Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Nakie Baby Run January 21, 2015

It could be the belly that is somehow tiny and bulbous simultaneously. Or the bony knees that seem to bounce higher in the air than usual. Maybe it’s the sight of both sets of baby cheeks out there in the open.

Whatever the reason, there is a new thing in my forever home that is guaranteed to be an emotional game changer. And it’s been happening more and more frequently as dear baby Carter’s mobility evolves. The nakie baby run. From the ground up, few things evoke a response like the nakie baby run.Recylce This

It happened today when mom attempted a sleuth-like diaper change in an out-of-the-ordinary location in the house. I’m not sure what she was thinking since the child quite literally never stops moving. (The sitting down or crawling days are long gone now. These days, it’s more of a constant jog throughout the house.) She was also changing his water-soaked clothes, and I would swear he had his escape route planned from the minute that onesie got unsnapped. The second the diaper was off, he combat rolled out of the way and off he went. Belly. Knees. Cheeks. Laughter. So much laughter, from everyone involved.Carter

I (obviously) got involved, immediately assuming my play stance with him. We did a little jig, he and I, both in our birthday suits. More laughter.

Finally, as mom composed herself enough to wipe the (laughter-related) tears from her eyes, she was able to wrangle him in for long enough to diaper and dress him some clean clothes.

And, just like that, the moment passed. But as I thought about it, and all the joy that such silliness can bring, I realized maybe it’s all of it. The belly and the knees and the cheeks. It’s all a part of what seems to bring out the inner child (or in my case, puppy) in all of us. I don’t care what anybody says about being grown up or mature. Sometimes that inner child needs to get out of those clothes and dance around nakie with one arm waving free. Figuratively speaking, of course.

 

Silly Little Games December 1, 2014

I feel like I should be a little hurt. Something has been happening pretty frequently around here lately, and I can’t say I particularly appreciate the implications. Mostly because it is complete and utter nonsense. I would never in a million years purposely hurt my dear little Carter. Yet I am fairly convinced my beloved forever people think I would.

There’s this game we play together that makes mom and dad uncharacteristically anxious about Carter’s physical proximity to me. I think it’s funny. Carter thinks it’s funny. My people? Not so much.Best Buddies

It all started when Carter began assimilating what toys are mine and what toys are his. He’s even taken to handing (or sometimes throwing) me toys he knows are mine. We have developed an unspoken truce between us to respect each other’s things. In general, I stay away from all of his noisy, lighted button-y things and he stays away from Mrs. Prickles. In general.

That is, with the exception of our game. He will give me a toy, I will play with it, I make playful noises as he tries to get it back, and he laughs. It’s all totally harmless. Except that I guess my noises sound intimidating to my people, which inevitably brings our fun to a sudden and dramatic halt.

Truth be told, I love that I have found another way to make Carter giggle. His laughter makes my people happy, which in turn brings me the sincerest kind of joy. And in my own little way, I feel like this game allows us to “talk” to each other. But my people don’t like it and today I stopped to contemplate why.

Mostly I feel like I should be a little hurt. Because I’m a believer in the words of Scottish poet George MacDonald, who once said “to be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.” And, in most ways, I know without a doubt the trust they have in their hearts for me.

So I tried to put myself in their shoes. To see where they’re coming from. And, as much as I trust them with all of my heart, I realized exactly why they feel the way they do. Because that’s how I feel about them. If anything, or anyone, made a sound (or action) like I do when Carter and I are playing our game, I would probably attack them. I love my people too much to ask questions. That’s how they feel for Carter.

I suppose I could let myself feel hurt over this. Instead, I feel blessed. Because just as I know they feel that way about Carter, I believe they feel that way about me. Between that, and knowing I never would dream of hurting anyone in my forever family, I’d say I’m in pretty good shape.

 

The Proverbial Dog House July 28, 2014

There really is no excuse for what happened this morning. One minute I was happily exploring my the subconscious otherwise known as my personal dreamland (which today was filled with peanut butter rolled in bacon). The next minute, my tail was being pulled HARD, effectively bringing my delicious dreamy feast to a startling end. And what happened next is something I can’t take back.

