Thursday 21 March 2013

Bringing up Boys - Puppies, Boys and The Ultimate Challenge

Whippet puppy: Five days old
I don’t think that it was the cleverest idea I had and certainly not one that I should have voiced.
However, it’s over and one now and I have to stick with it come hell or high water. I promised.
Somewhere along the line I voiced my wish that it would be great to keep a puppy from the Wickedest Whippet’s latest litter. Never mind that we already have four dogs. I actually said I wanted one.
And I said it in my boys’ hearing.
Stupid woman!
“Really Mum?” says my eldest; the one who came to watch the puppies being born, the one who found the whole thing amazing, sickening and fascinating and yucky all at the same time. “Can we really keep one?”
It was too late to backtrack and he said it with such yearning and before I knew it I was tumbling back the years to when I longed for a dog too.
I could feel it gnawing at my soul, and it hurt just like it did then when I begged and cajoled my parents. When bliss for me was being left alone to play with other people’s dogs on long Sunday afternoons when we went round for interminably long lunches that drifted well into Drinks’ time.
Being the eldest child amongst my parents’ friends by some years meant that when I was little the only companions who could actually play with me invariably would be the dogs. Not that I complained.
And then there I was with my son looking at me with such longing. And I don’t know how but I agreed, and even got my husband to agree, that if my eldest could demonstrate to us that he was mature enough to look after a puppy then he could keep it.
This is now a MAJOR quest.
My eldest, aged 10, has to go from Zero to Hero in less than two months. It is a massive ask. From lazy slug-abed living in a bombsite with Lego IEDs littered everywhere, serious attitude problems especially when told to do anything, incapable of getting from Point A to Point B without getting  distracted or forgetting things to uber-organised angel boy at home and school.
It’s impossible!
This is probably the greatest challenge in his life so far and I am terrified he won't be able to do it. But he wants it so badly. He is trying SO hard - getting it SO wrong but for all the right reasons.
He certainly gets up without a mumur in the morning to do a list of jobs from letting the dogs out to laying the table and even bringing me tea in bed - problem is he's doing it at 5.30am in the morning. A tad too early for me but I can't tell him off can I?
He is focussed at last, he is working so hard and I am praying that he'll succeed.
Oh please wish him luck!

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Bringing up Boys: the truth about the facts of life (a practical tale...)

Waiting For The Great Event
We've had puppies. Lots of lovely whippet puppies and it has been a tad chaotic; especially last Friday when at a quarter to eight in the morning I took my leave of a very pregnant whippet just before rushing off on the school run.
Seeing her staring at the moon and making whimpering noises, I soon realised that there was no way on earth I would be able to take the boys in to school - everything seemed so very imminent plus the fact that the wickedest whippet aka Sassy had grabbed my hand by this time and trying to get to school with heaving pregnant dog  clamped to my right hand while I drove the car wasn't going to be easy to explain to the local constabulary if I had an accident.
I made a call
The Boys could stay at home and learn first-hand all about the wonderful way Mother Nature worked.
And it was Friday and I wouldn't have to drive anywhere - perfect!
There was a holiday atmosphere and the boys gleefully divested themselves of school uniform and prepared to hunker down in front of the telly.
"Oi! You Lot! No way are you watching telly all day! This is NOT a holiday. Tidy up and wait down here until I tell you that you can come upstairs to watch THE most amazing thing on earth!"
It was said brightly in an effort to get the boys on board with the day's educational programme but already I could see my youngest growing mutinous - he's never been that into our animals; I mean it took him nearly five years before he deigned to remember the names of the cats.
I will admit I hadn't really thought through the whole letting-the-boys-see-the-mother-nature-at-work thing properly and perhaps I should have been a tad more circumspect; after all nature is red in tooth and claw!
However, it all started out fine.
Both boys came up to see Sassy and sat quietly on my bed watching as I tried to explain what was going on. Luckily at this stage not much.
Sassy strained and whimpered and the boys could see she wasn't all that happy.
"Is she alright Mum?" said my eldest.
"She's Ok sweetheart, just a bit uncomfortable at the moment."
The dog started to pant heavily.
"Mum are you sure?"
"Really darling it's fine. It’s natural to pant like that. It helps ease the pain of the contractions which are pushing the puppies out."
The dog strained on time.
"Oh it looks like she's doing a poo"
"Yes you could say that..." I replied, thinking back to giving birth to him and flinching at the memories. Thank god I thought that I had had a caesarean - his head was enormous!
After watching for several more minutes he chirped up: "Do ALL girls have to do this?"
"Yes sweetie, they do." said I, being VERY worldly wise. "It's a thing all females have to go through in order to have babies, we are all the same. Arn't you lucky it won't ever happen to you."
I know, I probably laid it on a bit thick but that's what comes of living as the only girl in a household of boys.
Both boys were very quiet as they digested this thought.
"It's BOOORING," announced my youngest.
This IT generation have no patience so rather than force him to hang about any longer and become seriously annoying I let him off the hook. Boys will be boys I thought and just don't get it. My eldest took the opportunity to scarper as well and for a couple of hours it was just me and her communing in that most elemental way that all females do on the matter of life and producing it.
Finally at 11.45 it was the moment jus - the first puppy arrived and it was at exactly that moment that my eldest returned to the scene in time to watch in horror as my beautiful whippet atet up the placenta...
"Ewwww Gross! Is that what you had to do as well!!!!!!!..."

Monday 4 March 2013

The wickedest whippet and the beginning of the longest night....

Sassy aka The EBJ looking unusually winsome and angelic...

It's been a massive secret but even I could no longer fool my husband into thinking the dog was just fat - she is very definitely preggers.

Up until a week ago you'd have been hard pressed to notice but now she just looks like an overweight  sausage dog on stilts. Gone is the slender waist, the sylph like form and in its place a roly poly pudding of a dog.
Whippets, when the are heavily pregnant, do not look like whippets and for a large part of the time don't act like whippets either apart from the nicking all and any edible morsel, and sometimes in edible morsels, they can find.
Mostly she's been asleep, or eating just occasionally in the middle of the night she's been nesting.
How do I know she does this in the middle of the night?
Because she wakes me up to help her.
She comes up to my bed rests her head on the mattress as close as she can get to me and stares until I awake. It is seriously disconcerting to wake up with your nose millimetres from your dogs face especially when you normally wear glasses.
Once awake she licks me to ensure I stay awake then she moves off to where she has been trying to make a nest and then looks at me again until I get up and help her to get comfy. I don't know why I bother because it seems like only minutes before she wakes me again to make her a nest in another part of the room.
Of course I could put her in the back kitchen, out of sight and harms way, but she just prefers to make her nests in my bedroom and I haven't the heart to stop her. I'd also worry myself senseless if she wasn't close at hand.
What if she got into trouble?
If the puppies were in difficulties?
If I needed to call the vet?
So she has had me up making nests and sorting her wheel ping box out at least twice a night for the past week and now finally tonight I think it is THE night...
I bet it's a long  one!

Go on you know you want to...


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