Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

A Change of Scenery October 30, 2014

I shouldn’t complain. It has been weeks, months maybe, since we last had something like this happen around here. But that doesn’t make it any less real when you’re living it. It certainly didn’t change anything about mine and mom’s reaction to it. You’d think we would be used to it by now. Trained for action, so to speak. Truth be told, I don’t think a person is ever really prepared to deal with what happened today.

The WatchdogThe funny thing is it only lasted an hour and a half. Relatively speaking, that’s not that long. In spite of relativity, I will tell you it felt like an eternity. Carter was unhappy. He was crying, real baby tears, and screaming at the top of his tiny baby lungs. I know this comes from a fairly compact dog that has a surprisingly intimidating bark, but I can’t believe how loud a sound such a small little person can make. And for how long.

Mom tried everything. He wasn’t hungry. He had a clean diaper. He seemed tired, so she put him down for a nap, which only made him scream louder. She let him cry a bit in his crib, thinking he’d fall asleep. No such luck. She rocked and swayed and cuddled him, but he wanted nothing to do with any of that. She put him on the floor to explore and he sat there like a very loud and angry stone, tears continuing to fly all over the place.

There were brief moments of peace intermixed, mostly when he was up to no good. He threw his nuk in the toilet. He opened the door to the fridge. He pulled a few things out of the lazy Susan. And my goodness, few things in life make him as happy as the television remote. I don’t think he was doing any of this to be particularly sassy, because he is generally an incredibly well behaved little man.

Whatever the reason, mom wasn’t having it. She lost her cool and scolded him a bit louder than necessary a couple times more than necessary. The crying didn’t stop until dad got home and I am not exaggerating when I say it stopped like a light switch. Like a dark knight, dad walked in the door and Carter’s epic emotional roller coaster drew to an abrupt stop.

I thought mom would be upset, given that she just literally did everything in her power to bring that train to a halt for the last hour and a half. Instead she marveled at the quiet in the house. It’s a simple thing to be sure, but truly and honestly I could almost see the relief wash over her to see Carter smiling in dad’s arms.

I know I shouldn’t complain, so I won’t. Instead I will comment as the observer of life that I am. I’m no expert in baby behavior, but I think I learned something about human behavior today. Sometimes it can seem like the world is ending, but really you just need a change of scenery to put things in perspective. When the world is spinning, control over your perspective can be the thing that gives you sound footing. From the ground up, that’s what I’ve found at least.

 

Light Will Guide Me Home June 7, 2014

I don’t know much about the people thing called money. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – when it comes to all things green stuff, I’m pretty clueless. Maybe it’s that I don’t see colors all that well. But I do know it can’t buy happiness. It doesn’t truly “fix” anything.

I thought of it as mom sang dear baby Carter his favorite lullaby today. It might sound silly, but he loves this song. I think it’s because mom does, but (the way I see it) that’s how it should be. It started because mom was overtired in those early days when Carter came home and couldn’t remember a typical lullaby. There are a whole bunch she could have sang to him, but she chose this one. And five months later, it still seems to do the trick.

“When you try your best, but you don’t succeed,” croons Coldplay’s Chris Martin in “Fix You,” “When you get what you want but not what you need. When you feel so tired but you can’t sleep, stuck in reverse. When the tears come streaming down your face. When you lose something you can’t replace. When you love someone but it goes to waste, could it be worse? Lights will guide you home and ignite your bones and I will try to fix you.”

It’s the same Coldplay favorite mom and dad danced to last the night they were married. And it had taken on a whole new meaning now, thanks (I think) primarily to the lack of sleep referenced early in the song. But also thanks to the tears.

ChallengeThey happen around here from time to time. And If I thought mom (or dad’s very occasional) tears ripped my dear little doggie heart out, I had no idea what to expect. Carter’s tears, especially in those early days, tore my little doggie heart to pieces. I wanted nothing more than to do exactly as that Coldplay song said. I wanted to fix it.

While his moments of sheer and complete terror to the point of the kind of tears of the early days have gotten few and far between, I often seek refuge in the dark cover of the basement when it happens. But today as mom sang those words, the words of an unexpectedly perfectly fitting lullaby, to dear little Carter, it came to me.

I don’t know much about money. While I know it doesn’t buy happiness, if I were to someday come across a large some of money for some silly reason I know exactly what I would spend it on. I would fix as many people as possible. I would use it for scholarships or grants or foundations or whatever would help make the world get out of reverse. I know money probably can’t actually fix anything, but I would do what I could.