I gave dear baby Carter three tries to back away from the tail. One small snarl, followed by a slightly louder and more fierce snarl, followed by the angry nip. It all happened so fast. I didn’t know the third tug came from mom’s hand instead of Carter’s. Clearly she was testing me to gauge my reaction the third time. And I failed. Miserably. Say a Little Prayer

My reaction wasn’t nearly fierce enough to hurt mom, but I realized moments later in the bitter aftermath it probably could have hurt Carter. Pretty badly, in fact. Because mom was mad. And by mad, I mean she was yelling and screaming at me like I’ve never seen her yell and scream at me before. Ever. “BAD DOG, WILEY!” she yelled. “BAD DOG! BAD DOG! BAD DOG! THAT COULD HAVE BEEN CARTER’S FACE!” It went on and on for what seemed like an eternity. I think people forget sometimes that we move along in our minds well before we do in our hearts. But that’s neither here nor there.

The truth is simple. I screwed up. I wasn’t thinking, but that is no excuse. There is no excuse for what happened this morning. And there is punishment in knowing I can never take back that moment. I have to earn back the trust of my dear forever mom, which is something I held so dear. But that’s not even the worst of it. The worst of it is not the anger or the yelling. It’s the disappointment. I could see it in her eyes (which almost instantaneously welled up with tears) and I could hear it in her voice. She was disappointed in me. And that is truly heartbreaking.

But today, as I recommit and ask God for better patience with the ever-more-mobile dear baby Carter, I pause to reflect on the words of well-known American politician Martin Luther King Jr., who said “there can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.”

Thank goodness for that because I think I’ll be spending a little time in the proverbial dog house for a while.

 

On Top of the World June 28, 2014

It’s not that much unlike when mom says “Wiley, up.” I know what to expect when that happens, just as I do when she says “it’s dance party time” to dear baby Carter. It happens at about the same time every day, and I can’t help but pause to pay respect to the progress we’ve made with this thing called routine around here.

A few months ago, it was pretty laborious. Eat, sleep, poop, repeat. I speak, of course, of the perpetual motion of the first few months of a little person’s life. We adjusted, we planned accordingly, and we have moved on. Don’t get me wrong, routine still (and probably always will) play a key role around here. But it’s different now. Now, it involves so much more.

Like dance parties. It doesn’t happen every day because of mom and that thing called work, but it happens often enough for it to be routine. And it happened again today. “It’s dance party time,” mom said. And he may only be just shy of six months old, but I know in my heart that Carter knew exactly what would come next.Partners in crime

Into his jumperoo he went and the dance party began. Which basically consists of mom dancing around Carter’s room like a ninny while Carter jumps happily in his jumperoo. Jump, jump, jump. From the ground up, this has become the equivalent of joy, joy, joy around here.

The best part (at least in my opinion) is that for some completely unknown and random reason, there is one song that seems to always happen during this special time. “I’m on top of the world,” sings Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Evans. Mom dances, Carter jumps. And my heart sings.

Joy. From the ground up, I noticed something while this happened today. There is that special “Joy” sign in Carter’s room that defines joy. As that is what I strive to do with each and every day, I ponder it pretty frequently.

So today when that song came on the radio and mom danced and Carter jumped (and smiled all-the-while), I lived one of the definitions of joy. Joy: “a source or cause of delight.” And I realized it’s not that unlike when mom says “Wiley, up.”

I know what to expect when that happens, just as I do when she says “it’s dance party time” to dear baby Carter. Not only does this mean there is silly dancing and jumping in the near future. But also joy in its purest form.

 

 

So Happy Together June 2, 2014

It is honestly probably one of the last words I would have ever thought would be used to describe me. But apparently it’s true. I’ve heard more than one person say it and it’s time to man (er, dog?) up and accept the truth. I’ve been a little withdrawn lately.

Ever since my forever people brought my little person home, things have been different. I’ve spoken before about how I’m not really jealous of dear baby Carter. I love him more than words can say. But lately he’s been causing me new kinds of pain I would prefer to avoid if at all possible. Carter and I

In recent days he has discovered a new sound his voice can make, for example. It’s an incredibly high-pitched screeching sound, similar to a chirping bird. Except once he starts making it, the sound can go on for an hour at a time. Also, now that he’s discovered how to reach for things he has been grabbing my fur. Hard. Every time he gets a good hold, he yanks a good deal of fur out with it. And it hurts.

But I heard something today that made my heart pause a second. It was on the moving picture window on a television show called “Lost,” which I understand was quite a phenomenon in pop culture a few years ago. A man named Jack, who appeared to be some sort of leader, said it. “If we don’t learn to live together, we will die alone.”

