- weight issue for dogs and the dog accidently hurting one of the kids when she snatches the food. Dogs cannot see all that well so little hands sometimes get confused with what they are trying to get.

    And the sippy cups... yes, dogs do have cleaner mouths than humans. As hard as that is to imagine considering some of the things they do (drinking toilet water), their saliva cleans out their mouth. I know this because last summer when I was pregnant, I got bit by a dog and we went to the hospital. The doctor who saw me said that it was better that I got bit by a dog because there is less chance of an infection than if I got bit by a child. So many people get bit by children and the bite gets infected and they never do anything about it, but as soon as a dog bites them, they rush to the hospital. He stated that dogs have the cleanest mouths. So hopefully that gives you so kind of comfort.

    Good luck with this new situation! It looks like everyone is taking to it pretty well.

  9. Oh what fun dog/kid mayhen at your house! Molly and the kids both look thrilled beyond words to be interacting more though!

  10. I can appreciate the toilet play...what's worse is that my husband insists that the water is clean. We immediately get a bath when that happens and we try to keep the doors closed. I also have a small dog whose bowls are found to be fascinating by my twins (ivf + icsi). Aren't multiples the best! Sometimes I think if you can't keep up with them join in on the fun! I don't know how you keep up with three, work, etc.

  11. We have 2 dogs and keep our living room gated off so that the dogs can't actually go in that room. It saves my sanity re the dog hair and my daghter spending alot of time on the floor.
    Our dogs are not allowed in the kitchen during mealtimes although i do admit to letting them in afterward instead of sweeping.
    LOVE your blog read it all the time!
    SarahC ( from babysteps board)

  12. Really, keeping three kids and a dog out of the toilet? That is a tough job! I've heard there are toilet lock thingies you can buy that keeps the lid down, but then it might be just as sensible to keep the bathroom door locked. BTW my youngest son went through a toilet playing phase at 18 months. Combine that with four older siblings who don't always flush. YUCK!!!!!! When I heard splashing I ran to the bathroom.