And if money doesn’t work, I know light will. Joy. From the ground up, I will find a way to make the crying stop. Babies, adults and elderly alike. That is my mission. I don’t have to know much about money to know that.

 

The Good Life April 24, 2014

I think it’s magic. To me there is really no other logical explanation. I’ve seen it happen in both my own life and the lives of others on occasions to frequent to count. Music. From the ground up, it touches the soul in a way words alone cannot.

I was reminded of this today when I heard a song by One Republic called “Good Life.” It’s all about the band’s real experiences travelling around the world and their ultimate realization of the good life. And it’s one of those songs that always gets my paws bouncing. It puts listeners into their own good life, just in listening to it. Listen to me

Which was kind of nice today. Because I’ll be honest. (Not that I’m not always honest, but you know what I mean). Today was not a good day. It was filled with tears and screams and everything negative one could possibly associate with time spent with a baby. Dear little Carter was in rare form today, and the implication was not a good one. Because when he’s that unhappy, mom is unhappy.

And here’s the thing – I know it is because dear little Carter is her baby and she wants him to be okay so it hurts her to see him so unhappy for so long. We are talking two hours of tears long. But she can’t. She can’t fix it. Sometimes there are just things you can’t fix. I think that’s what I learned today.

Because even I couldn’t fix the situation. This is not for lack of trying, mind you. Oh no. I pulled out the big guns. The more Carter screamed, the more mom cried, and the more I attempted to intervene. Attempted is the key word in the story, as I failed to evoke anything but frustration from my beloved forever mom.

Maybe it was because I was even more relentless with my positivity than Carter was with his screaming. It puzzled me at first, since it has always worked in the past. I did this thing where I paw at mom’s leg and sit and stare at her, and paw and stare, and paw and stare, and even jump at her – it did nothing but make matters worse. She just seemed more upset.

Then in happened. Magic. The song came on the radio and somehow the spirits lifted. Joy. From the ground up, it took the form of music today. And (even though it was something other than me causing it) I’m okay with that. Because today I was reminded of a pretty important lesson. The good life isn’t always the easy one. It’s the real one.

Oh, this has gotta be the good life
This has gotta be the good life
This could really be a good life, good life

Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/onerepublic/good-life-lyrics/#Fdd7HQaTuoUmQbJr.99

 

Stupid Is As Stupid Does February 25, 2014

I used to think it was pretty cool to be a know-it-all. Worse than that, I thought I did know it all. That is, until I realized I didn’t. The older I get, the more I realize how much there really is to learn. In reality, I know nothing in the greater context of everything.

This came to mind tonight as the story I was going to share shaped into something completely different. The evening started off better than most, with lots of laughter and love. Mom and dad enjoyed dinner together, after which dad showed an above average interest in spending time with baby Carter. He rocked him and talked to him and played with him. Meanwhile, Carter cooed and smiled and seemed to be having the time of his life while mom and I sat by and watched the scene unfold. It was like something from a movie.

Us Against The WorldUntil it wasn’t. None of us will ever know why it happened, but Carter started crying. Mom and dad ran through all the usual suspects – he’s not hungry because he just ate, he’s not wet because we just changed him, he doesn’t have a fever and all four limbs are still well attached. So what could possibly be wrong? It was kind of a devastating turn for the worse but I was still kind of surprised by what happened next. (Especially when you consider the truth – this is normal baby behavior. Every now and then they cry. It happens. We’ve been over this).

Tension built and they turned on each other. Mom and dad got upset. With each other. Even though I know (and they know) it was completely unnecessary for them to do so. In reality, they were simply sharing in frustration and confusion and exhaustion and it all just caught up with them. But I realized something. Dad said something he’s said more than once before about not being good with babies. About not knowing what he’s doing. To which mom responded that she doesn’t know what she’s doing either.

I’m hardly a know-it-all, but in this situation all I wanted to do was raise my little doggie paw to correct them both. They may not know everything about parenting a newborn. But they’re doing great. It’s okay not to know what you’re doing sometimes. It’s okay to learn as you go. And (perhaps most importantly) it’s a blessing that they have each other to learn with. They can work through challenges together and celebrate success together. They can learn together. And they have.

They did it again tonight when they brought the argument to a quick and (fairly) painless close. Because it’s not always about knowing it all.  Sometimes the smartest thing you can do is admit you don’t know everything.

 

Same In Any Language February 10, 2014

It happens at least a couple dozen times a day. I wish I could speak human. And, usually within a minute or two, something reminds me it’s okay I can’t. It’s an endless emotional game I play. Lately it’s gotten worse. The strangest thing about it? There aren’t even words involved.

