Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Caring for Crosby

Weekly Wrap Up (last week): week of Sept. 29 - Oct. 3
(this was written prior to Crosby overcoming his dislike of the crate.  Life is much much better now!)

It’s a good thing I love Crosby because there are moments right now when I don’t like him very much.  I’ve never had a puppy as an adult and now I understand when I walk by people and they exclaim how very very cute he is but they would never have a puppy again.  I get it. We were lulled into a false sense of awesomeness the first three days.  No accidents in the house.  Calm.  Oh so calm personality.  Walks on a leash.  Comes when called.  We thought we brought home the most perfect dog in the world.  Then the honeymoon period ended.  I thought honeymoons lasted at least a week...

What we have is a perfectly cute, quite smart, 9 week old puppy.  P-u-p-p-y.  An immature dog.  Who will poop in the house rather than go out in the pouring rain.  Who will bite everything in site, bare feet and ankles included.  Who stalks Daphne looking for any opportunity to play.  Who will not sleep more than two hours consecutively and who absolutely, positively detests being contained in a crate or in a pen.  Hates it.  Despises it.  Abhors it.  

Naively I thought since I intentionally kept our schedule clear for all of October we would get so much done.  Let me repeat, so much done.  So much time and effort went into preparing for his arrival that it took time away from lessons.  I tried to schedule all our appointments and larger errands into the first few weeks of September.  We were constantly going somewhere.  Now we are home with very few places to go.  Our days should be filled to capacity with math, reading, educational videos, audiobooks, craft projects, baking, and journaling.  Heck, I should be able to make lovely dinners, clean the house and even get a few projects done.  Right?  Seriously, that is what my brain was thinking.  My naive, unrealistic, never had a puppy before brain.

The second I take my eyes off this puppy bad things happen.  He will not let me sleep.  I am tired.  I am cranky.  I am snippy and I am not much fun to be around.  But I am trying.   I am trying to move the girls through their lessons.  We have accomplished our normally scheduled work and did manage to get in a few extras, like finally achieving our goal of 2 chapters of history a week.  I have made good dinners, even if they are not gourmet dinners.  I especially liked my Spanish rice and grilled pork with Amy’s refried beans.  I am thankful I have two older girls who are perfectly willing and able to puppy-sit so I can get a few things done.  I am hoping to squeeze in a nap because two days this week began at 4:00am so that Crosby’s crying would not wake Greg up in his last precious moments of sleep before his alarm clock rang.  I could not imagine doing this with younger children and I count my blessings that the work we were going to do on the house this month did not happen.  Major home renovations + homeschooling + a puppy cannot possibly = a sane Mother.  

Forgive me that I have no pictures of children working and learning and creating this week.  I’d prefer to take pictures, but instead I am most likely caring for Crosby.

Lilah: Lesson 8, 9,10
Grace: Lesson 18, reworked some problems on Lesson 19 (she did these out of order). Scored 92% (will be higher when I adjust for a problem I let her skip) on chapter 2 test. Lesson 20 (order of operations in algebra).
Chapters 5 and 6
Week 6 Meteorology.  Skipped workbook since this information is review for the girls.  Grace did the crosswords for fun.
Social Justice
5 Paragraph Essay about our work at the homeless shelter this month.
Language Arts
Kris gave the girls three selections to choose among (Treasure Island, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and Around the World in 80 Days).  We choose Around the World in 80 Days Narrated by Jim Dale. Created cover to project for this book.  Listened to chapter 1.

Purchased study guide from CurrClick.  Completed study pages for chapter 1. Girls loved working on a traditional workbook format.  Grace loves crossword puzzles.  She must get that from her Grandmother!

Grace began Soul Surfer as her pleasure read.  The current season of The Amazing Race features Bethany Hamilton as a competitor.  Lilah finished Alice in Wonderland.

Quotes by Charlie Brown,  A.A. Milne  

Personal Finance
Watched lesson 1 of Dave Ramsey’s Generation Change Disc 1: Be Who God Created 
Horseback Riding
Both girls learned how to walk their horse over the jump crossrails!  This energized Lilah, who recommitted to this sport.  
The girl’s teacher is forming a “piano club” since kids in school are not offered piano as part of band or orchestra and kids out of school don’t have access to clubs.  Our first event is meeting for coffee at Starbucks and then attending a tour of Steinway Gallery where each girls will play a piece on multiple pianos to learn about how size and styling affects sound and each will have the opportunity to play a full piece on the 9” concert grand.

