Saturday, November 26, 2011

the only thing we want to spread is... cheer

We'd intended to stay in South Carolina over Thanksgiving, but we're not as small of a group as we once were. And mid-way through our vacation, our headcount went up by one.

On Monday night, Louie's first night with us, we were staying with my gracious cousin Karen. Louie was sequestered to a newspaper-lined bathroom with his soft doggy bed and random doggie toys. Every 15 minutes, for the entire night, Louie would yelp. And because we were in someone else's home and sound was transmitted to every square inch exceptionally well, we tended to our tiny yelping puppy.

We = Charlie.

Because I'd fallen down ice skating on Sunday afternoon, blew out my knee and was on crutches, I was unable to hop in and out of bed without gasping expletives. So Charlie was on Puppy Patrol. But I was awake whenever my husband was because: 1) the barking woke me and 2) I felt a moral obligation to tell a completely exhausted Charlie, "I'm up, too. You're not enduring this alone. Maybe we should have adopted a lazy cat?"

During one of the 30+ times that Charlie opened the bathroom door over a span of six hours, he smeared a fresh pile of puppy poo across the floor, that he then stepped in with his bare feet and it oozed between his toes. Around that same time, we unanimously made the decision that our entourage would drive back to Virginia as soon as the sun breached the horizon, the children were awake, or our hostess tossed us to the curb. Which ever came first.

At home, we could settle Louie in to his crate and wouldn't be as concerned that he was disturbing an entire house. At home, we would be at home. And home is a really nice place to be when you've got four children with chest colds, a blown out knee and a yelping pooping puppy.

So on Tuesday morning, we bid our farewells and we drove home.

Since we've been home, Louie has slept great. Which is fantastic because I'd been wracked with worry that our children have finally reached an age where they'll sleep soundly until 7 AM (most nights), and we had to ruin everything by bringing in a tiny puppy that'll be up barking all night. It's been 18 years since I've had a tiny puppy. My recollection on how to do this house-training this is foggy. Is there some kind of Puppy Wise book about Bark It Out?

On Tuesday, the first night home, Louie curled up in a ball in the cozy box which we'd placed in our bedroom and he slept, soundly, until 4 AM. When he awoke, Charlie took him outside to do his business, then he returned him to the box where we fell back asleep until 6:30 AM. Yesterday, he slept through the night and woke up at 6:15 AM and before Charlie's feet even hit the floor, Carolyn ran in to the room, scooped up the puppy and said, "That's OK Dad. I've got him. You go back to sleep..."

(And that's why Carolyn is now her father's favorite child.)

While it would have been nice to have spent Thursday with our extended family, it was such a good decision for us to return home early. Louie is settling in nicely and we avoided all of the post-holiday traffic. Our Thanksgiving was a very relaxing day. We made apple crisps for a few of our neighbors...


And we watched, "How The Grinch Stole Christmas", our first Christmas movie of the season. Midway through, William announced, "Mom, that Dr. Seuss is a really good rhymer, isn't he?" For the next few hours, he attempted to craft all of his sentences in rhyme. During dinner he graced us with, "Mom, I like the very cranberry and quirky turkey, but please don't make me eat the mean green bean or the damn yam."


My belief that returning home early was a good decision was confirmed this morning when our sweet Elizabeth woke up with the stomach flu. I'm hard pressed to think of a situation that would be more uncomfortable than to expose your hostess to the stomach flu after your yelping un-houstrained puppy kept her up all night and before driving 500 miles with a sick child.

As of this writing, Henry's complaining that his tummy hearts too. Our little guy is learning how to count and he knows that when there are six people in a family and only two legs on a turkey, this is how you lay claim...




And I know that if this is a virus, soon enough we'll all have it.


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