Saturday, April 16, 2011

Harris Kids You've Got Talent!!

There are tons of reality TV shows scouring the country for talented fresh faces of all ages. They could really save a lot of time and just come by my living room...because my kids are supremely talented. I know you're thinking I'm biased since I'm their mother. There's nothing more annoying than the Mom that has the wonderfully talented and gifted child. Yes it's fabulous that little Susie could read at eighteen months and do trigonometry by the age of three, but do I have to hear about it every thirty seconds? By the way Susie just set the cat on fire you might want to check on that.

Back to my fabulously talented kids. Really their abilities rank on an almost mystical level that keeps me scratching my head in slack-jawed wonder. If they up their game any further I'm going to have to start looking for magical schools housed in castles in the English countryside in which to enroll them.

Whenever my husband or I travel at least one of our children will become sick. Now I don't mean they get the sniffles or a tummy ache, I'm talking high fevers, asthma attacks and projectile vomiting. The kind of illnesses that test a parent's mettle. I can't tell you how many times I've coached my husband over the phone from some distant location on what medicine to give and at what dose. Nor can I count the number of visits I've made to the pediatrician's urgent care hours while Grandma kept the healthy kids because Dad was away.

We can go months with no major illnesses, but print a boarding pass and you might as well buy the pedialyte. It also appears they are able to intensify their illness based on the complexity of the trip or difficulty of the family's schedule. Case in point, while Jay was on a four wheeler trip he had no cell phone service. The only way to reach him was when he called me collect from his cabin in the evenings. (I didn't know you could even make collect calls anymore, except from jail.) So with no way to reach him you can be certain that one of the children would test their abilities. Caden, our seven year old, had been on antibiotics for three days for a sinus infection. The morning after Dad left Caden spiked a fever and his death rattle cough became so excruciating no one in the house was sleeping. Off to urgent care went to find out my whiz kid had developed a secondary infection in his lungs after the sinus and ear infection, but the antibiotic appeared to be taking hold and would work well against pneumonia too which is where we were headed. An added steroid would help the crackling in his chest.

Super! We had avoided a hospital stay. Now it would only be eight hours until his father called and I could let him know. Maybe it was better this way, what he didn't know wouldn't keep him from enjoying his trip. He had prepared so well to make his absence easy on us, but how do you prepare for the terrific trio and their infectious talents?

I'm curious what talents do your kids have?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

When Did I Become That Person?

At some point in our adult lives we all ask the question 'When did I become that person?' For some of us we will ask it many times. When did I become that parent that negotiates with video games? When did I become too old and un-cool to recognize the band that won the Grammy for album of the year? Or most curious for me of late...when did I of all people become a dog person?

A few weeks ago I attended a meeting where they conducted an ice breaker exercise that required everyone to declare if they were a cat or dog person? A side had to be chosen no one could remain in the middle. I have always been, with out a doubt, a cat person. As a child I carried kittens around and read books about cats. I even took pictures of my cat with me to college. However, on a chilly March day in a hotel meeting room in Chicago I found myself floundering over which side to choose and as they say it went to the dogs.

Its natural for some children to fear dogs. I on the other hand had a mortal terror of all things canine. Until I was about twelve years old a beagle could bring me to sobbing hysterics. There had been a run-in with a well meaning collie that tried to herd me as a toddler by nipping at my heals.

So how you might ask did I come to consider myself a dog person? It's all my husband's fault. Three years ago when we moved into our current house we promised our son we would get a dog at some point because we now had plenty of yard space and we weren't to close to the road. As a couple we discussed how to best approach adding a dog to the family. We decided that since our oldest was getting ready to start kindergarten we would wait until we were established several months into the school routine and then we would look for an adult dog that would be calmer and easier to handle. So one Sunday afternoon several weeks before the start of school I came home to find my husband with a puppy.

To say I was an unhappy spouse would be the understatement of the year.

The first words he greeted me with were "It's not permanent, we can try him out for a week as a foster and if he doesn't work out I can take him back." Riiiiiight, I'm going to tell my three bright eyed children sorry the puppy didn't work out we're going to take him back to the rescue shelter that saved him from a life of abuse and neglect. I'm certainly not that person.

Here was the thing about Buster, as the puppy came to be named, he had been abused as I mentioned and had never in his five month life been out of his crate. He was terrified of the kids, open space, his food bowl, toys and his own tail often startled him. Anything and everything frightened this dog into head to paw shaking with one exception. Me. I was the only thing that gave Buster any sort of peace. We would sit together on the deck those first few days and he would just lay against my leg while I petted him. After awhile I was able to introduce him to some toys and the backyard.

Maybe it was that initial bonding experience, but ever since when something that could be emotionally overwhelming needs done with Buster it falls on me. I took him through six weeks of obedience school, I find him when he's lost and take him to the vet when he's hurt.

There's one small caveat to all this, I'm deathly allergic to dogs. I don't mean that if I pet a dog I might sneeze a little. This is more like airways closing I need my inhaler allergies. If you've never seen hives form then you should come on over. Buster just needs to lick me and you can watch the hives magically appear in under sixty seconds. You might say it's a toxic relationship.

Buster is still afraid of everything and I'm still trying to train him. Just this week I sustained an injury while trying to teach him to fetch. When sixty-five pounds of pure muscle plows into you at full tilt it leaves a mark. Then he looked up at me with that pitiful apologetic face and I couldn't help but hobble over to pet him...and then wash my hands. Maybe I shouldn't say I'm a dog person, I might just be a Buster person.

I promised and update on the book so here it is! The re-write/edit is underway. Most of the time I write and don't look back, so the re-write is going to be an interesting journey. I've found some nice little pearls and then I've gone "did I really just start five sentences in a row with the same word?"

Here's a juicy little teaser from the book for you.

The mayhem reached a fevered pitch but Devin knew no medical miracle would save him as she slipped quietly out of the room. She was halfway down the hall when her commander Captain Morris stopped her.

“Dushane! What the hell are you doing? You look like something out of bad horror flick. Get in there and get stitched up!”

She heard most of what he said, but the adrenaline rush was over, the loss of blood was catching up with her and a wave of grief was threatening to crush her. The last thing she heard before she hit the floor was a stream of curses from Captain Morris.

That's all you get for now!