A trip to the ER….

Every mom wants to be a “good mom.” You want to do everything in your power to make your kid’s life the best. Its your job now, your one goal, once that baby is in the picture. Even your own basic needs get pushed aside for your baby. But eventually something will go wrong. Sometimes its your fault, often its not, but you always feel responsible in some way, and horrible when something isn’t right. Until last saturday I haven’t had any major incidences that were my fault. The first time Mark was hurt was by Vincent who dropped a book on his head when he was 3 months old. I cried more than Mark. Then last week Mark fell off the piano bench on Ace’s watch again, I cried, but this time Mark cried more.

Last week Mark became mobile and now has a lot more confidence in his movements. on Saturday morning He was sitting up on the changing table and I turned around to grab his shirt when he decided to lean forward to grab the water spray bottle. He leaned a little to far and fell forward, doing a front flip off the table and hitting his head on the way down. I scooped Mark up, him screaming, and me crying, and took him to the ricking chair to nurse. He calmed down pretty quickly, quicker than me! Then I noticed an indent in his head where he had hit it on a corner. Then I felt so much worse.

I really had no idea how quickly a babies skull hardens, or how hard a hit is worth a trip to the doctor. So I just called our doctor and told them what happened. They suggested x-rays right away, so off we went.

We walked in a told them what happened and the first thing the receptionist told me is, “You’re not a bad mom, accidents happen.” Which calmed me down a lot! When you walk in with a baby with a head injury they do a quick assessment before anything else to find out if its a real emergency that can’t wait. When they did that and sent us to wait I relaxed quite a bit. After almost an hour of waiting we finally saw the doctor, who was really good with Mark! He said he had a son just a little older at home. He let Mark play with one piece of medical equipment, while he was using another. It kept Mark from pulling at the stethoscope and other instruments.

bump

The red spot is where his head hit a corner in the fall.

The doctor said that our doctor was smart for sending us for x-rays as a fracture was very possible in that type of fall, and that it looked unlikely that there was any other damage, but there was no way to be sure. He suggested a CT scan and I asked, “Is that really necessary?”  He replied, “Because we are in America, yes.” After further pushing he then said, “If I was in India I would say ‘no’ but here we always need to do everything or I could lose my license.” We ended up denying the CT Scan and just went down the hall for x-rays. Because it was a saturday morning, there was only one x-ray tech on duty. I guess normally there are two or three. Ace and I became x-ray tech’s for day. Holding the slides and holding the patient, my poor little baby.

We all had to wear lead suits and I got the job of holding Mark’s head still. In order to keep my hands out of the x-ray I had to hold foam pads against his head. He did NOT like this one bit. It was heart breaking, but I had to do it. 6 x-rays later (one was blury and had to be repeated) we were finally done and had an exhausted very upset baby who upon returning to the exam room nursed and fell asleep.

nap

Mark asleep on Daddy after a hard day of x-rays.

We waited a while longer, and then talked to the doctor again, the x-rays looked clean. SIGH. I felt much better hearing that. He told us to ice the bump, maybe give some ibprofin, and to watch for any behavior changes. We were also to follow up with our doctor. We left and got some much needed lunch and Mark got a much needed nap. We were so thankful our little man was mostly unharmed from his daring tumble off the changing table. I know from all my past (and current) experience with toddlers (including Vincent’s bloody lip on wednesday) that this is only a taste of what is to come. Hopefully with a watchful eye and a little luck we can avoid the ER for a while, but I know the odds are against us. I mean, he is my son.

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Come!

Teaching your dog come is one of the most important things you can teach them. It can save you lots of frustration and even save your dogs life when they are running toward the street!

