Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Real Waiting Game February 24, 2015

And just like that it all felt real. To me, that is. I know it’s been very real to mom this whole time. And to dad more so after he and Carter watched in awe as the ultrasound took place. But to me it took longer, just like it did the first time.

I wondered all day what was inside the humongous box that arrived at my forever home this morning. I’m usually intrigued at such deliveries, but they are rarely this impressive in size. The delivery man even offered to bring it inside. So began the waiting game, as I wondered and puzzled at what could possibly be contained in such a large cardboard vessel. And patience is not a gift of mine. Somewhere Out There

My questions were answered not very long after dad returned from that place called work. With the help of a very curious dear baby Carter, he tore open the box to reveal several large pieces of wood. About an hour and a half later, voila! It all made sense. Everything pieced together into a beautiful crib for our new little person. Dad hung some of the art he and mom picked out for the room, too. And a mobile just like Carter’s (with a dog that looks just like me) was assembled.

Mom cried at the sight of everything starting to come together. Tears of joy. From the ground up, they are the only kind of tears I don’t mind seeing around my forever home. And in that moment, as I stood by her side in what was not all that long ago dear Carter’s room, it felt real for me.

In a few short months, a new little person will be sleeping in that crib. I can still picture the first time mom and dad carefully placed Carter in his crib. He looked so tiny then. Almost too tiny to be sleeping alone in such a big space. But he survived. And so will the new little person.

That wait to find out what was inside the box was nothing. Now the real waiting game begins for me.

 

 

My Newborn Baby Survival Kit March 1, 2014

I told you so. I don’t often say such things, but in this case I need to take credit where credit is due. I said it six months ago and I will say it again. Too much is too much when it comes to the ridiculously copious amounts of baby things people can buy these days.

In my opinion it’s an awful tirade on the hormonal instability of first-time expectant mothers who are by nature on a quest to nest. Sure, the purchase of baby things had a direct inverse relationship to the amount of doggie things coming through the door of my forever home. But that didn’t bother me like this does.The "stuff" and me Bumbo chair

Ultimately, it’s just stuff. That’s what dad said tonight as we got Carter ready for bedtime. If we’d only known what we really needed, he said. That is exactly true. But as life would have it, you often don’t know these things until you’re living through them. And while experience has demonstrated the importance of baby accoutrement like the Boppy pillow, sleep sacks, and sleepers that zip (rather than snap), I have developed my own list of necessities for surviving those crucial first weeks as a new parent.

1. Sleep. Get it when you can. It doesn’t matter if its five minutes or five hours. Every little bit counts. (Almost) everything else stems from this.

2. Patience. It’s happened to mom. It’s happened to dad. Sometimes there just isn’t enough patience to go around. But any time you can catch yourself and remember to be patient is better than a time you didn’t.

3. Love. I’m not talking puppy love. I’m talking the unconditional love us canines have so graciously mastered. It’s not always easy to speak and act in love when you’re overtired and hungry and can’t remember the last time you showered, but it is a worthwhile investment that pays priceless dividends.

4. Family. Whether they are blood relatives or family friends, it really does take a village. Also, it helps if this village brings food whenever possible. That’s the last thing on the mind of an overtired set of parents even though it’s entirely vital.

5. Joy. It’s the only defense against the stress.

Things you won’t find on this list? An extra dozen pacifiers. Or three different kinds of receiving blankets. Or even that silly Bumbo chair. And that’s just during pregnancy. Needs can blur with wants in any scenario life hands us. But regardless of where you are in your walk of life, the lesson remains the same. Needs and wants can get a little fuzzy sometimes, but the best things are those money can’t buy.

 

The Alien Visitor December 27, 2013

It’s about the right size. And it’s plush like my other toys. Except apparently it’s not for me. It’s for the baby. And I have to say, in my little doggie opinion it’s among the strangest things that has taken up residence in the nursery.

At first I wasn’t sure what to make of that crib contraption which will apparently keep me from cuddling with my new little person. Then I was thrown off by the big huge boxes labeled “diapers.” There are just so many! This baby couldn’t possibly require that many diapers. (Right?) Then came the little blue seahorse. At least that’s what my people call it. I call it the alien visitor, which I feel accurately reflects my denial to its presence.

