Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

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.

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

Now We Pray November 30, 2013

The house projects are finished. The nursery is ready. The diaper bag is even packed. At almost 34 weeks along, operation baby preparation seems to have come to a close.

I realized it as I watched in awe today as dad assembled something called a pack and play. I love all sorts of play, so I was sure to be at the ready for when playtime would start. But there was no playtime. At least not in the traditional sense of the word.

Once it was all put together, it appears to be (gasp!) another bed I can’t get into. Another place I wish I knew I could cuddle with my future little person that seems to be off limits. But something about this pack and play made my people happy. So I was happy even though we didn’t end up playing any sort of game.Now I Lay Me

Then it was quiet. A collective sigh echoed through the room. And then mom said it. “It’s bittersweet…it feels like everything’s done,” she said. “Now all we can do is wait.” They went on to talk more about this pack and play and how it will be a good place for the little person to sleep the first few months. Mom shared a story with dad about bedtime when she was growing up, and how her family used to pray together. “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep,” the prayer began. It continued with blessings on all of mom’s loved ones.

In that moment, it’s like all three of our hearts and minds were one. We all seemed to realize it at the same instant. The house projects are finished. The nursery is ready. The diaper bag is packed. For all intent and purpose, operation baby preparation has come to a close. Except it hasn’t. Now (more than ever) we have so much more to do than wait. Now we pray. We pray for the baby to move off mom’s ribs. For continued healthy development. For a safe delivery for both mom and baby. And ultimately for a healthy baby. Now we pray.

 

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.

 

May The Force Be With You October 1, 2013

Some love it. Passionately. Others hate it. Fervently. Regardless of which side of the Star Wars opinion fence you fall on, I think we can all agree about one thing: the force? It’s pretty cool. Using your mind to control your surroundings? Believe me, in a dog’s life of silence that would be a game changer. Use The Force

I occasionally find myself wishing I could use the force for a variety of things. But no matter how hard I focus on that food on my mom’s plate, it does not make its way to my mouth as I will it to. The same can be said of doors. I frequently long to open doors with my mind. Most recently, I caught myself willing the car door to open and alas! It did! But it wasn’t my mind that did the opening – I looked up to discover it was my dad who opened the door so I could hop inside.

Since then, I’ve noticed he does this for my mom too, though I don’t understand why since she can do it herself. (I obviously don’t have this luxury). It wasn’t until yesterday when my dad’s friend Josh was visiting that I pieced together this mysterious puzzle. Mom, dad, and Josh were having a conversation in what will become the baby’s room. I was listening comfortably from the cozy new rug they put in there (which is my new favorite spot to think) when Josh said something that caught my attention.

He’s thinking of adopting a dog, and he’s looking specifically for a Beagle rescue. Apparently there aren’t very many nearby so he’s thinking of taking a day trip with his two-year-old nephew to one about two hours south of here in a place called Chicago. When mom mentioned it was cute he was thinking of bringing his nephew, I got my answer. “Well I want to make sure the puppy gets along with kids,” Josh replied.

Josh is currently single, but he is looking forward to meeting his future spouse and starting a family (I think people call it settling down, though I’m not quite sure what exactly they’re settling down from). Mom melted when he said this, and that’s when I realized something very important about the way “the force” can work in real life.

It’s no secret I’m a mama’s boy, so I’ve always been a proponent of treating a lady a certain way. It is probably no surprise that these feelings feed my belief that chivalry and romance are not dead. Little things (from opening a car door) to big things (like planning a future) all make a difference in both the development and maintenance of lasting relationships. It’s like the force of today. And even if you are not a fan of Yoda and his pals, you have to admit the force is a pretty neat idea. Idea it is. Reality it is not. Except when it’s used in ways I’ve come to understand as chivalry. And romance. Indeed there is a certain force a man can have, perhaps not with his mental will, but with his heart.