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Three Kings Day

In Mexico, Three Kings Day (January 5th) is the day when kids get presents, rather than Christmas. We spent Three Kings Day in Puebla, with Oscar’s brother and his family. For Oscar, this was something extra special since it reminded him of his childhood, and seeing the joy on his niece and nephew’s faces on the morning of the 6th was something he was really looking forward to. For me, this was somthing totally new, since even though I had heard of Three Kings Day, I had never experienced it and really didn’t know any of the traditions that go along with it. So it was very interesting for me!

20130109-192056.jpg On the night of the 5th, each of the kids wrote a letter to the three kings (telling them that they had been good and which presents they wanted). Then we tied the letters to balloons and sent them off in the sky. Olivia’s letter was pretty difficult to read, but I guess the three kings must have understood, since along with a few other gifts, they also brought her three bendy straws!

Getting ready to let the balloons go.jpg

Us getting ready to let the balloons go (I am taking the picture)


Olivia”s cousin letting his balloon go from on top of a jungle gym

Afterwards, we each put out a shoe in the living room, and went to bed. The next morning the shoes had been moved up on top of the couch, and by each shoe was a small pile of gifts. Appearantly the three kings don’t like wrapping paper, but that’s ok since it cuts down on the waiting time!

Shoes left out on the sofa.jpg

Aside from her bendy straws, Olivia also recieved a shape sorter, some clothes and two books of Mexican stories complete with original Mexican art. I am especially excited about those books, since I have had a really difficult time finding any children’s books in Spanish which aren’t just translated versions of American books.

Olivia also enjoyed playing X-box which her cousin Emiliano received! I was pretty impressed that Emiliano not only tolerated her grabbing the controller, but actually even has been trying to incorporate her into his play. They have been playing X-box together peacefully for several days now without any problems even when the race-car gets run off the road by Olivia.

Olivia playing X-box with her coursins.jpg

Later in the day Olivia’s Abuelita (grandmother) came over and we had a “Rosca de Reyes” together, which is a special sweet bread made specifically for Three King’s Day.


Rosca de Reyes (Wreath of the Kings)

Hidden inside the bread are 4 or 5 small plastic dolls, and if you get one in your piece, you are responsible for making Tamales for breakfast for everyone else on another day. Since we have quite a but of family and friends around here, we have already been part of three different “Roscas”, but so far I haven’t gotten a single doll, which is probably a good thing since I have no idea how to make Tamales…


And We’re Off…

As always I am way behind on my blog posts.  Two weeks ago we left our cozy little apartment in Germany and started a two-and-a-half month long trip to visit our families in the US and Mexico.  My husband is taking two months of parental leave, and we figured it was a great chance to do this!

The first stop was Michigan, to visit my family for Christmas.  Then we flew down to Mexico on December 27th and we are now in Morelia visiting Oscar’s family.  I don’t have time to write much now, but I will make more detailed posts later, after I get a few of the pictures uploaded.  But I wanted to stop in and let all my faithful followers know what’s up!  (just in case you were actually wondering, which I know you probably weren’t. )

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and can’t wait to get started writing about what’s going on here!

The Story of Our Stroller

Yes, I love to baby-wear and carry Olivia around in my arms a lot. But I also use the stroller quite a lot, depending on what I plan to do.  Since we live in Germany and don’t need a car to get most places, I often spend the whole day on foot, which means sometimes I like to have the stroller there, even if it just to carry shopping bags 😉 Olivia also likes to sleep in the stroller, and I’ll be honest, it’s a great place to pull on and off her diaper when there’s no other place to change her.

Our borrowed Hartan stroller

Our borrowed Hartan stroller

Our stroller was lent to us by a good friend who lives in Paderborn. It is about 5 years old and has already lived through two children, so it has seen better days, but still worked fine when she gave it to us. It is a Hartan VIP – which is a top-of-the-line stroller here in Germany. I was ecstatic at not having to buy a stroller! And I am eternally thankful to our friends for lending it to us.

But about a month ago, it suddenly gave out. The plastic piece at one of the joints on the right-hand side had cracked. It makes sense that it would crack there, since every time you push down on the handle to get over a curb the entire force is put directly on that one joint. And despite the many good things about Germany, they unfortunately have a long way to go in installing ramps at every street corner. So basically you are maneuvering up and down curbs all the time. So it was clear that eventually something would have to give. But this is not our stroller… so now what?