It looks like something I’d love to sink my teeth into and give a good shake. Yet I can tell that is not going to earn me any brownie points any time soon. Because this is a toy for baby Schmidt, mom explained to me, not for doggies.Seahorse and I - We are not friends

There’s that darned phrase again. I know it all too well. Not for doggies. Well, at least in this case, it’s fine with me that this seahorse and I do not become friends. The toy is not of my concern.

I realized today (as I kept a safe distance from the wave-like sounds the seahorse was making) that can be said of any of the toys my little person will receive. I know there’s also a teddy bear that makes sounds and a little Scottie dog. But none of these things can come close to the relationship I plan to have with him or her.

We are going to laugh and run and play together. (All in due time, I know). We are going to take long walks together and I’m going to teach him or her games like pickle in the middle and chase. We are going to be best friends. I can feel it. And I can hardly wait.

“Friendship improves happiness and abates misery,” suggested Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero, “by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.” As frightening as it can be with all it’s different lights and sounds, that seahorse is more than a visitor. I think he’s staying a while. But that’s okay because I know in my heart he doesn’t have anything on me.

 

Bundle of Trouble November 7, 2013

It’s started. Just like Tramp said it would. Negativity is sneaking its way into my little doggie heart. And I don’t like it. Not one bit.

My people have left me at home two nights this week to go to something called baby class. They come back a few hours (which feel to me like a few days) later with an odd concoction of emotions weighing on their hearts. Excitement. Fear. Exhaustion. Happiness. It’s a lot for a little guy like me to handle at 9 p.m. on a weeknight.Thinking in the Nursery

So after they got home last night, I did what any dog would do. I tried to get a game of pickle in the middle going. Or fetch. Or chase. Something – anything –that will bring some emotional focus to the situation. And, let’s face it, I wanted a little attention.

I didn’t get it. No matter how hard I tried, both nights I went without my usual amount of love and playtime with my forever people. And it broke my little doggie heart. A conversation Lady had with Jock and Trusty in Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp” came to mind. Lady asked “what’s a baby?”

Jock and Trusty said they resemble humans (except they’re smaller), they walk on all fours, they beller a lot, they’re very expensive – and breakable – but they’re sweet.

“Just a cute little bundle of trouble,” Tramp chimed into the conversation. “Yeah, they scratch, pinch, pull ears…aw, but shucks, any dog can take that. It’s what they do to your happy home. Move it over, will ya, friend? Home wreckers, that’s what they are!”

Tramp spends the majority of the story trying to convince Lady to leave her family for a life of freedom and bliss because she will otherwise be replaced in the hearts of her people by this little bundle of trouble.

“A human heart only has so much room for love and affection,” he tells Lady. “When a baby moves in, the dog moves out.”

It’s started. Just like Tramp said it would. Negativity is sneaking its way into my little doggie heart. And I don’t like it. Not one bit. But I realized something as I gave up my attempts to play with my people this week.

It’s all too easy for me to start to slip into that way of thinking. And I’ve never been one to take the easy way out, so I don’t intend to start now. Instead, I shall prepare myself to find joy in these moments of emotional confusion my people are having. To embrace them with my whole doggie heart. Tramp may have been right about babies being bundles of trouble, but I know differently of my little person. He or she will be a little bundle of joy for my people, and (in turn) for me.

 

Great Expectations November 3, 2013

I’m not sure what I expected. We are a little more than seven months into this journey of life change (otherwise known as pregnancy) and I’ve noticed some patterns.

Feeling the LoveAlmost every time mom comes home from wherever those errand places are, she has some baby things. Diapers or wipes or onesies or sleepers. It’s like an addiction. I hear it’s called nesting and it’s normal. Meanwhile I find myself wondering whether mom realizes she will indeed still be able to leave the house after the baby is born. It’s not like the birth of my little person is the baby apocalypse.

Then there is dad. He is nesting in his own unique way. Projects. It’s become a weekly thing around here. One after the next after the next. It started with the wood trim, which he insisted would look better white. So he made it happen. Then came the kitchen table switcheroo – the nine-piece table formerly in our kitchen has been resigned to storage and replaced with a smaller five-piece version that dad has overhauled. What was once an outdated table now looks like something you’d see on one of those shows on HGTV, complete with bright colors and trendy new fabric seats.

It happened again today. Mom went grocery shopping and came back with an extra bag of baby goodies. And dad finished painting the trim in the bedroom. So I did what any dog would do. I slept the day away.

But I can’t stop thinking about these patterns. Especially dad’s since mom has basically been wearing her (pregnancy hormone driven) emotions on her sleeve. Dad holds such things a lot closer to the vest. I thought this might change or develop somehow during the pregnancy process, but it seems I was wrong.

