Monthly Archives: December 2011

twelve

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On the Twelfth Day of Christmas my doggies gave to me:

12 Blue Poop Bags
11 Loads of Laundry
10 Hours of Barking
9 Dog Treat Flavors
8 Calls to the Trainer
7 (Hundred) Dog Fights
6 Total Meltdowns
5 Soiled Rugs
4 Different Leashes
3 Baby Gates
2 Canine Prescriptions
and
1 Mom-who-wonders-what-she-and-her-husband-could-possibly-have-been-thinking-when-they-decided-to-adopt-two-dogs-in-the-space-of-two-weeks-over-winter-break-and-is-doing-her-best-to-take-one-day-and-one-mess-at-a-time-knowing-that-one-way-or-another-they’ll-eventually-get-through-this-and-someday-they-may-even-be-able-to-look-back-and-laugh . . .in a pear tree.

girlsnights

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Last night, I had a girls night with Lauren and her sister, Ali. Ali moved to Australia a couple of years ago, so these evenings are rare and we really make the most of them. This time we started with eyebrow threading and mani-pedis, then had a delicious dinner at The Local Peasant (although our feet were freezing because we had to keep our flip-flops on while our toes dried), stopped off at The Coral Tree for a cup of tea (or “cuppa” as they say in Australia) and finally ended up sitting by the fire at Lauren’s. Of course, the various activities and locations were merely the set dressing for the main event, which was (obviously!) getting to talk and catch up for hours on end.

Girls nights are really it for me (well . . . next to girls weekends, which are really just girls nights on steroids). They are touchstones that fuel me with love, support, reflection and companionship. To Lauren, Ali and my others girls-nighters out there (and you know who you are): thank you for a ritual that is such a wonderful and essential part of my life.

split

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Three words: Explosive Dog Diarrhea. Now you know how we have spent the last 5 days. The canine honeymoon is definitely over — barking, pooping and dog fights are now the focal points of our winter vacation. We ordered the book “The Dog Listener,” which should arrive today. We also have a trainer scheduled to meet with us next Friday. Hopefully, we will be able to establish some routines and our pack hierarchy in time for everyone to go back to work and school!

Yesterday, I took a moment out of my dog haze and drove to Santa Monica pier for a beautiful afternoon of flying with my friend Maile.

double

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“In for a penny, in for a pound” — That’s what I always say. . . Well, actually, I don’t know if I’ve ever said that phrase, but apparently I should start!!

Back in September, David and I started “thinking about thinking about” getting a dog for our family. I emailed a Labradoodle breeder inquiring about the possibility of buying one of her adult dogs (two of my close friends have adopted really sweet Labradoodle puppies from this breeder). I didn’t hear back from her.

Two weeks ago, we surprised ourselves by adopting our rescue, Sinjin. So I figured a Labradoodle wasn’t in the cards for us — until a week ago when I got an email from this same breeder asking me if we were interested in a 7 month old dog!! more…

push

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Today, Catalina worked on my spine.  She warned me that the sensations in my back could be painful and deep, but I was game.

She started on the upper left side of my back and there was some discomfort, but the sensations were totally manageable.  As she worked, I started thinking about my childbirth experiences and how powerful they were. I shared with Catalina that I have never been more connected to my body than during my labor and deliveries. The birth experience also felt much bigger than me —  I felt connected to all mothers and that I was partaking in something primal and ancestral. more…

matching

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Yesterday my oldest daughter turned 11 (11!!). Coincidentally, she also had a dance concert and a small musical theater performance over the weekend. These events gave me ample opportunity to really watch her and to appreciate how much she has grown and has started to create her own life.

My daughter and I have had seemingly constant conflict during the last 5-6 years. Given this tempestuous dynamic, I have worried a great deal about how our relationship would fare in the inevitably rocky teenage years.  Fortunately, with the help of Breck and my incredible husband, I have worked really hard during the last few months to understand what it really means to accept my child for who she is. To realize that parenting her does NOT mean changing her.

I am learning to uncouple boundary setting and disapproval. I am questioning whether I really need to stop or alter behavior that has no tangible impact on me or anyone else, but merely contradicts my values or preferences. I am figuring out that, in many ways, I serve my daughter most by just getting out of her way even (and probably especially) when it scares the living daylights out of me.

I have been shocked and delighted at the way these changes in my approach to parenting my daughter have brought about an immediate and notable change in the closeness and ease of our relationship.  The number of times she seeks me out, invites my participation in something or just wants me close have increased dramatically (She even wanted to go to her birthday dinner last night wearing matching outfits with me– in public!!!).  We still butt heads on a regular basis, but the flare ups are brief and not accompanied by lingering resentment.

By no means do I feel like I have everything figured out.  I know that, as my daughter grows, the parenting challenges will only continue and increase (and matching outfits will exist only in my memory. . .) .  But I am deeply grateful for the relationship we have today and for the possibility that I can keep growing and maturing right along with her.

dog

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We just welcomed a new addition to our family.

This is Sinjin — a two-year old terrier-poodle mix (or “terridoodle” — there’s a name for everything!) that we adopted yesterday from the Amanda Foundation.  As I write this, I can still feel the anxiety in my chest over the fact that we welcomed another dependent creature and additional chaos (and mess) into our house.  However, I also feel slightly exhilarated by having let go of some control in favor of the joy, companionship and love of a pet. Each time my son says “Mommy, I’m soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo glad we have him” [he insisted that I use exactly that number of “o”s], I am grateful that I chose to lean into the discomfort of this one rather than play it safe.

At a deeper level, in the last 24 hours, this dog has shown me a glimpse of just how much control I actually cling to.

Woof!