I took the stroller to a store which sells baby stuff and asked them if they could order the plastic part for me. They couldn’t, they said they had to send the whole thing in to the manufacturer, who would then give me a quote for repair, since it was no longer under warentee. I knew even then that it would be expensive. no company ever just charges you for the spare part… they would most likely want to replace the entire mess of metal rods, if not the entire base. And to let me try to repair it myself – no way. They would rather have me spend 500 EUR on a new stroller. But even though I knew all of this, I let them send it in anyways (for a 30 EUR fee). They gave me a spare stroller to use while it was gone, for 2 Euros a day, and told me it would be four weeks.

The spare stroller made an odd clicking noise wherever I pushed it, but it didn’t seem to bother Olivia, and I got used to it pretty fast. I still used my carrier or a wrap a lot anyways. Then, about three and a half weeks later, the spare stroller cracked, too!! This one decided to give out on the handle bar, at a joint which is used to fold the handle up and down. It is also a highly stressed area, so it made sense to break there. But that didn’t make me feel any better! What would the store say? How much was this going to cost me?

The *next day* the store called, saying that my stroller had been returned to them with a quotation from Hartan – the repair for that one cracked joint would be 210 EUR, if I wanted to do it. They couldn’t even tell me what exactly Hartan planned to do to fix it. (super glue…?) So yeah… if I had waited ONE MORE DAY to take that last walk, the spare stroller would have been just fine, and I wouldn’t have had any issues! But now I had not one, but *two* broken strollers on my hands, neither of which belonged to me! If the first stroller was 210EUR to fix, would would the second one cost?!

Fleeting thoughts of trying to hide the broken spot on the rented stroller crossed my mind. Maybe I could glue it so that they wouldn’t notice, and then it would break on the next customer instead. But I just couldn’t do it. I really have a tough time being dishonest like that. So I sucked it up and took the stroller in, expecting a huge bill, on top of the 60 EUR rent for the past four weeks.

Fortunately, this is a story with a happy ending! The employees at the store were very sympathetic, and told me it wasn’t my fault. The rented stroller was already 6 years old and could have broken on anyone. They simply threw it in the trash. They almost forgot to even charge me the rent, until I reminded them about it. And even then, they only charged me for 10 days instead of 30! I wanted to hug them. I wheeled my broken stroller back out of the store, intent on trying to fix it myself later. I loaded Olivia into the car and drove home a happy girl. And to make things even better, Olivia even fell asleep on the ride!

Well, I got home, opened the trunk of the car, and what do you know, the stroller wasn’t there! I had left it parked on the street next to my parking spot downtown…! But being the panicked carefree, relaxed person that I am, I just got back in the car, and with Olivia still sleeping drove back for the stroller, which was still parked exactly where I had left it.

Of course, at the end of the day, our stroller is still broken. But I swear, I have the nicest friends in the world. Another friend of mine who lives in my neighborhood offered to lend me her stroller while she spends 6 weeks in Berlin. Her mother even pushed it all the way over to our house this morning, just to give it to me! (it is about a 15 minute walk) Knowing my luck, I will be *extra* super careful with this stroller, especially since it is brand spanking new.

Grandparents are Allowed to do Anything

On our trip to Michigan back in August, I had a lot of parenting conversations with my mom.  After all, she has a lot of experience since she raised six of us!  At some point, my mom told me that she didn’t let me have any sweets until I was at least two years old, but that her mom (my Grandma) had given me ice cream behind her back!  We both agreed that that wasn’t ok.

Then, just a day later, my mom and I went out to the grocery store, and we stopped to have chocolate shakes as a treat together.  I went to the bathroom for a few minutes and my mom held Olivia for me.  When I came back, this is what I saw:

My mom pulling the chocolate shake away from Olivia

My mom pulling the chocolate shake away from Olivia

My mom said “She really wanted it, she grabbed it before I could do anything!”  Olivia had chocolate shake running down her chin…

Now, at this point, remember that she was only 6 months old, and hadn’t even started solids yet, let alone dairy, sugar or chocolate!!  A million things could have happened.  Fortunately everything was fine.  In fact, she didn’t even like the shake, probably since it was so cold – she spit it all out.  But she wanted the cup back – probably because of the straw.  Yes, Grandparents can get away with anything.  And I really couldn’t be mad since it was so funny.