There is one major mistake many people make when training their dogs (remember training is ongoing, happening every time you interact with your pooch). While on a walk with Mark and two of my own dogs (Waldo and Simon) I had an interaction that reminded me of an all too common mistake. A women was gardening in her front yard when we walked by, her friendly adorable little white dog came over sniffed my dogs and then started to follow us. When the pup didn’t head back I called out to the lady asking if it was her dog. She came over and we talked for a few minutes about our dogs then she walked back to her yard and told her dog to come. The dog didn’t come at first, he was to interested in Simon. So, she calls a few more times, and when the dog finally comes she looks at him and says “what a bad dog, go get in your crate!” THIS is a huge mistake!

Yes, the dog was being “bad” when it wasn’t listening. But she punished the dog when he finally did listen! This teaches the dog not to come to you. Dogs live in the moment, they can’t understand that not listening 30 seconds ago was bad. They come to you, they get yelled at their brain thinks “When she says “come” if I go to her I get yelled at, I better figure out something else to do when she says “come.”” This is NOT what you want at all!

No matter how long it takes the dog to come to you always praise/reward them when they do! READ THAT AGAIN! NO MATTER HOW LONG IT TAKES! If you keep treats in your pockets while your dog is off leash, then you can randomly work on “come” and give them the treat when they do! Doing this often will help their recall to become much quicker and much more consistant. You dog loves you already, so adding praise and treats to the mix is just FANTASTIC to them!

“Sit” and “Come” are the first things I teach all my dogs. “Come” can get your dog out of danger fast if its needed! Get them away from a moving car, a nasty kid, that chocolate bar on the ground, or just about anything dangerous!  Its very important to train this command well and correctly. You need to make coming to you the best thing in the world! So never ever reprimand a dog when they fail to come immediately. Just go back out and work on it with rewards so next time they do a better job!

aiden

Aiden my adorable Irish Wolfhound a Master at "Come"

Going Mobile!

Today was a BIG day for baby Mark! He finally got some decent movement across the floor. He would get up on his hands and knees and then push with his hands and go backwards! As he was trying to get his toys he was moving away from them whining as he was going backwards. We were very excited to watch him move, but he did not share our excitement. He did however enjoy pulling to standing, he’s done this a few times in the past, but not like today.

While he was sitting on his little potty he was flailing his arms to grab me so, I leaned closer and he grabbed on and immediately stood up then squealed with delight. Then he sat down and did it again… and again and again. So, when we were downstairs I set a cushion on the floor so he could sit on it and use me to pull up to standing. Between this and the backwards crawling Mark was on the move till bedtime. He played up until he was so tired he had a total meltdown and was screaming until he fell asleep! Its been quite the crazy day!

About Me A-Z

The ABC quiz:

A. Age: 24
B. Bed size: KING
C. Chore you hate: Most of them… I think I probably hate dishes most, and mopping.

D. Dogs: YES- Waldo, Josie, Luther, Aiden, and Simon

E. Essential start to your day: Shower and then iPhone. Its like a cigarette to me….

F. Favorite color: Blue blue blue

G. Gold or silver: White Gold

H. Height: I am 4′ 10” No kidding.

I. Instruments: Drums, Trumpet, Bass, and some Guitar.

J. Job title: Mommy.

K. Kids: Mark almost 7 months!

L. Live: Northwest suburbs of Chicago!

M. Mom’s name: Fox

N. Nicknames: Alli, Alpo, Lysol (seriously… these suck), Wifey-Poo

O. Overnight hospital stays: Day after I got married went to the hospital for Phenomia spent 5 days there. 3 days when Mark was born via C-Sec.

P. Pet peeve: People who don’t know what they are talking about  think/act like they do. Or when my parents or in-laws or any one with grown kids says “while X survived” as a reason why you should do things they way they did…. crap logic.

Q. Quote from a movie: “Mal. Guy killed me, Mal. He killed me with a sword. How weird is that?”

R. Right or left handed: Right

S. Siblings: Two sisters, one brother, all younger.

T. Time you wake up: Ummm every hour all night until aprox 8am…

U. Underwear: Comfy, and nursing friendly.

V. Vegetables you dislike: Not many!

W. What makes you run late: My baby or my dogs. Actually no, usually my husband, or a roomate.

X. X-rays you’ve had: Oh boy, wrist, both ankles (several times) both knees, mouth (several times), chest (at least 3 times), Foot, Hand…. I think thats it. Too many.