Grace also plays her first mass of the new school year, her first with our new Priest.  
Grace’s Independent Study
Grace was given puppy obedience class and she and Lilah being the course this week.  Our goal is to have a dog with the Canine Good Citizen Award.  The first step was our first class where we learned how to keep his attention through the use of treats and have him respond to “Here Crosby” without breaking his attention.  It was harder than I thought it would be and the girls were much better at this than I was!

Grace worked an extra day this week in order to get additional training on how to use the power washer.
Grace volunteered Monday, worked Wednesday.  Visited the farmer’s market with friends. 

Lilah tried her hand at pie making, knowing it will be necessary for her bakery!  She used the food processor independently for the first time to make her first pie crust.  She made an apple pie with crumble topping.  Now she realizes why people buy pie!

My biggest accomplishment was crate training Crosby.  After 5 days of very limited sleep I was basically sleep walking through my days.  


Karen said...

Ah I remember those puppy days. I am so sorry you are so tired and frazzled. It does get better though. I remember when I was a bit crazy from trying to keep Nomad from eating everything in our house people would tell me, "Labs are such amazing dogs starting about age 4." I would be like "4!!!!!!" It seems like you did get a lot done in spite of all the time he takes up. Here's to more rest and less mess. ;)

Cassie said...

I truly empathize with the experience of having a puppy turn your entire life around. As prepared as I thought we were with feeding and 30 minute potty schedules (which I posted all around the house) and as much as I tried to convince myself that I could raise a puppy, in the end I could not. The girls had pleaded for months and months. They checked out books from the library and even made a powerpoint presentation to try to convince us. My husband caved daily early on but I was the last hold out. I let my guilt lead me to a decision and commitment I knew I was not ready to make. But for them, I went against every fiber of my being and said yes. We knew we wanted a red Labradoodle and we found the perfect breeder and the perfect puppy. We named her Charlie Rose!! We visited with her and bonded with her and at last we brought her home at 10 weeks. We too had our honeymoon period which lasted a little longer than yours. Charlie slept well throughout the night from the beginning, which we were very thankful for! Then reality set in for all of us. I was irritable, snippy, resentful and on the verge or tears all the time!!!! Just when we thought we turned a corner, we would face a set back. Three steps forward, one step back, over and over. All activity that didn't revolve around Charlie Rose completely halted. In the end, I wish I could tell you that we managed to turn it all around but after numerous calls to the breeder, we made the excruciating decision to bring Charlie back to be placed with another family. We shed many, many tears but we feel we made the best choice for our family, including Charlie Rose. I share with you this very personal story because I wish I someone had shared it with me. I wish you peace, peace, and more peace.

Jessica said...

More rest and less mess is a motto I can get behind!

Jessica said...

I have to accept responsibility because the decision to bring Crosby home was mine alone. My family accepted the fact that we decided to have Daphne live out her days as an only dog after the death of our beloved Jake. I did not expect to miss having a large dog as much as I did.

I have never had a puppy before. I have always adopted older dogs in need of homes. They always came housebroken. They may have had their issues but they usually resolved themselves with nothing more than love and consistency. This is new to me. The waking up in the middle of the night. The accidents in the house after you just let him out. The interruptions to our school work. The medication schedule (for his parasite). The barking. The nipping. The crying. The constant demand for attention. It is overwhelming at times and I sometimes feel like you said, "all activity that does not revolve around the dog halted." I was incorrect in the assumption that the dog would fit into our lives but in fact it feels like we are altering our lives to fit the dog.

We are going to persevere. I am working with my daughter's boss who is helping me to understand puppy development and is offering tips for getting through these stages. I am also calling a trainer who has helped a friend with her puppy issues.

I appreciate your words. Returning a pet is such a difficult decision. We had to do it with a cat after Grace developed asthma. Returning Crosby is not something I am considering. I just need to blog the honesty of how this is affecting us and our homeschooling because I have had friends say they are ready for a puppy and like you, I wish I knew exactly how much of an impact this would have on our homeschooling lives.

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