At the end of August, I took Olivia on her first trip to the US to see my family. This was her very first plane ride, and I managed to do it by myself, since Oscar had to work. (We are going to take another trip for Christmas, so he didn’t have enough vacation time to go twice.) I was a bit worried since the flight was nine-and-a-half hours, but Olivia did fantastic! She only cried once, and that was for less than a minute after waking up from a nap and not knowing where she was.


Olivia on my lap in the airplane

I didn’t take a stroller – instead I had Olivia in the front pack carrier, so I had both hands free to pull luggage. That worked out really well, and also it made it easier for me to carry her around the plane for naps. Of course most of the time I had her on my lap, though, since she is pretty heavy. On the ride over, a nice woman helped me out by holding Olivia while I ate my meal. On the way back I somehow managed by myself, but I’m honestly not sure how. Even though I brought lots of toys, she occupied herself almost the entire flight with the crinkly bag of pretzels. Talk about easy to please!

I wasn’t too sure about taking Olivia potty on the plane, but actually it wasn’t that hard. They have a changing table over the toilet which folds down from the wall, so I just changed her on that, then flipped it back up (with the changing pad and her clothes still clamped inside it!) let her pee in the toilet, and then flipped the table back down to get her dressed again. The whole thing was really quick, and actually even easier than many public bathrooms which don’t have changing tables, or when the changing table is in a room without a toilet. The only problem was that there was often a line for the bathroom. But of course, since we use a diaper back-up, it wasn’t a big deal anyways.

We had a really nice time visiting my parents. We mostly just hung out at home, but we did do a few things, like go to the cider mill.

The cider mill in Dexter, MI

The cider mill in Dexter, MI

I also got to see one of my close friends from college, R, and her daughter, who is a few months older than Olivia.

But for me, the highlight of the trip was that we got to see my grandma, who was 92. We went out for breakfast the first Saturday after we arrived. Olivia played with the empty coffee creamers while my mom and Grandma and I talked. Four generations…. it was so wonderful!

Our four-generations photo, unfortunately we didn't think to take it while she was still healthy.

Our four-generations photo, unfortunately we didn’t think to take it while she was still healthy.

Unfortunately just a week later, my Grandmother suddenly came down with Pneumonia, and ended up in the hospital. From there everything went downhill, and just a few days before we were supposed to return to Germany, she passed away. In the week or so before she died, she was in a hospice, where they took really wonderful care of her, and we came to visit her there every day.

Even though my Grandma was mostly sleeping during the last few days of her life, she did wake up to see Olivia. It was so touching to watch the two of them – one just entering this world, and the other saying her goodbyes. It brings me to tears thinking about it 😦 but the good thing is, at least my Grandma got to see her.

I wrote about my grandma’s life yesterday – you can read it here if you missed it. She had such an interesting life!

Olivia playing on the floor of my Grandma's room at the Hospice (My Grandma made the pillow and blanket!)

Olivia playing on the floor of my Grandma’s room at the Hospice (My Grandma made the pillow and blanket!)

My Sister with Olivia

My Sister with Olivia

I delayed my return flight by a week, and all of my brothers and my sister flew in from all over the US for the funeral. So, if there can be a good side to all the sadness, at least it was that I got to be with all of my siblings for a few days. It was also the first time for them to meet Olivia!

All in all, the trip was really nice. I’m so glad I had the time to spend with my family, and most of all with my Grandma.

A Lumberjack’s Daughter


My Great-Grandfather with some of the logs he cut in the UP.

Today I’d like to tell you about my Grandmother.  She had a fascinating life, growing up in the North woods of Michigan.   Her father was a lumberjack, and she spent most of her childhood moving from camp to camp. My Grandma wrote a book about her life, and I would like to give you a few excepts from that:

“The one-room shacks we lived in would make President Abe Lincoln’s Kentucky log cabin look luxurious.  The floor space measured about 100 or 150 square feet.  Usually there was one small window.  The slanted roofs and outside walls were usually covered with tar paper.  The roofs frequently leaked.  We caught the drips in pails or cooking utensils…. The floorboards had gaps so wide that we had to be careful not to drop small objects on the floor or they would be gone forever.

My Great-Grandmother in front of one of the homes they lived in.