Y. Yummy food you make: More and more all the time! Salmon, soup, chicken. YUM!
Z. Zoo- favorite animal: Dolphins.

Take the ABC quiz and post a link in my comments!!  I’ll edit in links to your post at the end of the day.

 

Agility

Tomorrow is my second agility trial with my dog Josie. The last (and first) one was a year ago when I was pregnant! This year my son will be watching!

I love dog agility! First of all its FUN! It’s hard at first and takes some work to get the basics down but you can start doing basic courses pretty quick. Its not only fun for you, the handler, but its fun for the dog as well. Many have a blast running agility. They seem to be smiling as they are running. They get out of the house, get to do something that combines work and play and then they get rewarded for it!

Second its work. Its work for you and the dogs, and we all need work. something that takes effort but yields results. We as humans crave it, and I think dogs crave it even more. They need work to feel fufilled, and to feel happy and for many agility fills this roll. There are dogs who purely train for fun, its just something cool their owner saw and decided to try. Other dogs are bred for the purpose of being champion agility dogs, they LIVE agility. Almost all dogs can benefit from the work of agility, it gives them something to live for at the end of the day and something to do. Dogs are much more balanced when they have a job, agility is one of Josie’s jobs.

Josie Jumping

Josie jumping in class.

Training in a dog agility can help with behavior issues in a plethora of ways. First it helps with basic obedience as in the beginning thats all it is. The handler says “over” dog jumps over. That simple. When the dog is rewarded for listening in agility they get better at listening in other situations too. They learn that listening is the right thing to do and can be fun (and even can get you treats)! It helps with dogs that are bored. Boredom is a widespread issue in dogs. They need work, and when they get it, they are happier. They have no need to find “work” at home such as digging or chasing, or “herding”. When they work hard they are also to tired to get into trouble! They would rather sleep then chew something up if they have spent all their energy running around or are mentally exhausted from leraning! A tired dog is a good dog! Finally training in agility can give confidence to scared dog. Many dogs have been though rough stuff, and they believe the world is a bad place and is out to get them. In agility as dogs do what’s right they get rewarded, and as that happens they learn they as a dog, are ok. They become confident and capable and that can help fight a number of anxiety based behavior issues.

Agility aslo deepens your relationship with your dog. They have to learn how to better understand you and you must learn how to better understand them. Watching a close knit team is amazing. All the handler has to do is is move one hand or even just a shoulder and the dog immediately reacts. A good handler will know how their dog is likely to react in certain situations and can plan ahead for them and train to help with them. You learn how dogs read body movement and how intensely they can listen if they need to. A whisper and they change their course. It brings human and dog closer together, which I think is the point of dogs in the first place. They are here for us to be companions, companions that can help us in many areas, but formost they are our friends. Agility can deepen that friendship.

Agility has deepened my relationship with my first and most favorite dog, Josie. She’s my baby girl and she always will be. We’ve been training in dog agility for nearly 2 years now and its been great. She’s in the best shape of her life and she’s happy! Tomorrow will more be a celebration of that for us, then stiff competition. Do I want to do well? Hell Yeah! Does it matter, not one bit! All that matters is that Josie and I have fun together.

Alli and Josie

Josie and I

Second Chance Ranch

I have a vision of a sprawling horse farm just…. with no horses. Ok, maybe one. But the point isn’t horses, its dogs.

I love dogs, and I want to save them. Its that simple. Millions are needlessly killed every year. For no reason. They call it Euthanasia. I call it connivence killing. There is no mercy is killing someone that is healthy. When a healthy person is killed it is murder. It is simply because someone or some establishment doesn’t have the time/space/money or they simply don’t care.

