Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

That Silly Little Sleep Smile September 13, 2014

It’s back. And in a way, so am I.

After a several month hiatus, I might dare say the snuggle master otherwise known as dear baby Carter has returned. Not only that, but the revival has brought with it another thing of the (not-so-distant) past. The silly little sleep smile that first brought a joyful tear to mom’s eyes all those months ago has returned to Carter’s cuteness repertoire.

Apparently mom first noticed it as she rocked Carter to sleep last night, and it happened again tonight. It’s nothing I could see from my vantage point (especially since it was dark), but just hearing her talk about it so fondly, as if it was something she thought she might have lost touch with forever, really brought home something for me. 2014-04-23 21.13.34 20140609_095937

I was being rather aloof for a few months there. All of the time I’d spent in my little doggie life dreaming about what it would be like to have my very own little person became a reality for which I don’t think I was adequately prepared. I had envisioned the games of fetch and running around together in my backyard paradise. I hadn’t exactly imagined the loud noises (which all amplify with my fine-tuned doggie hearing) and the fur and tail pulling (ouch!). I also didn’t realize especially my mom could love something more than she loved me. (Other than dad, obviously).

But alas, since the day he was born, mom will tell anyone who will listen about how she never knew she could love something so little so much. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for her. I’m happy she’s so happy. She’s a completely different (more genuinely joyful) person than she was when I started this blog all of those months ago.

I think it’s probably something every fur baby who preceded the first child in a forever home comes across. The reality is I’m no longer top dog around here. And, while that has taken some getting used to (primarily by means of me hiding out in various locations where people aren’t in my forever home) I think I’m over it.

That silly little sleep smile is back. And in a way so am I. I realized it tonight as I curled up on the rug in Carter’s room I know is there specially for me. I could tell mom was seeing that silly little sleep smile because her smile (and her happy tears) gave it away. I’m not doing anyone any favors by hiding away. Ultimately all I’m doing is missing the joyful moments that make the chaotic ones worth living. That ends today.

 

 

Labor of Love September 1, 2014

It’s official. The cheese has fallen off my dear forever mom’s cracker. Truth be told, it’s been coming on for a while. Eight months ago yesterday, she was ending her torturous journey of pregnancy with the pinnacle of labor and delivery. Eight months ago, she and dad brought home dear baby Carter. Eight months ago he was a little 20.5 inches 7 pound ounces of a bundle otherwise known as joy. Eight months ago he cried all night every night for  weeks. And eight months ago it started.

All In the EyesMom wants another little person. She wants another teeny tiny snuggle bug. Eight months later, Carter isn’t so snuggly any more. It’s gotten worse since he’s been crawling all over the place and pulling himself up on anything vertical. Snuggles are a thing of the past for him, at least for now. I’m sure that’s not the only reason mom wants another little person (I think she has said something about the sibling relationship), but it seems too small a reason for me. Because dad and I think she’s absolutely nuts.

Sure, we’ve had it pretty easy with Carter. He slept through the night early, picked up a daily routine quickly and is generally in a fairly happy mood. Teething hasn’t been easy on the poor little guy, but he seems to be moving along with that as well as to be expected. But another one?

I think mom must be forgetting her battle bra royale (which continues on a daily basis), and the breakdowns about clothing and the back pain and the rib pain and all the pain she experienced throughout pregnancy. If she’s not forgetting that, she certainly must be forgetting the 16 hours she spent in labor to deliver dear baby Carter into the world. Or the painful recovery afterward, made more complicated by the incessant lack of sleep.

Or maybe not. Today I realized maybe she does remember it. All of it. Maybe that’s why she wants to do it again. For her, it was all a labor of love. For her, it is a labor of love. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still with dad on this one. I think one little person is plenty around here. But I think I can at least acknowledge where she’s coming from. She’s thinking with her heart instead of her mind. She’s remembering the more effort you put into something the more you usually get out of it. The more it means to you.

I don’t know what the future holds in this regard. I probably won’t for a while. But I do know this is yet another reason to feel blessed that I have landed in the forever home I have. There is certainly no shortage of love around here. Even if it is a little crazy sometimes.

 

The New Normal January 31, 2014

This I did not expect. Or at least not to the extent to which it’s happened. Change. From the ground up, change has been the name of the game in the Schmidt household for the last month. One month ago today, my little person entered the world. Happy One Month!

This Boppy Thing is for me right?I thought I was ready. From the gadgets scattered all over the house (most of which I didn’t understand) to the stacks of baby books I helped mom page through, we were set. But I was wrong. What I wasn’t expecting was admittedly the most obvious of things. Change. To my days. To my nights. My life as I knew it has not been the same.