At first I was a bit puzzled by the thought. It sounded so negative through the eyes of your resident doggie optimist. But the more I thought about it, the silver lining became apparent. And then it happened.

The screeching and grabbing happened simultaneously with one of his biggest smiles yet. In that moment, I was reminded what this is all about. Joy. From the ground up, that is what I do get from my time together with dear baby Carter. For that I can learn to live with the screeches and the clumps of fur I’m starting to lose on a daily basis.

 

On Making Mistakes May 8, 2014

It’s happened to the best of us. We looked back on something and thought to ourselves “self, that was not the best idea.” That was absolutely the wrong thing to do in that situation. That was a mistake.

But as I am in the business of not having any regrets, I have come to view such things as important (and almost necessary) pieces of anyone’s life puzzle. I do say this with some authority in the matter, as I (not unlike most characters) have a past worth considering. I’ve made questionable decisions.

My Napping BuddyLike the day I defended myself (and my dear little person at the time named Jo) against the man with the leather belt. And the time I jumped the fence in my attempt to escape from my first (failed) adoptive home in Port Washington. Or, most recently, the time I chased that rabbit around the neighborhood of my grandma’s house the night before mom had baby Carter. I gave my poor beloved forever mom an emotional heart attack that night that I still wish I could take back.

I’m not sure why I relived all of these images in my daydreams today. Or at least I wasn’t until I noticed something dear Carter did. One minute he was there in his jumping gismo, happy as ever. The next, he was not. He tried to get his big ole baby foot out of the jumper and ended up in a very uncomfortable position. Not sure whether he’ll make that mistake again.

But I suppose that is indeed the point of it all. Because let’s be honest. It has happened to the best of us. We’ve all done things in life that we find questionable later. Things we wish we could take back. Things we deem to be mistakes.

But, as usual, I agree with Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, who challenged that “a life making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life doing nothing.” I think sometimes we need to make these mistakes to remind ourselves where we are at in life. We need to make these mistakes to remember the lessons from them. We need to make these mistakes to live.

 

Little Hands and Feet May 5, 2014

In actuality, they’re not really that little. At least as far as averages may be concerned. But my dear little person and his little hands and feet amaze me every day. While I do still believe the eyes are the gateway to the soul, lately I’ve noticed hands and feet do their own kind of talking.

I speak, of course, of dear baby Carter, whose lust for life has reached a very interesting place of late. He’s found his feet. And, as it turns out, they are for so much more than standing. Who needs rattles when you have feet to play with? This child is so enamored with his ten little toes you would think each contained a million dollars.Ah. Feet.

Not only that, but he has taken to staring at things with a curious look on his face. Like paper. Or his bottle. Or even me. It’s almost like he’s piecing all sorts of puzzles together in his head every moment of every day. It doesn’t matter how big or small or insignificant the discovery may seem – to him it’s a whole new world filled with joy and adventure.

It’s a thought process I decided today I could learn something pretty important from. While I know ignorance does not always bliss, there is something to be said for finding renewed life in such seemingly insignificant things. Everything is new and exciting. Even his not-so-little hands and feet.

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered,” suggested Italian physicist and philosopher Galileo Galilei, “the point is to discover them.” I found myself feeling oddly envious of dear little Carter’s curiosity today, until I reminded myself of all we have to discover together and all the joy these discoveries will bring. It’s like a fresh new perspective on life. And I can’t wait.

 

 

Daily Dose of Nonsense April 10, 2014

Human communication never ceases to amaze me. Sometimes not saying anything at all says more than words. Other times words themselves bring conversation to a halt. Not to mention the nonverbal communication. And the emotions behind it all.

Me and My BuddySo I have to admit that it has been pretty interesting watching my little person develop a sense of language. Starting before he was born when he would kick my forever mom in the ribs. I think he was saying he wanted out. Then, for the first few months of his life, he has primarily cried to communicate all things.

That stopped today. Well, not exactly. The crying is still in the repertoire, but the vocabulary seems to be expanding. It’s been happening more frequently over a span of the last few weeks. But today I am sure of it. Dear baby Carter was, in his 3-month-old baby way, talking. To mom. He was looking her in the eyes and speaking. To which she would respond and he would respond and so on. Sure, mom’s words were coherent (and his were not), but that’s no matter.

