Thursday, April 18, 2013

Little Mac and the Baby: Both Need Diapers

I like to sleep.  I need to sleep.  After spring break, David went out of town by himself for a weekend with some friends (question: why has he done this twice this spring?  When will I do this?) (truth:  I am so not ready to be away from the baby overnight) and Zuzu and I worked out the realization (for both of us) that she actually does NOT need to nurse more than once in the middle of the night.  (She probably doesn't "need" to nurse that one time, given the way she's now chowing down on food and taking bottles of expressed milk at daycare like a champ, but, you know.  It's her comfort and I don't mind getting up once, so for now we've found what works.)

So sleep has been going ok.  The best part is that on days when I don't have to go to campus, I'll often bring Zuzu into bed with me and we'll snuggle up and sleep in late.  (By "late," I now mean anywhere between 8 and 8:45am instead of 6:45 to 7am).  It's really sweet and I love those mornings.

Today was supposed to be one of those mornings.  And the setting was perfect--a summer rainstorm adding the perfect gray atmosphere and rhythmic rainfall that makes you want to do nothing but roll over under the covers and doze off, while smelling the top of baby's sweet head.  Heavenly.

Except, not this morning.

This morning, Zuzu decided she HAD to nurse around 4:30am.  Fine.  I brought her to bed, nursed her, went back to sleep.  But THEN she decided to wake up at 5:30am, which is exactly the worst time possible because (1) I work hard to make it a personal priority never to be awake for the day before 6am and (2) David has to get up at 6am, so being rudely awakened by screaming baby, wriggling baby a half hour before your alarm is set to go off is really unfortunate.

Usually I can pop a bink in her mouth and cuddle up with her and she'll let out a sweet baby sigh and go back to sleep.  Not today.

She screamed, she lurched, she flung herself around.  I started to wonder if she was in pain, but it wasn't her "I'm hurt" cry, it was her "I'm super pissed off and there is no rationalizing with me" cry and we were totally at a loss.  Finally I wrestled a bink into her mouth (sometimes she fights it and then she realizes she likes it) and then I changed her diaper (wet, not dirty).  And I brought her back to bed.  (It was 5:45 at this point, David was still desperately burying his head in the pillow trying to pretend he could go back to sleep.)

Zuzu was having none of it.  She crawled, she sat, she tried to stand, she pinched, she pulled hair, she smacked, she popped out her bink and babbled.  Girlfriend was AWAKE, and dammit, she wanted us to be awake too.

Finally David's alarm went off and I admitted defeat.  We both stumbled out of bed.  He got in the shower, I brushed my teeth and then carried the baby into the living room where I plopped her down on the floor with some toys and collapsed on the couch, exhausted and bleary-eyed.

Of course she no longer stays on her little blanket, so she was off and crawling.  I watched her crawl over by the curio cabinet filled with bobbleheads and then reluctantly stood up so that I could intervene if/when she got herself in that awkward position where she pulls herself up but then she can't get her legs to move in so she ends up with her hands on the curio cabinet, standing on her feet, but bent at the waist at a 90 degree angle and unable to move.

She didn't make it that far.  Instead, David came out of the bathroom and said, "What IS that?"

He was looking at the baby.  I looked at her, saw nothing, and said, "What are you talking about?"

He said, "What is she crawling in?"

As far as I could tell, she was crawling on the floor in front of the curio cabinet.  I had no idea what David was talking about (also:  it's only like ten minutes after 6 at this point, I was not yet functioning on full brain power).

So I said, "WHAT?"

And he said, "The floor is all wet."

Sure enough, when I moved to another angle, I could see the light reflecting in a puddle on the floor.

And I think we all know what that means...


Little Mac's bathroom issues have not improved since I took her to the vet last week and had a physical exam and full blood panel done to see if she has some health issue that is causing her to empty her bladder and bowels wherever she damn well pleases (the dining room is a favorite choice).

And NO--there's absolutely nothing wrong with Little Mac, physically.  She is apparently pain-free and has no internal issues according to her blood panel.  But SOMETHING is going on (perhaps she's senile?) because on Tuesday while I was in the living room she pooped and peed in the dining room.  And I was RIGHT THERE.  She EASILY could have gone outside.  I scolded her and made her go outside as soon as I saw the poop and pee (it was fresh so she had JUST done it), and I really think she had no idea why I was so freaking mad at her.