Frankly, I think he’s freaked. And these projects are his way of focusing at least some of that nervous energy on forward progress. I wouldn’t say that’s a bad thing, since most of what he’s working on he’s been talking about since I first came into my forever home. There’s no time like the present, as they say.

I don’t know what I expected but I do know one thing for sure. He shouldn’t be nervous. American writer Clarence Budington Kelland said it best. “He didn’t tell me how to live,” as American writer Clarence Budington Kelland said, “he lived, and let me watch him do it.” I’ve seen him with the nieces and nephews (otherwise known as my favorite little people). I’ve watched him take care of mom after her knee surgery. And I’ve lived it. Firsthand.

Sure, he was a little hesitant to let me into his heart (similar to him being nervous about having a baby in the house). But he’s a great dad. I couldn’t ask for someone more caring and fun and loving (even though he still won’t admit he loves me). He lives, and I am a better doggie because I watch him do it.

 

My Open Heart October 25, 2013

This just in – I’m being invaded. It started with diapers. Then the strange furniture (including the bed called a crib that I can’t jump into). But that could not have prepared me for this. Mom has entered something called the third trimester. I don’t know what that means exactly, but I do know the volume of baby-related buying seems to have increased exponentially in recent days and weeks.

I’m starting to wonder whether there will be any room for the little person amongst all of this stuff. Blankets and diapers and play gyms and diapers. (Did I mention diapers?) But I have noticed something amongst the village of boxes that have accumulated in what my people are calling the nursery recently I couldn’t help but share.

ContentmentMe. I’m all over the place. Or at least a dog that very closely resembles me is all over the place. On the bedding, on the changing table, on the blankets and sheets. There is a little bit of Wiley love scattered throughout the room. And I’m humbled as well as contented by this keen observation of mine.

Contentment. That is a big word in a society that seeks to consume. It’s different than gratitude and yet I know the two are dependent on each other. Contentment. That’s what I felt as I lounged on my rug in this room called the nursery. I’m drawn to it for some reason (and no, I don’t think it’s because of the dog on the bedding who looks like me). I’m not sure how to explain the special connection I have to this one little room in my forever home other than to say it really doesn’t have anything to do with the village of boxes it encompasses.

“Whatever we are waiting for – peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance – it will surely come to us,” writes Sarah Ban Breathnach in Simple Abundance, “but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart.”

So I’m being invaded. By diapers and blankets and onesies (whatever those are). But none of it really matters as much as knowing the contentment that accompanies the overwhelming joy that fills our house in this exciting time. And for that my open heart is forever grateful.

 

Such A Loney Word August 4, 2013

I think it’s called nesting. And apparently it’s normal. But I have to admit, the way my people are acting this weekend has thrown me for a loop. It reminds me of that Saturday a couple of months ago when they moved around all the furniture. Except now instead of moving things around, they can’t stop talking about all this new stuff.

Crib, changing table, pack and play…I’ve never heard of any of these things before recently. Yet I’ve managed to gather that a crib is like my doggie bed, changing table is like outside, and a pack and play sounds like a place I can’t wait to investigate. Not to mention the conversations about all of these things seem to get mom and dad pretty excited. I can hear it in their voices, see it in their eyes and even feel it in their heartbeats. They are thrilled, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it all. Dont Worry, Be Happy

So I didn’t care much for the direction of the conversation today when they got back from a place called Babies ‘R Us. All of the excitement had been replaced with fear and apprehension. About being good parents. About giving the baby everything. About money. Whether our forever home is big enough. They weren’t exactly fighting, but the conversation still made me uncomfortable.

As usual, I wished I could interrupt to remind them of how blessed we are to have each other. To have a roof over our heads. To be alive.

They got there on their own eventually but it felt like it took forever. It’s all relative, dad said. The more you make, the more you pay for things. It goes both ways. And jealousy never does anyone any good. It’s a very lonely word that doesn’t merit any emotional energy. Not when we’re blessed with so much already.

“It is not love that is blind, but jealousy,” British novelist and poet Lawrence Durrell suggested. Well, fortunately for all of us the cloud of blindness has been lifted as the conversation returned to things like cribs, changing tables and pack and plays. I guess it’s called nesting. And (even though it all sounds a bit like a foreign language to me right now) it’s music to my little doggie ears.