We canines are creatures of habit. We love our routines. Prior to baby Carter’s arrival, I had come quite accustomed to the everyday routine around here. That has all been thrown to the wayside for the last four weeks or so, and I can’t say I liked it at first.

But today I occurred to me. Dad asked if I wanted to go on a car ride, my first with my little person and my forever people. It was a short ride involving the thing my people call errands, but it meant the whole wide world to me that I was invited along to enjoy the occasion.

That’s when my heart and mind came together in the realization that it’s going to be okay. This is our new normal. We’ve settled into new habits and new routines. There are remnants of the time before that have melded seamlessly with all that has changed. Sleep is still tough to come by (for all of us), but most other things have hit a stride. And my people are happy (albeit overtired) so that means I am happy.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change,” American self-help writer suggests.

I’ve never been that big a fan of change. I wasn’t expecting it, wasn’t prepared for it, and now that it is happening, I can’t say I liked it at first. But one month ago today, my life changed forever. We may not be getting much sleep. And literally everything about our routine has been uprooted and updated. But this new normal looks pretty good from where I’m sitting. Change. From the ground up, it’s not so bad after all.

 

Mind Over Matter January 14, 2014

We thought we were so smart. Reading all those books, blogs and message boards. Doing all that research. Getting the nursery ready. Well, mom did at least. I knew better. I knew that baby Carter would write his own book. And he has not disappointed.

Me and My BuddyHis nights and days are flip flopped. Sometimes he cries when there is nothing to cry about. And then he smiles in his sleep about who knows what. I’ll be honest. I know nothing about babies. Absolutely nothing, other than what I’ve heard my forever mom and dad discuss between themselves, and the odds and ends advice they’ve gotten from the visitors in the last couple of weeks.

But I do know this. From what I can tell, my dear little person is every bit of the blessing I knew he would be. He is strong. He is healthy. He sleeps enough. Mom and dad love him. He’s pretty darned great. And I’m proud of him. I’m proud to call him my puppy brother.

I was thinking about this today as we had more visitors who had all kinds of advice for mom. I watched as she soaked it in. I saw the determination in her eyes as she even put a couple of the tips into action at bedtime tonight. She wants so badly to do everything right.

And I want so badly to tell her she can’t. She will mess up. I know because she made her fair share of mistakes with me (don’t tell her I told you). But look at me. I turned out all right. And Carter will too.

As British politician Sir Winston Churchill suggested “success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” It doesn’t matter what all those books, blogs and message boards say. Mom won’t do everything right. But she has courage. That’s what matters to me.

 

Can’t Take Me With You December 12, 2013

Sleep has become a hot ticket item in the Schmidt house lately. The grunts and groans mom makes have increased in frequency and intensity. Something called indigestion has taken over mom’s life (or so she says). And it all has me a little bit jumpy.

Which way to the hospital?Until today. Today mom and dad went to that place called the doctor and got some good news. The baby is not in mom’s ribs anymore! In fact, my future little person has moved down into a position that is apparently quite safe for delivery.

They were talking in a bunch of numbers (something about centimeters and percentages and measurements) but it’s all Greek to me. What I gathered from the mood was this was all good news. So I should have been thrilled. Instead I felt a little betrayed.

Earlier today I wandered my way into the bag for the hospital. The good news is it is all packed up and ready to go. The bad news is there’s no room for me to be in it. I wouldn’t expect to be because of safety issues, but I realized today that’s not the real problem. The real problem is there is no room for me at the hospital either. No doggies allowed. How am I supposed to protect mom and the little person (and, let’s be honest, dad) if I am stuck at home? They rescued me. They are my people. I would be lost without them.

All of this sent me into what I guess you could call a doggie panic attack this afternoon while I waited for my people to return from the doctor. It was the closest I’ve ever come to doing something naughty (mom did leave those shoes by the back door that would have been mighty tasty). But I resisted the urge and I am so glad I did. Because when they returned with all of this good news I realized there will be no shortage of joy when they leave me behind to go to that hospital place.

And it wasn’t too long after they finished reminiscing about how soon everything will change that I saw it. A picture of me had made it’s way into the overnight bag. I don’t know how I’d missed it earlier. There I was in all my goofy glory, smiling at nothing in particular. And I felt relieved. Because I might not be able to accompany them, but I will certainly be there in spirit.