My Great-Grandmother in front of one of the homes they lived in.

We coped with the bitter winters in Michigan’s UP by tacking cardboard between the wall studs.  We pasted magazine, catalogue, and newspaper pages to the cardboard and chinked up the cracks.  These pages offered better decor than just plain bare walls. We could read the writing on the wall.  Mama loved the pictures of flowers from seed catalogues.  I loved the Sunday newspaper comic strips.  When we got tired of the writing on the wall, we could just add more of the same type of insulation.  Papa banked up the outside walls by building retaining walls to hold dirt.  This added insulation and kept the wind out.  The dirt came up to the height of the window.  We didn’t worry about termites, we never stayed in these shacks long enough to see any damage. ”

In her book, my Grandma describes her life growing up – the games they played, the food they ate, the work they did.  She had a very sporadic education, since they weren’t always close enough to a school.  In one section, she writes about the school bus that they took at one point:


The firls from the Akrigg School, near Pickford, MI.  My grandma is second from the right.

The firls from the Akrigg School, near Pickford, MI. My grandma is second from the right.

“After one week of school in the Pickford area, I attended the Akrigg School, about four miles from camp. The men in camp made a school bus out of some kind of wooden camper. It had runners for the snow instead of wheels and a wood burning stove with a stovepipe. A horse pulled it. We went to school through the woods on an old logging trail. It creaked as it moved along. It went so slowly I could jump out the back door of the vehicle and run along behind it.”

At about 12 years old, my Grandma left her parents and went to live with more well-to-do families where she worked doing household chores.  (Her sisters had done the same thing at ages 9 and 11)  One family she really loved, and another she didn’t, feeling very much like an outcast.  She eventually ended up in Ann Arbor where she worked various jobs, and got married.  She had more adventures but I really don’t have room for all that in my blog.   She had four children in total, and my mother was the youngest.


My Grandma and Grandpa during their retirement in Florida.

My Grandmother was very smart about money, and was very good at pinching pennies.  They made ends meet and eventually were able to invest in renting/buying/selling houses in Ann Arbor during the housing boom of the 50’s and 60’s.  They retired in a comfortable home and often spent their winters in Florida.

My Grandma’s book has been added to the curriculum in Michigan schools for the unit on State history, since she represents such a forgotten part of Michigan life.  (One which was hardly documented)  You can find it in quite a few libraries across the state, or you can buy it online here if you are interested.

My Grandmother lived a long and full life, but she unfortunately passed away on September 9th, at 92 years old.  She was not in the best of health, but she still had a sound mind and we weren’t really expecting her to pass away just yet.  I was fortunate that I happened to be visiting my family in Ann Arbor and got to see her for about a week before she got sick, and she also got to meet Olivia.   I loved my grandma very much, and so I have written a short tribute to her:


Grandma.  What comes to mind when I think of you?  Old and frail, with skin like paper… but that was only near the end.  And at 92 years old, I think you have the right to be a bit frail.  But you were also strong and courageous.  Frugal; shaped by the tough times you lived through.  Sharp as a tack.  Your health may have declined, but not your mind.  At 92 you were still a card shark – I never met anyone who could beat you – not even my dad who has a PhD.

My grandma watching after us kids in the mid-80's

My grandma watching after us kids in the mid-80’s

I think about the times we spent overnight at your house; arguing over the blanket with my sister while we were supposed to be going to sleep.  I remember butter pecan ice cream, oatmeal with raisins and honey, and learning how to “save the best for last”.  I remember flooding your backyard with water so we could go ice skating there.  I remember moving all your plants around the living room to pretend I was in a jungle.  I remember rolling around on the floor as a kid and you telling me how agile I was.   I remember going to garage sales with you on Saturday mornings- I learned so much about the value of things from that!  I remember learning how to clean, how to turn a compost pile, how to make new plants grow from clippings, how to play Euchre – which, by the way, went on to become my favorite card game of all time.  I remember painting your garage floor.

Grandma, I learned so much from you, and I love you – I will always miss you!  But I am also glad that now you can finally join Grandpa in Heaven.  Now that I am married myself, I cannot imagine being separated from my husband for so long.  So in a way, while sad for us, it really is a joyous occasion.  Thank you for bringing so much to my life, and all of our lives.  May you find peace with God.

