When I was a kid the thing I wanted most in the world was a dog. But my mom wasn't too keen on the idea of having a pet and my dad dislikes dogs on principle, so I was twelve years old before they finally relented and took an aging Irish Setter-mix off the hands of some family friends in the New York City.
The dog's name was 'Sundance'.
(not actual Sundance)
Sundance joined us in the suburbs in 1982 - and thus began her long reign of terror.
My parents believed that an older dog would be easier to handle, since it would arrive pre-trained. They were mistaken. Sundance was a dog with many too many behavioral issues to possible chronicle here (my mother still visibly shudders whenever the dog's name is uttered) but she had one bad habit that was uniquely troublesome. Soon after arriving at our house, Sundance figured out how to open the bread drawer in our kitchen using her teeth.
In the dead of night she would sneak into the kitchen, open the drawer, pull out several loaves of bread and then bury her "treasures" all around the house.
Bread started turning up in the strangest places. At bedtime, you might find a nice loaf of Rye under your pillow. The first snows of December would unearth a few slices of Pumpernickel tucked behind the fireplace tools. Visitors would settle comfortably on the living room sofa only to discover a strange lump under the cushion and pull out a moldering mass of Pepperidge Farm Thin Slice.
And I would think to myself "Why? Why, when I've waiting so long and so patiently to finally have the pet of my dreams would the universe bring me Sundance?"
The answer, I've recently come to realize, was this: In order to prepare me for life with my husband David.
You see, my husband is an engineer and when he is working something through in his mind he becomes extremely uni-focused. He gets so wrapped up in whatever problem he is obsessing about that his brain has no spare bandwith to wrestle with the simpler questions of life, such as where he should put his pants upon removing them or, say, where his wallet belongs.
And so, like the dreaded Sundance before him, he spirits things away in hiding spots of his own devising, from which they may or may not ever return.
Last Thursday, after hunting for half-an-hour for the remote control, I finally located it. In the refrigerator.
And as much as I might enjoy spending the entirety of this entry lobbing stones at my disorganized husband from my own comfy glass house, there is one terrifying fact that I must face.
David - - - is the organized one in our relationship.
For someone like me, who was recently dumped by my cel carrier's insurance program for losing my sixth phone, a remote control in the refrigerator is amateur hour.
When I was growing up my Uncle John would regularly pass by my room, look at me perched on my bed amidst the debris, and ask, "Was anyone hurt in the explosion?"
In my twenties, a boyfriend broke up with me because, he explained, he no longer wanted to devote one-third of his waking hours to helping me look for my keys.
And so it is, that for all the ways in which we compliment each other, the fact is that when it comes to personal organization, David and I are a bit of a match made in hell.
But we're working on it.
Because we both understand that with a Snood now in the mix we don't have the option of letting things get too out of control. You might say, that the Snood is currently serving as a one-man (one very small man) "scared straight" program for the two of us. Turns out it doesn't take too may trips to the park sans diaper bag to realize that a change has gotta come!
And we're slowly getting better. David now hangs up more pairs of pants than he leaves behind the toilet and I've started putting my keys on a special hook each time I walk in the door so I always know where they are. When I forget to do the dishes some days, David rinses them before bed. When David forgets to go to work some mornings, I gently shove him towards the door with his briefcase in hand.
And so far this seems to be working out quite well. Which means, we hope, that my mom will never have to take us to "go live on a nice farm upstate somewhere where we can run and play all day".
Oh, Sundance! You might have been the worst pet ever but, at least, I got a blog entry out of you!
My husband David and I both come from musical families.
His clan is made up of talented musicians and singers on all sides. My own family make up for their somewhat lesser talents with a seemingly endless amount of musical enthusiasm (my dad can regularly be heard belting out a spirited version of "If I Were a Rich Man" whilst performing household chores).
In spite of the fact that I was once told at a theater audition that my voice was "actively displeasing", it is one of the great surprises of motherhood that Snoodie ADORES my singing.
Seriously, everytime I burst into song the kid smiles like he just won the lottery. It is awesome. He doesn't care what I sing - he just cares that I keep the songs coming!
So sing I do! I sing when I pick him up out of his crib first thing in the morning, and I sing while I feed him breakfast. I sing as we drive around to our errands, and I sing when he struggles to go down at naptime. I sing at dinnertime, in the bath, and as I put him down to bed. I'm an all-day singing fool!
And, I have to tell you, this much singing takes some serious effort! To actually come up with several hours worth of musical ditties day after day is work, I tell you!
In the first weeks after bringing Snood home from the hospital I would start song after song only to find myself stymied:
"Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb! Mary had a little lamb whose fleece was white as snow! Uh..."
I know on some level that there are more lyrics to this song but damn if I can come up with them. At some point she takes that lamb to school right? To see if it can read? I really have no idea.
Total elapsed singing time: Seven seconds.
Total singing time left in the day: Six hours, fifty-nine minutes and fifty-three seconds.
A mommy friend facing the same dilemma told me about a website that lists all the words to popular children's songs for hapless parents like myself:
But the fact is, by the time you put the baby down to Google the lyrics to "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and attempt to memorize the verse where "the eager children" inquire about he source of Mary's love for said little lamb, the moment has kind of passed.
And what's left to you at this point is inventing your own original compositions.
*sung in the Key of G*
"You are awake! After a nap! Soon you will poop and we'll change your diaper!"
This approach is efficient, provides endless material, and is just as pleasing to the Snood as any known children's favorite.
But my husband has discovered an even more successful approach.
One night recently I caught him singing the following song to our son in the bathtub:
Altering the lyrics thusly:
"Loving Snood! Is easy 'cause he's Snoodie butt! Being with my Snood! Is all I want to do!"
It didn't take me long to realize that David was, in fact, a genius. A genius who had hit on a treasure trove of lyrical material backed up by tunes that were significantly more winning that the ones I was making up.
After a commute featuring 'Hair Nation' on Sirius, he would sing this dinnertime number:
"Pour some Snoodie on me! In the name of love!"
At Christmas time he serenaded Snoods in the car:
"He sees that you're a Doodle! He knows when you're a Snood!"
It was new day at our house! 80's Hits! Country Classics! Golden Oldies! The radio was suddenly an endless source of songs just waiting to be transformed into their Snood-centric versions! It was great way to keep the hits coming, for sure, but lately I've been starting to worry about the strategy's long-term effects.
Two nights ago my husband and I went out for a romantic dinner. We kept catching each other singing along with the music playing overhead:
"Wouldn't you agree? Baby you and me. We got a Snoody kind of love."
"Wise men say, only Snoods rush in..."
We weren't trying to amuse each other. Even worse, we weren't actively trying to change the lyrics at all. We were honestly overcome with the need to inserts Snood's name into every song we heard. Things seemed to be getting a little out of control.
But even if we've created a musical monster it's working for us now, so there's nothing much to do but embrace it.