Thursday, April 1, 2010

Lost and Found.

There are many rites of passage in our world. Graduating, getting married, having children. Each one inducts you into a not so secret society through the shared common bonds. Women who hardly know each other can sit around the kitchen and go into great detail of birthing experiences while men slink off at the first utterance of the word contractions.  It is impolite to pass gas at such a gathering, yet stories will include details such as effacement, tearing, and pushing. These stories are produced like certificates confirming eligibility into the society of parenthood. Friends who have tirelessly tried to conceive will regale the society with tales of induced hormone rages.  I've had friends who adopt share their stories of traveling around the world, living months in a 3rd world country to bring home a sweet baby. All because so many of us are hardwired to propogate the species and go forth on one of life's greatest and most dangerous journeys-Parenting.

There are rows of books telling you what to expect and how to help yourself through this harrowing time. Because shortly after the little cretins learn to walk, they become this self centered little bundle of personality and one soon forgets all the trouble one went to of producing this little angel. Apparently the little angels aren't hard wired for self preservation despite what many of the anthropologists tell us. They are Evel Knievel meets Beavis and Butthead.  They will scale great heights to jump off. They will touch things that are clearly not meant to be touched- such as fire, or ice, or the brand new flat screen television.  They will eat things never meant for consumption such as soap, garbage and poo. And just for the record, the soap does not counteract the ickiness of poo within the digestive tract, quite the opposite really. You will learn that to these miniature humans, bodily functions are very entertaining, especially in public.  In many ways they are like having pets with the potential for evolution by adulthood. Due to such probability, it is generally frowned upon to leash, cage, or restrain said creatures. There is also a recent movement that protests the leashing, caging or restraint of any living creature. The solution to all above mentioned problems seems to be the stroller. But I digress.

Last week there was a knock at the door right around dawn. In usual fashion, by the time I got downstairs my little cretins had pulled a chair over and unlocked the upper dead bolt. Like I said, evolution. And there at the door, was our neighbor with the most adorable canine specimen I had ever seen. She found her wandering around our alley and she was late for work, could we take in the pup?  Well my pets were jumping up and down chasing their own tails with excitement. Before I had even said goodbye, my eldest female had commandeered the tiny canine and instructed the others to pour a bowl of water and find food for her.  By the time I got to the kitchen, there were no less than 3 bowls filled with the finest filtered and bottled waters available. We like to offer our guests variety. Then the discussion began as to what we should call her.  As I rescued the poor thing from an interesting game of hot potato between my daughters- my middle child was preparing a bed for the animal and trying to get me to bundle her as a baby.  I noticed the puppy was developing a nervous tick and ordered everyone to get dressed so we could get the elder children to school  As soon as they left the room, the puppy stretched out on my lap and I discovered she was not a she after all.   The girls reappeared declaring they were going to name her Hannah. I explained that she was a he and that he had a name we just didn't know it.

After the elder children were off to school, the girls and I wandered from house to house trying to find the puppy's human. No one had seen him before but just about everyone was ready to keep him.  As we returned home, another neighbor was walking by and we stopped to show her our latest find. As we stood chatting- two ladies, 4 houses down come running out and the puppy immediately hurtles to them. They had run an errand first thing this morning and he snuck out. I giggled when the lady told me his name was Susie.  I learned that he was adorable, but the effort to keep him safe from smothering by 3 little girls was exhausting. I have a hard enough time keeping them from smothering each other- I'm not ready to throw another animal in the mix.

Fast forward a week.  The little girls and I were walking to the park that is 2 blocks away. Lily finds it amusing to make me run. Now that she can ride a 2 wheeler- it happens more than I would like. The rules for my running are immediate death or dismemberment and fire. Although certain death or dismemberment could technically occur whilst Lily is riding her 2 wheeler- it is not immediate. Usually.

 We often joke that Bella is our puppy. She eats off the floor, is somewhat house trained, and has tendencies to roll around on the ground. She also likes to chase birds. But most kids do, so by itself that criteria doesn't always stand.  We finished playing at the park and were perched on the street corner in our usual debate- which way should we go home. Lily wants to go left. Bella right.  Lily takes off and Bella takes the cue to sprint in the opposite direction. I am calling to both and run after Lily because Bella usually will cave and follow after us. Bella yells she knows how to go home this way. I catch Lily and we return to the street corner. Mind you, I would be faster if not hindered by the stroller that the puppy insisted on bringing.  I can't see Bella. We jog back down to the alley and I am hoping to cut her off before she crosses the street. We get to the sidewalk- no Bella. We run to the left crossing another alley until I can see our house- the whole time we are calling her name. No Bella. Maybe she was actually obeying the rule of not crossing the street without an adult and went back to the park. Back we go.  No Bella.  I spot a Geek Squad Puch Buggy driving by. I wave him down. I ask him if on his way down the street he sees a little girl with a green polka dot shirt could he please honk? He offers to drive around the block. I call my neighbor as we walk down the block. The punch buggy zooms back, he asks me if we live on Kaiee street? The anxious nausea is starting to ebb. She is sitting on our porch. He says he will go wait with her until we get there. Lily and I run(and bike) back to the house. As I get to our street, 2 neighbors are on hand and the punch buggy is parked in front of the house.  As soon as Bella sees me, she runs over and I see something I've only seen once or twice in her eyes- fear.  Are you supposed to run away from me?  No, she buries her head in my shoulder. If she had a tail, it would be between her legs. Are you supposed to cross the street without an adult?  I looked both ways.  Ugh.  Despite the fact that I know she learned her lesson, I know this will not be the last time something like this happens. I feel compelled to remind her of it periodically throughout the day. My mom friends all commisserate and recount the times they lost a child.  It is another one of those parenthood milestones.   

I learned a couple of things. Bella does know her way home from the park. Pretty impressive considering in this cookie cutter neighborhood there are no less than 3 houses on any block that look the exact same as ours. Secondly when push comes to shove-Despite my daily declaration otherwise, I do not want Bella to get lost. I have added lost children to acceptable reasons for running. And finally, I still don't believe in leashing children- but am considering buying a tranquilizer dart gun.
I asked Phillip to do a cartoon rendering for me of a dog in a stroller and a baby on a leash. A bit heavy on the black, but as Phillip put it- it's a streeeeet. Yeesh. Another one of those fun parental things- molding little minds in your favor.

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