That night she had to spend the day in the garage and stay there while I was at work on Wednesday because I am freaking sick and tired of coming home to a house that smells like dog feces and having to clean up poop and pee (wipe up, spray and wipe, swiffer, then steam clean) as soon as I walk in the door.  (Fortunately the weather was nice, so it wasn't a big deal for her to spend the day out there--I made Cooper go too, so he didn't get special privileges.)

But last night she hid from David and he couldn't get her into the garage or the kitchen when he was ready to go to bed.  So he gave up (I was already asleep) and she had free run of the house.

And at some point she peed in front of the curio cabinet.

And this morning the baby crawled in it.

And so I had to give the baby a bath while David had to clean up the mess and YOU GUYS I CANNOT HANDLE THIS.

And all of this happened before 6:30AM and that is WAY to early for me to be doing anything but sipping decaf and eating cereal.

(Also, Cooper remains terrified of storms, so the entire time this was all playing out, he was constantly whining and underfoot.  Totally not annoying at all.)

David (bless him) cleaned up the mess (well, it still needs to be steam cleaned) and left for work.  I got the baby dressed and we played in her nursery for a while (normally a dog-free zone, but I took pity on Cooper and let him in there to lean up against me and tremble--meanwhile, Little Mac napped on a pillow in the corner of the living room because I just don't know what to do with her and also it was raining too hard to take her out to the garage.  All Mac wants to do is sleep anyway.  She's very low-maintenance when she's not relieving herself anywhere she damn well pleases).  Then I took Zuzu to the kitchen and plopped her in her high chair.  She ate some cheerios, devoured her favorite breakfast of fruit puree + yogurt, THEN ate some graham cracker with cream cheese.  So... maybe she woke up hungry?  Because I started a load of laundry and when I turned back around, Zuzu was asleep in her high chair.


She woke up when I wiped her face and hands with a wash cloth and carried her to her room to change her diaper, but then proceeded to fall asleep on the changing table.

To which I say:  MUST BE NICE.  I would like to go back to bed, but at that point it was 7:30AM and taking a nap would just screw up my day.

(I did take her temperature just in case, but it was totally normal.  I might have googled "baby narcolepsy" out of concern, but after consulting with Dr. Google, I don't really think that's the issue.)

In all seriousness, we have finally come to the conclusion that between Little Mac's unpredictable aggression and daily bathroom issues, we just can't go on like this.

I called my mom sobbing because that Tuesday that she pooped in the house with me in the next room, it really became clear that we weren't going to be able to keep her, and since it didn't seem likely that we'd find someone who wanted to take in a 13-year-old (perfectly healthy!) dog who doesn't see or hear really well, cannot be trusted around small children, tends to bite when startled or annoyed, and is evidently no longer housebroken, I realized we were out of options.  I was suddenly absolutely certain we'd have to have her put to sleep and I can't even express how terrible I felt.

I mean seriously.  Look at that face.
But my mom came to the rescue, and Little Mac is going to go live with her grandparents.  Indefinitely.

I'm so relieved, but I'm also nervous about how this will go, mostly because my dad and Little Mac tend to have personality conflicts (because their personalities are so similar, hahaha) and my dad has lots of ideas about "tough love" that I think, in this case, are misguided.  I just don't think it's a training issue.  I mean, maybe we're permissive about some things, but we have always been pretty firm on the idea that dogs have to go to the bathroom OUTSIDE.  This is a sudden and recent development, and it didn't correspond with any specific event I can put my finger on.  (I think it started around the holidays).  I really think maybe Little Mac is just confused, but I just don't know.  She seems perfectly FINE, except for this bathroom problem.  I'm afraid of adding to her confusion (if that's what is really going on) by sending her home with them, but she's familiar with their house and she loves my mom, so I think she will adjust okay. My parents have a huge dog crate, and space to set it up, so they can keep her confined during the day.  And I know it will be a relief to not have to set up barriers between Little Mac and the rest of the family, or run constant interference between her and the baby.  It will also be a relief not to have to freaking clean up her pee and poop every day.

Excuse me?  You should consider it a privilege to clean up after me.
But still, it's hard to send her away from her home (even if she is defiling her home on a daily basis), and I will miss her (even if I've been super pissed at her a lot of the time lately).  She's still my girl.  She's so weird and so messed up and so freaking obnoxious, but I love her, and she's been my dog for the past eleven years (yes, she actually came with David, but I quickly won her over).

