Monday, April 18, 2011


Oh my goodness. I'm sooo ready for summer to be here. I have a post to put up about my big epiphany (still needs some work, and don't have time for that tonight, for reasons that will soon become clear), and in that I talk a lot more about work than I ever have on this blog. So, as a little preview of that, I'm a professor at a secular university. Right now, I have about six weeks left until I finish teaching for the summer and can be at home with our kids.

Things were going along pretty well, with our kids attending a little preschool/parents'-day-out program two mornings a week (and then I pick them up, take them home for naps, and work while they sleep), and our beloved nanny caring for them all day on my teaching days. Short of grandparents living next door, I couldn't hope for better childcare when we can't be with the kids. And then our nanny was injured in an accident last week! She'll be fine, but has a lot of recovery and healing to do. She's been such a tremendous blessing to our family, and I'm so sad to think of her in pain. I'm sad for us, too, because she's a wonderful influence on our kids, and on Mr. X and me, too--and we just plain like being with her.

So, with great trepidation, I set out to find childcare for the rest of the school year. Mr. X was wise in suggesting that we make plans for this week first, and then worry about finding a more permanent solution for the rest of the school year. He asked the wonderful couple who sit with the kids during mass (while we sing up in the choir loft), and they graciously said they would watch the kids during my classes this week. The teenage daughter of another couple in our spirituality class is going to babysit in the evening so we can go to class. That gave us some breathing room.

I called the preschool first, and they were very helpful. They said that they could take the kids for the other mornings for the rest of the year. That's really my top choice, because the kids love it there, and we're very happy with the program and the teachers (they have a parent helper every day, and we've been really impressed on our helper days). I'd rather stick with something the kids know and like, rather than spring something new on them. Unfortunately, the "school" day ends in the middle of my teaching schedule. I've been trying since Friday to figure out a solution, hoping that I could find someone to pick the kids up, bring them home, and tuck them in for naps. While working on that angle, I also ran searches on all the child care centers around our home and around my campus. My heart was just sinking at the thought of bringing my kids to a new daycare center or hiring a stranger, wonderful though that stranger may turn out to be. It's just too much when our resources and nerves are stretched thin.

And then I called the kids' first babysitter, a very kind woman to whom I haven't spoken in a while. I thought there was no way she'd be available, but thought I would just ask on the off chance she'd be interested. It turns out that the timing is perfect! She's available, and it sounds like it will work out just as well for her as it will for us!

I've been praying and praying that God would send us the right solution. And I think this is it!

OK. Now I'm off to do a little more work . . . and then shovel out the house, because OH MY GOODNESS, we have a new babysitter who's tied in to our social network, and she's going to be here tomorrow night! But I'm going to sleep well tonight, because my babies will be in trusted hands while I finish out the term.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Three in Diapers (Not a Pregnancy Announcement)

Gaaah! This is what happens when I go back to work. All my good intentions about keeping up with the blog go out the window. I wrote a big, long post about an epiphany I had, but it's not ready yet. In the meantime . . .

All is not well with Wonderdog. She's a 13-year-old shepherd mix, and she's been having some issues for about two years. At that point, I was pregnant, she seemed to be having some problems with arthritis in her hind legs, and she suddenly started peeing on the floor in her sleep. We took her to the vet, thinking maybe she had a UTI, maybe she was weirded out by pregnancy pheromones . . . we didn't know. Because we're not vets. The vet had no good answers (but wanted to run many hundred dollars' worth of tests). We have had her in a couple of times, but the answers were about the same (long-term anti-inflammatories not a great idea . . . but her heart skipped a beat . . . maybe she needs a pacemaker . . . how about we run many hundreds of dollars' worth of tests?).

Finally, things have become much worse. She's having a lot more trouble with stairs, her hind paws slip a lot, and now she's been pooping a lot in her sleep. And this week it was once in her sleep and twice while awake--and it was a TON of poop those times, and it was all over the place. So Mr. X took her in, and he finally got to see the good DOG vet (as opposed to the BIRD vet), and she did some simple neurological tests and said she's most likely got deg.ener.ative myelo.pathy. Basically, it's a progressive neurological disorder common to shepherds (and some other breeds). She has a lot of muscle atrophy in her legs and behind, she can't tell where her hind legs are in relation to the rest of her body . . . and, when she's sleeping, she loses bladder and bowel control because of muscle atrophy and lack of sensation. Ugh. The poor thing! And the symptoms can mimic arthritis, incontinence is a typical symptom . . . so I'm betting she's had it for at least two years.

She's been such a wonderful dog! And I know dogs don't live for ever, and big dogs in particular don't live forever, but what a bummer that she's suffering with this. So now we have doggie diapers for night, she has booties on her hind paws to give her more traction on the wood floors and stairs (which seems to help), and we got a harness that will make it easier for us to lift her and help her on the stairs. She still loves to go for walks, and yesterday she chased a bunny in the back yard (briefly, but she did it), so she's not down for the count yet. Nonetheless, we'll be making some tough decisions in the not-too-distant future.

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