Sunday, October 14, 2007

Puppy of Doom

She's also known as the "beastly Bess," and if I tell you that when I see this particular picture of her or even simply think of the dog in context with the house in general, I hear that particular theme from horror movies --you know the one, the triple, high-pitched string notes when a sea creature is about to attack or someone is about to be stabbed violently-- well, if I tell you this perhaps you will have an inkling of the last few weeks here.

The dog has been on a chewing rampage. If there was a twelve step program for dogs with a chewing addiction, I would enroll dear Bess. Unfortunately, there's not (or, I haven't found one) and I know, oh I know, that this is A Puppy Thing. So we'll take all our lessons and put things away properly and protect others with plastic or steel or something very, very durable.

The first casualty was underwear. Lots and lots of underwear. Which she will climb into the big plastic hamper just to get, and maul. Then it was a variety of small toys, such as finding Benjamin's small Papo knight incapacitated and...dare I say, stripped of his manhood?...with three quarters of his jousting spear gnawed off.

Well, this IS a puppy we're talking about, right? This is completely normal, absolutely to be expected. This small being is a bundle of explodable energy, a tiny tornado of unquenchable enthusiasm for everything, including the taste of knights and underpants. Yes, yes of course, so when I found tooth marks in the tip of a wooden knitting needle, I reminded myself of this very thing, and cleansed myself of irritation and resentment.

But then...the real carnage began. My glasses, left on the night table, were stealthily stolen and the leg, the part that rests above the ear, was reduced to an unsightly mass of plastic. The lenses were undamaged though, and the munched part was hidden when I put them on! So I got over it, and put my glasses in the hall closet at night. Then the real blow, the sucker-punch to an internet-addicted stomach. A tiny tooth puncture, probably unintentional (you'd better hope so, Bess!) rendered the power adaptor to my laptop useless. And, since I have a MacBook, this power adaptor could not be found in a store anywhere near here. In fact, even the Apple store in St. Louis did not have any in stock. This power adaptor is apparently the only crappy thing Apple does! So I had to order one and was without The Internets for about a week.

Well, I survived obviously. And we really love this dog. As she chases a tennis ball around the back yard or latches on to Benjamin's pants leg for a good wrassle we can laugh about the Trouble she is. When her entire body convulses in wiggles of excitement as she greets us returning home or she burrows under the quilt against me in the early morning, only a small, wet, black nose poking out, I can almost...almost...say with total sincerity that I am over the cost of a new power adaptor.

I guess that's a sign another family member has cemented themselves into our household.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Fabulous Destiny of a New Reader

Sophia is actually reading now. It takes a lot of effort and she still needs to spend a lot of time sounding words out (because her list of sight words is pretty small when you think of all the different words that make up a story!) but she's doing it. It's exhilarating and exciting to watch her discover this new world all for herself. We've always done a lot of reading around here, but there is really a huge difference between only knowing books from being read to, and being able to explore them all on your own. She's not quite there yet, but she's so close we can both taste it.

I've also started reading bigger chapter books to the kids, and with Autumn approaching it puts all of us in the mood to cuddle up and read. I love that; the DVD player goes off and the Leapsters are put away and I know that those quiet hours are the ones that will stay with them like a shadow as they progress through their own adventures with knowledge and learning and the entire wide world that is open to them.

On a different tangent, what do you suppose the walls of a house would look like when the family who lives there brought next to nothing to it while they lived there? Would you think they would be bare? Well, not our walls! We are sporting our own, very special art gallery here. The artists are quite young, but very promising. Might be collector pieces one day.