Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Comes But Once a Year (thank GOD!)

I am not a fan of the holidays. I know, hard to believe, right? My mother is a huge lover of the Christmas season. She would bake for days, shop, and stay up all night to wrap presents on Christmas Eve. Her packages were works of art. The magical mornings of peeking at the tree while it was still dark to find that Santa had been there and artfully arranged the presents are some of the best memories of my childhood. And I want my children to have that, I do. And I try to do all of the things my mother did, but I just...can't. And so. I pretty much hate Christmas.

Every year I tell myself it will be different. I will start earlier. I will have a better attitude. But by mid-December I am usually stressed out, ready to curl up in a fetal position, and wait for it all to be over. Instead, I pull myself up, give myself a good talking-to, and finish the preparations at the last minute amidst much self-loathing. It isn't fun.

And this year? Is going to be even less fun. My eldest, JBug, goes in for spinal surgery on the 15th of December, which means I have to have everything done TEN days earlier than usual. She will be in the hospital for at least five days, but should be home for Christmas. So I will have little time to scour the shops, maul the mall, or gilt the gift. I have to just get it over with quickly.

So on that note, I am trying to get into the spirit faster than usual, which is why I found this little video of Newfoundland dogs dressed up for Christmas and carrying things in carts. I hope it brings you joy.


Monday, November 22, 2010

When words fail, speak puppy

Sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) autism can really be difficult. JBean is 9 now, and much of the time acts closer to 5. Lately she has had a really hard time with self-regulation. She gets upset and words just fail her. She is very verbal, just like any other kid, but when she is angry, she resorts to growling and grunting. It is hard to take, but I have to continually remind myself that it is the short-circuit of autism that causes this behavior; she is not a brat.

Until recently, there wasn't much I could do when she fell into this behavior. She just had to be allowed to cool off until she could talk. But we found an even better solution. Our own unofficial therapy pup.

Poppy, we love you. And what did we ever do without you?


Sunday, November 21, 2010

I am now officially a dog person

Today was Poppy's first experience with meeting other Newfs. JNerd and I loaded her into the car and headed out to the Fall 2010 Draft Test. We made sure to keep a wide berth between Poppy and the entrants of the trial. We didn't want her distracting them. We were just there to watch, and to meet new people. She is not ready for competition at this point. Overall, she did really well. There was a bit of feistiness at first...after all, she had never been at Huntington Central Park before, and it is a bit different from most of the parks she has been to. It has more of a wilderness feel, I think. But for the most part, she settled quickly.

I was able to meet another member, Rebekah, which is another reason to be thankful for the Interwebs. is a bulletin board I belong to, where I chat with other newfie owners from all over the world. This particular person was from the L.A. area and I was really excited to meet another newfoundland owner. It was nice to put a face to the name, and meet her pup Artie, as well.

Poppy played and sniffed a couple of other Newfoundlands, which was quite funny. Watching her see another newf for the first time: her eyes widened and she whined, and just seemed overjoyed to find dogs like her. Maybe I am anthropomorphizing too much, but it really seemed like she wanted to know them! She was able to play a bit with a couple of the dogs, and of course, next to me, she loves other dogs best.

She also met other people, and some kids. Except for a small bit of jumping at first contact, she was very obedient. We are still working on the initial approach. She has never had a problem with jumping up, but recently she has just started greeting people in this way. After the first small lunge, she settles and sits nicely for me. I just need to stop her from jumping up at all!

After we were there, she settled down, and actually listened. She watched me when bikes and joggers and other dogs came by, which is a huge thing for her. She sat and lie down when I told her to stay. She shook hands and high-fived, and I was just really proud of her.

She is now sacked out, absolutely dog-tired after her little adventure. It is a lot of fun having a Newf, and it was inspiring to see the well-trained beautiful dogs of the club members. I can see now what I have to work towards. She'll get there. Too bad kids aren't as easily trained as dogs!

T, who seems to be a dog person now

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