Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Of Wolves, Water and the Wicked Witch of the West

No this blog is not what you are thinking. I am not about to compare the boys to an animal who lives in the wild. Actually I am about to compare the boys to our pets. OMG here she goes again, I can just hear some groans and some parents shaking their heads. Hey it’s not like I am injecting them with botox at the age of eight so they can get ahead start on self-esteem or whatever crap that California mother was spewing. (No I am not disparaging parents and especially mothers who live in California. Just pointing out which particular nutcase I was referring to.) I just happened to notice some issues that my dogs and the boys have in common.

Actually we have three dogs, a Wheaton terrier, a bichon and a labradoodle. The Wheaton, as supposed to be, was very hyper as a baby and did with training, learn to function and became a wonderful addition to the family. As with any animal you need to train and teach them how you want them to behave. If your animals do not behave it is your fault. The bichon I bought from a pet store, which means she came out of a puppy mill. She has always been a little skittish and just recently in her ninth year she does seem to be better and less afraid. I cannot even imagine the abuse she suffered that with all our love and care it took her so long to get over whatever trauma she suffered as an infant. The labradoodle well, is a labradoodle. We bought him because hubby wanted a big dog and we had heard that labradoodles don’t shed and he would fit right into our family. What people forgot to tell us was that they are also crazy. Oh no I am not being mean, he is really nuts. Not in a bad kind of way, but in an OCD, obsessive emotionally needy kind of way. (Just as an aside all our dogs tend to be very emotionally needy. The vet mentioned that to me, how all the dogs seem to like and seek out attention in that way. It really must be something in the water.) The labradoodle also does have a domineering personality (that’s the poodle in him) which we need to keep in check all the time. BTW did you know that poodles were actually bred as lion-hunting dogs by French royalty? I didn’t until after we bought dog number 3. Then of course it was too late and we needed to make it work. Lucky for him he is really cute. (Just to give you an idea about how nuts the labradoodle is, when the Obamas were trying to decide which kind of dog to get for the White House it was between a labradoodle and a Portuguese water hound. My mother happened to mention to me that I should find a way to contact the powers that be in Washington D.C. and warn them off a labradoodle. She had no desire to see the White House destroyed.)

Now how do the dogs and boys figure into this blog? Well let’s see…the dogs are so hyperactive as youngsters that they could have been said to be ADD. They need to have things done in a certain way (i.e. if the water isn’t fresh enough they won’t drink out of the bowl-I kid you not.), so there is your OCD and they really have never learned the proper social skills, so there is the ASPERGERS. It dawned on me that we have chosen animals that fit so well into our family that perhaps they picked up some of the habits of the humans in the household or quite frankly we were drawn to these animals because they resemble us. There is that old wives-tale that humans and their dog pets tend to start looking like each other after a few years so why not behaving alike as well?

So here we have some animals that have many issues. We have boys with many issues. They have all five been raised together and grew up together and form an odd sort of pack, with me as pack leader, much to the labradoodle’s chagrin. For him it is not for lack of trying to be the alpha dog. It was also not so easy to get him to stop trying to dominate the boys. There was quite a lot of punishment for him until he gave up; well it seems just for the time being. I am sure he is planning his coup d’état for sometime in the future. You can see it in how he looks at you like he is working things out.

Anyway apart from the ADD, OCD and the aspergers one other thing that the dogs and boys have in common is their fear of rain. I kid you not. I always find it interesting that the dogs, which are descendent of wolves, some of the fiercest and most prolific predators on the planet, should be loathe to go outside in the rain. But then again my dogs also like to sleep on kooshy beds and the bichon has a velvet pillow (we won’t go there either, the velvet pillow was hubby wanting to treat her like a girl. He also bought her a velvet pink doggie coat. Lucky for him he never had a human-girl-child. He would be totally hopeless and useless and wrapped around her finger. Believe you me he indulges his sons well enough.) These dogs have no interest in even scouting for food outside their bowl or what is on the human dinner plate. They have no desire to truly go beyond the confines of their happy little nest and quite frankly let everyone in the neighborhood know to not come any closer. (Another aside, the Wheaton terrier is an Irish sheep dog. The only dog in the neighborhood that he can’t stand is the English Spaniel. I do get a bit of a kick out of that one. Something ingrained perhaps.)

Well the idea that the dogs don’t like rain is quite amusing really. The boys don’t like rain either. Oh not because of the thunderstorms. That used to bother them when they were little but they are full grown now. It is the idea of getting wet that bothers them. But at the same token the boys have no problem with bathes. In fact they like to take long luxurious baths. (You should see my water bill.) But the boys do have a fear and a loathing of being out in the rain. Personally I never understood that. One of the things I have always loved is walking in the rain during a thunderstorm. Of course now I know that it was a stupid thing to do, with lightening and all, but when I was younger it was something that gave me undo pleasure.

However, the boys just hate rain. They fear it really. Collegeman at times carries an umbrella with him on extremely sunny days just in case it might, in some version of reality, rain during his day. I swear you would think that there was some genetic Englishman in his background with his love of umbrellas. HSB has issues with the rain, I think more because he is afraid to get all his electronic equipment wet. Yes I say equipment, that he carries with him wherever and whenever he goes anywhere. There is the iphone, the Nintendo handheld, and the PSP. He lives in fear that the rains will destroy his beloved electronic life.

Oh it’s not that you can’t replace it, but it is the loss of data that will ensue when and if that happens. The meltdowns and the proverbial excruciating transition into finally accepting a new phone, or gaming-system is tantamount to emotional trauma. I have to tell you it took over a week and a severe meltdown when we switched him from one iphone to another. He lost some of his data and that just sent him on a terrible spiral no matter what we did. I was also not being mean when we switched phones. He needed a different carrier for college, as his old phone carrier doesn’t really work at his new school so we decided to just go ahead and do it. There are times when you deal with your children and they are so functional and so typical in their everyday reality that you can forget that it is the little things that send them over the edge at times. We felt bad for him, but unfortunately it was something that had to be done. (You should have also seen the panic, when we had to get the PlayStation 3 fixed. He actually wrote a note to PlayStation that they were to fix the old one and not send a new one so he didn’t loose any data. Poor kid worried about it for weeks. We know now, to backup everything on the PlayStation 3 to a thumbdrive.)

Meanwhile, the boys and the dogs and the rain.  Wolves are supposed to like water and not fear the rain. Humans are supposed to like water and have rejoiced in its abundance and prayed for it in time of need. The only creature throughout history that had no use for water was the Wicked Witch of the West. I tell the boys not to worry so much about the rain, that they will not melt if they get wet. The dogs I warn them that if they don’t go outside to the bathroom they had better not poop in my house. Then they look at me like I am crazy. I can see the dogs just thinking how would you like to go outside in the rain to the bathroom? Oh yes, I do talk to my dogs like they are my children. The boys and hubby think I am crazy and make fun of me. But I swear the dogs understand everything and even know when they are “playing” me. (The labradoodle when he wants a treat won’t come in when I call him if I don’t promise him a snack. As soon as he hears that word “treat” he makes a beeline for that front door.) They constantly ask me if I truly expect an answer out of the dogs when I ask the dogs a question…. Of course I do not but you bet those dogs know what I mean and they behave better for awhile.

Anyway, there it is in a nutshell. The dogs, the boys and the total insanity of my household…aspergers, OCD, ADD and a fear that rain will melt you. The only difference is that some of the children who have this fear have four legs and fur. Of course with the boys and puberty it is not always easy to tell who is more hairy the boys or the dogs. Also not quite sure who is more spoiled, the boys or the dogs. I really think it’s the dogs.

Until next time,