 

Forever Starts Now November 26, 2013

It was no louder than a quiet whisper. And it’s impossible to explain what exactly it sounded like. I might have even imagined it. At least that’s what my head says. My heart, on the other hand, believes it to be true. I think I heard the baby today.

There we were, my forever mom and I, on the couch together. I was being what she fondly refers to as a snuggle bug when it happened. I don’t know if it was the heartbeat or a cry or what exactly I was hearing. But it was foreign to me and it was definitely coming from mom’s tummy. So I told my mind to shut up and let my heart do the thinking in that moment. It was the baby. My little person. Communicating. With me.

 All I could do was listen.Hi Baby

It came at just the right time, too. A friend of mom’s visited us today and said something that had been bothering me. “Just wait, little buddy, soon enough it’s not going to be about you anymore.” It’s not going to be about me? Well that simply won’t do. I felt my heart giving way to that all-too-familiar fear that I indeed will be replaced in the hearts of my people by this little person. That I won’t matter anymore.

Then it happened. I heard that little person and I knew mom’s friend had been right. It’s not going to be about me anymore. It’s going to be about us. Our family. I can handle that. And how blessed I am to start that relationship off on the right paw as early as this! Mom will be 33 weeks pregnant this week, and so far the only way she and dad have been able to hear the baby is through some sort of special machine they have at that doctor place.

It was pretty quiet and muffled and I honestly might have imagined it all. But us canines can hear in the ultrasound range (as much as three times better than humans). And I realized as I listened to whatever it was I was hearing just how blessed I am. I’ve said before how badly I want to be this little person’s best friend forever. The baby may not be here yet, but something certainly is. Friendship. Forever starts now.

 

Wonder of Wonders November 23, 2013

Grunting. Groaning. Grimacing. Mom has been doing a whole lot of these things lately. “Don’t mock me,” she said tonight (when dad started teasing her about the proceeding grunt), “I’m growing a person here.”

Apparently that person is making basic things-like breathing-very challenging these days. And something has caused the ribs on her right side to be in a great deal of pain. Her doctor person has said this “popped rib” could be caused by a myriad of things relating to the pregnancy, including (but not limited to) the fact that baby Schmidt is currently sideways. My future little person is sideways and kicking on mom’s ribs from the inside.

JoyIt all sounds so awful. And it is painful to watch. Again dad and I stand by, longing to help somehow, but knowing there is nothing we can do. Until today. Today we were all reminded what is happening (albeit it uncomfortable right now) is a pretty spectacular miracle.

A banner told me so. “A Little Miracle,” it read. It was part of the decorations at grandma’s house for the baby shower, which I now know is different from the shower in the bathroom where my people clean themselves. (I was in quite the quandary the last time my people left to go to a shower).

But I’ve since learned my lesson. This is a different kind of shower. This is a type of showering of love on a person (or people) celebrating something special. This is a baby shower. And this time I even got to participate! It was very different than my last baby shower experience, when I relied only on the stories my people shared with each other afterward to understand the happenings of the day. This time I witnessed games and presents and (most importantly) joy. From the ground up, it was everywhere today.

It didn’t take long for me to realize today was about more than the bundle of joy. It was a celebration of the miracle of life. I know it hasn’t felt much like a miracle lately with all the grunting, groaning and grimacing going on. But it’s not about that. It’s about the miracle. The life. My mom is indeed eight months into growing a person. And from what I can tell as an observer it’s not an easy job. American author Norah Ephron went as far as to suggest “if pregnancy were a book they would cut the last two chapters.”

I may not be the one going through it (watching it is painful enough for me), but I can honestly say I can’t even consider cutting the last two chapters. Because it’s a miracle. It’s life. The end is the beginning. And I can’t wait for it to start.

 

Walk the Walk November 19, 2013

It doesn’t matter whether you have two legs or four. Body language says a lot. I know it is often referred to as nonverbal communication, but my time as a ground-level observer of people has taught me how loudly silence speaks. And if I’m going to talk the talk, I had best walk the walk.

Take today, for example. There I was, soaking in the sun in my (albeit chilly) backyard paradise when my lead (the one that functions primarily as a deterrent to my own canine version of attention deficit disorder) snapped.

It wasn’t my doing – the material simply died of old age. And in those few seconds the world seemed to come to a complete halt around me. My heart raced. This was my moment. If I wanted, I could take off. Explore the world. I could find my way back, right? Body language

That’s when it happened. I closed my eyes for a second and relived the beautiful exchange between my forever people a few days ago when dad finally felt the little person kicking. “Hey there little guy,” he said to mom’s tummy, “I can’t wait to meet you.” Life. From the ground up, it was embodied in the body language of that moment. From the look on their faces to that little person kicking away, so much was said with no words at all.