A rare moment when Mac is near the baby. Mac is generally better behaved when she's out of doors, but she hit her limit and had to go back inside after about fifteen minutes.
And I will never forget when that surly, misanthropic, bizarre little dog who NEVER sits on our laps and NEVER wants to snuggle (she barely tolerates us petting her, and that's only if she initiates contact), suddenly jumped up on our bed, and curled up next to me one cold night in December.  She had never, ever slept in our bed.  In fact, that was the one and only time she did it.  It was the first night we were home after we lost Eliza.

Little Mac.  And the cord to the steam cleaner.


  1. Oh, that last line. Animals just know, don't they? I'm sorry about what's happening with Little Mac. Big hug to you.

  2. I thought this post title meant Little Mac was going to be wearing diapers!! Is that an option?? Also, why are you drinking DECAF?!

  3. That last part brought tears to my eyes. My pom is ok with our kids, pretty tolerant but a yappy dog and possessive (but has never bitten etc.) Our Bichon is great with kids, but a super sensitive stomach and will randomly vomit in the house every few months (he is only 5!) Vet checked him and he is totally fine...but I have gotten soooo mad at that dog! One night the baby was crying and I was up steam cleaning my master and living room carpet from dog puke at 3am!

    When a close close friend of mine died at age 27 in a boating accident almost 8 years ago, that Pom was a puppy. He stayed by me for days when I couldn't stop crying and couldn't get out of bed. They just know.


  4. OK, that last line got me. Animals are amazing (yet disgusting).

    Also, what someone else asked: Why are you drinking decaf?!

  5. Oh, such a hard decision. It sounds like the right one, especially with the aggression. Our dog couldn't handle Wes as a toddler and went to live with my parents for a year after James was born. It was a huge relief to not have to worry about the nipping and growling. He is back now and everything is much better.

  6. Sounds like protest pooping/peeing to me. He might be happier with your folks given there is no baby to contend with and he'll be left alone to sleep the days away. I hope that's the case, anyway. Good luck with everything, including the move.

  7. This was the right call my friend. A tough one for sure, and bless her heart for being there for you when you needed love the most, but now that Caroline is on the move you guys will be SO much more relaxed about baby/dog issues and can worry about everything else (stairs! Cabinets! Holy hell these babies are fast!)

    Also, I'm sure your dad is thrilled to be compared to Little Mac. Hopefully your mom doesn't have to steam clean after him too :)

  8. Oh that is hard. I am glad your mom can take her and hopefully it works out well.

    We have dog issues too, though really it's a "Luke torments our dogs" issue. Our husky puts up with a ton from him, including Luke laying across him, smacking him, pulling his tail (none of which we "allow" but it happens), but the one thing he can't handle is Luke tormenting him when he's in his crate. He nipped Luke on the hand and left a little indention tooth mark that didn't even break the skin or bruise. (Considering Luke climbs in the crate with him, he could have done a lot of damage if he had wanted to..) It made Luke cry but did not help him stop. Right now I mostly try to keep them apart in the hopes that Luke will learn to behave and we can all live peacefully together someday. I would rather Luke learn to treat dogs nicely from our dogs that I mostly trust vs. someone else's dog who may tear his face up. But still, I have contemplated the risks and if it's fair to either of them a lot. If my parents would take our husky, I'd do it in a second.

    Hugs to you!

  9. I'm sorry. Our pets are such an important part of our families. But of course, you cannot have poop and pee all over the house. It definitely sounds like this will be for the best and Little Mac will be well taken care of.

  10. I'm so sorry. My dog Rosie behaved so oddly after Nathaniel died. We came home from the hospital and she found a ball and started to try to play with me. I know she could feel the grief - who can't in those early days?! - and I think she was trying to lighten my heart. And I love her for it.

    I have no idea why your healthy dog is suddenly peeing and pooping inside. So weird! But I'm glad that your parents are willing to step in. Wow. Mom to the rescue! My mom would *not* take on a dog. Sounds like Zuzu might be going through a growth spurt (eat, sleep, eat, sleep). Healthy, sweet little baby. Good luck with sleep, mama <3

  11. Oh pet love melts my heart.

    I'm so happy to hear that your parents are taking little Mac. I can only hope that our cats are cool and normal if/when children arrive. My mom Wout Not take a pet for she's now on the last of our childhood animals. One more cat (who they love and would be heartbroken when the time comes!!) and they'll be pet free. And after 3 cats and one dog...all unplanned, all rescues... She's looking forward to some "free time" as she calls it. Ha!