Nonsense. From the ground up, that was my source of joy today. Which got me to thinking how nice it would be to find some sort of incoherent nonsense in all of our days. Some sort of absolute silliness that makes no sense at all other than that it is our daily dose of nonsense.

Suddenly I believed the words of Austrian-British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein who said that “if people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done.”

Because those precious moments made mom cry those same tears I used to lick off her face when she was pregnant. Tears of joy. My favorite kind. I much prefer those tears to the ones little Carter makes sometimes. I’ve even been known to hide under the bed sometimes when he cries.

So today when he chose to use what will one day become his primary source of communication, I too felt a small bit of relief. And pride. And joy. From the ground up, it didn’t matter that it was complete and utter nonsense. It was joy embodied in screeches and babbles. It was another example of the wonder of human communication. It was life.

For a sample of the new little conversationalist: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=573841715697&l=3886000390073174814

 

Snuggles To The Rescue March 15, 2014

It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last. Joy. From the ground up, I’ve found it in one of its most simplest forms. And I feel a little bit guilty since I was a kind of resentful of it at first. Because I hated that it wasn’t me anymore. I was no longer the primary source of joy in my forever home. In a way, I have been replaced.

But today I realized that I’m okay with that. I still get plenty of cuddles. I still bring plenty of joy. But now it’s Carter’s turn to be the master of joy in our home. Over the last 10 weeks since he’s been around, I have taken the secondary role in the house. When people come to visit, it’s not me they are coming to see. It’s Carter. When people come to snuggle, it’s not me they are coming to cuddle. It’s Carter.

Tonight I heard the words spoken that I already knew to be true. “Carter is like an anti-depressant,” my mom’s friend Dorian said. “Who needs Xanax when you can hold a baby?” I’ve known the power of touch to be pretty special since I was a young pup. I love the power of a good cuddle, not just for me but for whoever I am cuddling. But to hear it spoken aloud that honestly, that openly, was truly refreshing.

I think that can be hard for people to do sometimes. To say what they are really feeling. Sometimes its hard enough to feel what they are really feeling, especially when it’s not something positive. Like when you’re lonely. Or sad. Or (gasp, I know it happens to everyone sometimes) depressed. But it takes a level of honesty to admit these things, and that is the same sort of openness that lets the good in. As tough as it can be to be emotionally vulnerable, being just that allows the good in with the bad.

I would know. It would be very easy to let all of this bother me. As if baby Carter is somehow stealing my joy mojo. Instead, I was reminded today that it brings me the sincerest form of joy. Because it’s that special kind of joy that warms an entire room. I’ve always believed joy is best when it is shared, and this is no exception to that rule. In a way I have been replaced. But I’m okay with that.

I think Elizabeth Green said it best. “Sometimes the most ordinary things could be made extraordinary, simply by doing them with the right people.”

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When We’re Having Fun March 7, 2014

I never knew why, but I’ve always had a respect for it. Which is funny, since the older I get, the more elusive it seems to get. Time. From the ground up, it has a way of standing still while at the same time flying by at the speed of light.

That is how the last nine weeks have felt for me. While I know Christmas is long behind us, it feels like yesterday we enjoyed good tidings of great joy that will be for all the people. It’s as if we just put the Christmas tree up and danced around to Christmas carols. It’s as if mom just told dad she was going into labor that fateful night. And then Carter was home and life changed forever.

But I realized today time has indeed passed. It hit me like the warmth of the spring air that we were teased with in Wisconsin today. After what has arguably been the most unbearable winter in recent history, it was almost 50 degrees outside. As I enjoyed the warm air blowing through my fur, I was reminded that spring is almost here. Time is moving forward even though it feels like it’s standing still.

This was confirmed tonight when my dear two-legged friend Dorian told my dear little person Carter to stop growing. “You’re getting way too big,” she said to him. “You need to stop that. Right now.” I know she jests, and yet there is an emotional seriousness to what she is saying that I’ve heard echoed all to often in similar words by mom.

They look forward to baby Carter growing up, and yet wish he could stay the same forever. Time. From the ground up, it stands still, and yet keeps moving. This is one of many reason why I respect it so much. Not a moment goes by that I don’t value the present of the present.

So today I start a new chapter of joy, from the ground up. And I do so with a thousand words. Pictures encapsulate the paradox of time standing still while it simultaneously flies by. So it is with pictures I shall speak.

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