Body language has been speaking up around here lately. So today I decided to join the conversation. I took a stand today, in doing what I hope made a very important point to my people. They are my people and I never want to risk losing them for something as silly as an adventure outside my backyard paradise.

Instead, I wandered myself to the back door like nothing had happened, business as usual. Mom wasn’t home from that place called work yet, but dad was. And when he saw me standing there, severed from my lead and patiently waiting to be let back into my forever home, it happened again. Joy. From the ground up, I felt it coming from my forever dad. And the best part was he didn’t have to say a word.

 

As The World Turns November 13, 2013

That didn’t take long. Maybe my people heard me somehow. Or maybe I heard myself. Either way, I have good news to report. I was in the wrong to have any doubt in my forever people not having room enough in their hearts for me and the new little person. I am again secure with my place in my forever home.

Less than a week ago, I acknowledged I was starting to get nervous about being replaced in the hearts of my forever people by my little person. I feared there wouldn’t be enough love to go around anymore. I let negativity into my heart. All because of a failed game of fetch.

Now I know how silly that was of me to feel that way. And it only took a car ride. It was dad’s idea to bring me along, and (as usual) I didn’t care where we were going. So you can imagine my increased level of enthusiasm when I heard we were going baby shopping. I was going baby shopping! I was being included in a trip to Babies ‘R Us, which mom now swears by as the destination for all things baby. I was definitely disappointed to find I could not actually go in when we got to the store (no doggies allowed), but I got over it right quick.Think with the Heart

It was only a car ride. But to me it was more. Because I was included. That’s what mattered. It wasn’t the car ride itself, but the feelings it evoked that turned my world around.

“People mistakenly assume that their thinking is done by their head,” proposed international spiritual leader Anthony de Mello, “it is actually done by the heart which first dictates the conclusion, then commands the head to provide the reasoning that will defend it.”

I don’t think my people miraculously heard my thoughts on being replaced. I think I heard myself. It doesn’t take much to slip into a negative way of thinking, but I found the silver lining. It doesn’t take much to bring us back to the sunny side of the street either. Because oftentimes it’s not what’s in our mind that matters. It’s what’s in our heart.

 

 

Battle Bra Royale November 10, 2013

It started with a bra. Then one became three. Three became six. Soon the carnage was all over the bedroom floor. Bras. All over the place. And mom. In tears. Inconsolable tears.

So I did what any dog would do. I grabbed myself one of the bras and swung it around to entice mom into a game of tug of war. Surely that would cheer her up. I was thrilled when she took the bait and grabbed the other end. But that was where the fun stopped. The game didn’t last long at all, mostly because we ripped the bra straight in half. I was about to grab another one and start again, but that’s when the sobbing started.I like tug of war

I suppose it was only a matter of time until Battle Baby Bump Royale reared its head again. Except this time, it was worse. A lot worse. This time, it was my mom versus her bras. And the bras won. That’s right, folks. Battle Bra Royale has now commenced at the Schmidt household. It all started off innocent enough, with mom making a stop at Soma (which what would become the first of many different bra stores) on her way home from that place called work the other day.

Joy became her when she came home with her purchase. But the next morning that game of emotional tug of war began again. The dream bra was no more. It had become a nightmare, digging and rubbing into her in all the wrong places. That’s when the crying started. She soldiered herself off to the place called work anyway, only to return home briefly before heading back again. This is when I tried to console her with my games…and failed miserably.

I think it happened overnight. The impossible became possible. There’s no politically correct way to say this, so I’ll just come out with it. Mom has big boobs. Larger than average, by far. And that was pre-pregnancy. Now? Well, apparently three different stores couldn’t help her. They are that large. But just as any good game of tug of war too must come to an end, I am relieved to report this story has a happy ending.

Two painfully emotional days – and four different stores – later, she finally returned home last night with success. The battle has ended. Mom has emerged victorious in her battle of the bras. And I think there is something to be learned from the battle scars. Sometimes the silliest things play tug of war with our emotions. In the moment, the culprit can be hard to recognize. But we can rise above. We can persevere.

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that?” questioned Nobel-prize winning physicist Marie Curie. “We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe we are gifted for something and this thing must be attained.”

It started with a bra. But it doesn’t end there. Mom has been gifted with something pretty special. She’s gifted with the miracle of life that is pregnancy. And when she meets that little person in a mere matter of weeks, I know that’s when the battles won’t matter any more. Because that’s when the war really will be won.