It’s all tears. Baby Carter cries for everything. When he’s hungry (which is a lot). When he wants to be held (which is a lot). When he’s gone to the bathroom (which is a lot). When he’s sleepy (which is a lot). Frankly, he cries. A lot. No more than the average baby (or so mom tells me). I’ve gotten better at tuning most of it out.My BuddyCrying

But today I realized something pretty important. It’s his language. It’s all he has right now. All I have is nonverbal communication. All he has is tears. So (when I’m not napping through it) I’ve been attempting to interpret the cries right along with my people. It’s been an interesting check of perspective, as I realize what its like to be so easily misunderstood.

And I wish (right along with my people) on a daily basis that I could translate. Or (better yet) that I could speak baby. But there was a moment today when I realized it’s okay that I can’t. Mom, Carter and I were cuddled up together in a cozy chair with the sun shining on us and I felt it. Love. From the ground up, I felt it through our snuggles. No words (or tears) necessary. And it happened without a translator. Because love is the same in any language.

 

All Forward Motion February 3, 2014

Motion. It never ceases to amaze me how much of it I can witness from my stationary spot on the couch. Or the bed. Or just about anywhere in my forever home. All-the-while, there I lay, peaceful and serene amidst the chaos. It’s been especially interesting since baby Carter came along five weeks ago. Motion

Instead of the activity happening exclusively at night (after my people returned from that place called work), it happens around the clock these days. Nothing much has changed for me in this respect – generally I still fulfill my role as the observer/protector/sleep champion of the family.

But today I noticed something in particular from my perch on the couch. Mom has discovered a method to the madness when it comes to calming dear baby Carter when he’s crying (a sound to which I have come quite accustomed). Movement. Any kind of movement. So she walks with him up and down the hallway, and bounces him on her lap, and rocks with him in the nursery. Anything to keep him moving.

In my lazy haze, I found this especially thought provoking in today’s glow of the afternoon sun. Sunshine seeped in through the blinds throughout the house, bringing with it a sense of warmth to soothe the soul in what promises to be a long winter ahead (we can thank Punxsutawney Phil for that). Mom was holding baby Carter close as she rocked in the rocking chair. That’s when I felt it. Peace. From the ground up, there was a sense of peace in the Schmidt home today.

And not just from the precious moments of love radiating brighter than the sun’s rays. It’s a funny thing, but I find there is peace in motion. It’s not always pretty. Sometimes it’s a complete mess. But motion, progress, and all it represents can bring with it the truest and most sincere sense of peace.

“A movement is only composed of people moving,” suggested American activist Gloria Steinem. “To feel its warmth and motion around us is the end as well as the means.” Motion. From the ground up, I felt its power today. And from its power I felt peace.

 

The Life of A Newborn January 8, 2014

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 10:39 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Poop. Feed. Sleep. Repeat. I know this is what people perceive to be the life of a dog, but I beg to differ. This is the life of a newborn. Baby Carter turned one week and one day old today and I’ve definitely noticed some changes to how we do things around here.

Screaming CarterA pattern has taken shape in the Schmidt home that revolves around this (albeit simple) regime. Poop. Feed. Sleep. Repeat. Sometimes it is like clock work, repeating every three or four hours. Other times it varies, usually picking up in frequency. This tends to happen between about 7 p.m. and 12 a.m., which makes much of anything I used to do with my people a secondary priority. It also makes blogging quite challenging because I require help from mom for that.

And whoever said this late night feeding thing is for the dogs didn’t know what they were talking about. It’s not for the dogs. And it’s not for the people either. Yet the four of us are in this together, and with each feeding we all stumble through the house to make sure Carter’s cycle is completed before we stumble back to bed.

It’s all a little monotonous, and last night I found myself giving in to the negativity fed by the repetitive cycle of sleep-related doom. It was 3 a.m. and we were all up. Carter was screaming (as we’ve all come to know more likely than not signals the poop portion of the routine) and mom and dad were struggling to change his diaper (another thing about babies I don’t think I will ever understand). I was sitting on the little rug in the nursery watching the action. My head was almost as heavy as my eyes. I knew I was slouching over and I didn’t care.

In that moment both my forever mom and dad noticed my posture. Oh Wiles, mom said, you’re right there with us in this aren’t you?

Poop. Feed. Sleep. Repeat. Indeed, I am right there with them through this. There isn’t much I can do to help with any of it. (Other than alert my people when there is poop in the diaper before the screaming starts). But mom was right. I am right there with them through this. It’s the least I can do.