    You made the right decision. Animal poop,pee,puke are not ok to have in house as a constant battle. My one cat Sammi pooped RIGHT outside his box almost everyday when I lived in apartments/condos with him. He is so High Maintenance. He didn't like small spaces, people, being pet, talked to, approached, payed with...and! He's super long hair and hated being brushed and NEVER fully groomed himself. He was always matted, full of dander and a pain in the ass. And, he was/is an obnoxious meower. But would at times, find your feet, turn on his back, purr, and want his belly scratched. Wtf? Now, in the new house, and after having him professionally shaved 2-3 times a year..we're all a lot happier.

    He still meows (more like howels) up a storm at random hours of the day/night. And it's the weirdest thing to explain as he does it often when I'm on the phone. "no, that's not a wild dog's my cat."

    Damn cats!

    Anyway! I know the love they give is unique and at the most crucial times, amazing. My heart goes out to quirky pets and their owners. It's not an easy life.

  12. So sorry that Little Mac has to go stay with your parents. I totally know how you feel. We had to find a new home for our dog once LB became mobile. She was fine with him initially but the second he started walking and getting in her space she started acting aggressive and it was so scary. I tried to keep them separated but it just didn't work and was beyond stressful. I shed many a tears. I'm glad she is going to be with your parents so you can still visit and get updates. But I know you'll miss that cute face! hugs!

  13. I don't know how you make everything into such a great, funny story, but I'm really grateful for this talent of yours.

    Having said that, I'm sorry you have these tough decisions to make and I'm so glad your parents are able to help.

  14. Oh, Little Mac. The pooping and peeing is really too much, but I have always felt fondness for your crazy dog because she comforted you when you needed it most.

    I hope the move works out well for everyone (people and dogs).

  15. Ahhh, another great post, for a great number of reasons.
    There is recognizance, relief that it isn't just me who brings her daughter into bed with her in the wee hours of morn, laughter, empathy, a healthy "Eeeeeww, THAT sucks", more laughter (Zuzu falling asleep twice is freaking hiLARious - isn't that how they go, irreparably messing with our sleep when they can take a schnooze whenever they darn well please?) and...a big sigh. Both for decisions around Little Mac and for his beautiful gesture of love and "dogness" that horrible day.
    We have a 13 year old dog too, a lab. Ruby. Last fall she started pooping in the house on occasion and exhibiting some other geriatric behaviors and we thought we'd be putting her down soon. But she didn't get worse and she's so damn sweet, such a good dog, we kept making exceptions and dealing with it. This spring the incidents became considerably more frequent and when Catherine became mobile, the situation a bit more tenuous, as you know (even though I watch so close, what if she DID get to a fresh sample before I noticed it?). Still, we didn't make any big decisions - Ruby's been such a good girl and the vet insists she's fine, just old. How can you punish her for being old and losing bowel control?
    But fateful day a couple of weeks ago I started to videotape the two of them interacting (aka Catherine rocking back and forth in crawl position, headbutting Ruby while she lay on her bed) when Ruby growled and bared her teeth. Which she NEVER does.
    We'd said long ago that if Catherine were ever in possible danger with Ruby, that would be our tipping point. Since I had it on video, it was indisputable that it was time. It's still scary to see - headbutting sounds bad but C was really just bumping her a little and loving on her the way babes do. But Ruby had grown too crotchety in her old age, apparently, to tolerate such antics. The alternatives to keeping Catherine safe weren't fair to Ruby or us, so... last Wednesday we said goodbye to her. Which we're at peace with because Ruby wasn't having such a good time lately anyway, not doing many of the things she used to love, and her life basically consisted of hawking any and all of Catherine's meal droppings/leftovers, being forced outside to poop/pee several times a day, and sleeping. Still. It's a terrible decision to make.
    All that to say...I totally get it. There's only so much you can take and stay sane. And I'm so glad at least a "for now" solution was found.
    Mac...Eliza. Good dog.

  16. Good old mom & dad. ;) Glad you found a solution that will let you visit Little Mac AND keep your floors dry & safe from exploring babies. And yep, that last paragraph more than makes up for any bad behaviour.