Once you work in animal rescue you can not stop. The need is too great. The plight too heart wrenching. You may not be as deeply involved as you were in the past, but you never stop completely. You still have a rescued dog or cat (or horse or rabbit or bird…) of your own. You stop when you see a dog obviously lost dog. And you take in the stray cat that comes looking for food that everyone else ignores. Its like they know you care and are draw to you like a magnet. More importantly though, you are drawn to them. I’m drawn to them.

My heart truly goes out to the most helpless in the world, children and animals. I can’t help it. I have 5 rescued dogs, and a roommate with a dog. After the last two roommate dogs (a chihuahua that bit and howled all day and an untrained pitbull that knocked people down and chewed stuff up) I swore no more, but this dog wasn’t in the best situation and she needed out so… here we go again. Now that our house is filled to capacity I know I need to do more. I’ve worked with a transport group that pulls dogs from an overcrowded, underfunded, high kill shelter. I’ve filled my SUV with 30, yes 30, of those dogs and driven them from Chicago to Northern Wisconsin. I looked at them knowing that if that van hadn’t made it down there they would all be dead by now. I have one of those dogs now. Not all are so lucky, in fact most aren’t. I can’t stand that. We domesticated them, we bred them, its our responsibility and human beings to care for them.

That’s where my rescue comes in. Today it came to me as I was driving. Second Chance Ranch. It has a nice ring to it. It’s memorable. Its me. As soon as we have our current endeavor stable I will be working to make my ranch a reality. It may take a year, it may take 10 but it will happen.

There will be a barn, a shed, something, that can house dogs. Over time we’ll build an even better kennel building. A place worthy of being a life long home, but that hopefully never will be. There will be land, and lots of it. Where the dogs can run together and play and roll in mud and swim and fetch and just be stupid. They will spend time together, as a pack, the well adjusted dogs teaching the abused, hurt, scared and anxious dogs that it’s ok to trust, love, and enjoy life. This place is safe.

The dogs will learn what a home is, my home. Even if its not full time. Every dog will get a chance to live in my home and learn the love that is a home.

The dogs will have a chance to find a permanent home. In the midwest there is very little dog over population compared the south. Up here they have a chance, and we will do everything we can to make that chance even higher.

The dogs will have life. They will have the life we as humans gave to them and that we as humans almost took away. They will not die for selfish reasons.

My vision is saving dogs, saving their physical life, but also giving them purpose, happiness, and love. I hope to return just a tiny fraction of the unconditional love they give to us.

I don’t love breastfeeding (part 2)

But I love babies. Not only have a breastfed my son, but I’ve pumped and fed another baby, a girl 2 weeks older than him.

Her mom didn’t have a sister to lead by example. She didn’t have a teacher or a doula helping her. She didn’t have a lactation consultant. But she tried anyway. She tried because she loves her daughter, but her daughter couldn’t latch well. Eventually the mom’s only choice was to pump, and exclusively pumping rarely lasts long. And eventually it came to an end. She went on facebook to the Illinois Eats on Feets page and looked for a donor so she could continue to give her daughter milk.

I had been pumping and barely using any of the pumped milk when I saw an article shared on facebook about Eats on Feets. I linked up with another mom and started pumping even more. I remember stopping christmas decorating to pump 3 or more times a day. By Christmas I had a decent amount of milk saved up and we met just after Christmas. I was scared, but excited. What if we needed this milk? What if something came up and my supply dried up? I had worked hard and was attached to my milk. I reminded myself this baby needs it now. Mark MIGHT need it later. Let tomorrow worry about itself. So I gave this mom I had never met a small coolers worth of breast milk. She was so thankful she said it was the best christmas present she had gotten. I was floored, but at the same time I understood. If it was my baby that needed milk I would hope someone would do the same for us.

Now that same women has given me her hospital grade pump with no expectations of getting any more milk, but assuming all goes well she will be getting plenty.

I don’t love breastfeeding. It has great moments, but often, its uncomfortable, inconvenient and (even though it shouldn’t be) embarrassing. I love my son and I love babies, so I do whats natural, and what’s best for him. Its been 6 months and I’m not stopping any time soon.