Orange Peels Taste Better than Oranges

For the past few weeks (has it already been a month…?) we’ve been letting Olivia share in almost all of our meals, giving her some of whatever we are eating, as long as there is very little salt or sugar.  We have given her tons of variety, but for the most part, she really didn’t eat much.  P1080975Not interestedUsually I would sit her in the high chair, and within a few minutes she would throw up her hands and lean back in the high chair with a bored look; “just what exactly do you think I am, anyways?  a TODDLER?  I eat milk, silly.”

The only thing she was interested in was her sippy-cup of water, or plates and spoons.  With any of these, she would occupy herself for hours.  But with food?  Well, she’d pick at it, but that was about it.

I swear to you, I really tried everything.  I tried home-made purees.  I tried some random finger foods, and I tried smearing purees on toast.  I tried cutting all the foods in nice easy-to-grab stick shapes.  I tried tons of different textures, colors and flavors.  Sometimes she would pick at them for a bit and maybe even put it in her mouth for a few seconds, but she never ate more than a crumb or two.  Most of the time she didn’t even get that far.  One day after refusing to even touch the food on her high chair tray, I let her back down on the floor, and within minutes she had scooted over to a giant ball of dust and popped that right into her mouth.  (!!!)

“I don’t get it!” I told her.  “You like dust more than hamburgers and noodles?! ”

I got the dust-ball out of her mouth, and she gave me a devious grin.  I’m telling you, this girl KNOWS that she is being difficult!

So then I went and got the food from her high chair, and put it on the floor in front of her.  She took one look, turned away, and scooted off into the next room.

I re-read Gill Rapely’s book on baby-led-weaning, and decided that maybe I was giving Olivia her meals at the wrong times, and that she might be too tired or hungry when I sat her down to eat.  I made a huge effort to sit us down to eat at that perfect sliver of time right after a nap and nursing, before she got too tired or hungry again.  It did help a little bit, but she still was not all that interested in anything.

green onion

Olivia eating a green onion (it’s on the tip of her finger)

Until one day when I made a beef and broccoli stir fry with green onions cut into little rings.  I put a little in front of her as I had been doing every day for weeks.  She eyeballed it and sat back in her high chair.  But then, after a few minutes of staring at the food, she suddenly perked up.  You could see that something had caught her eye.  The interest was mounting inside that little brain.  She leaned forward and extended one finger and slowly approached a green onion.

She chased that green onion all around the high chair, and it fit perfectly on her little finger.  Then she picked it up and put it in her mouth.  I figured she would just push it back out, but she didn’t.  In fact, she chewed on it with her little teeth and pushed it around with her tongue.  And then she picked up another, and another!  After she had eaten about five of the green onions, she looked at me and started grinning.  Through those clenched teeth I could see her mouth stuffed with a bunch of green onions.  It was such a hilarious sight!  I don’t think she ate more than a few tiny chunks off those onions, because most of it ended up “falling” back out onto the table.  It was obvious that she liked them, though, and that’s when it finally dawned on me that my “stick-shaped” foods were not what she wanted.  She was starting to master her pincer grasp, and she wasn’t at all interested in large chunks anymore.

So after that I started cutting things into tiny pieces for her, and suddenly her interested was piqued.  All of a sudden she started trying to pick up bits of everything, the more microscopic the better.  I also noticed that she prefers dark foods.  And yet, she very rarely actually swallowed anything.  So far my biggest successes have been green onions and spinach.  Odd choices, I know.  I really thought she would have liked apples, pears and bananas, but she doesn’t seem to like the textures of those because she has yet to actually get any of them into her mouth.  As soon as she picks up a chunk of banana, she starts waving her hand around as if she were being attacked by a snake.  And no matter how much I try to explain to her that her mouth would be a great way to get that banana off of her finger, she just doesn’t listen!  Imagine that.

Now that it is cold season and we have had three colds one directly after the other, I decided Olivia needed some more vitamin C.  I started peeling an orange and I was going to let her try to pick up the individual juice sacs.  But Olivia was so excited by the sight of me peeling the orange that she was practically leaping out of her high chair to get at it!  To keep her happy I gave her a large chunk of orange peel to chew on while I finished.  I figured she would taste it and immediately drop it since it’s quite bitter.  But lo and behold, she *liked* it!  She kept chewing on it and chewing on it, sucking off little bits here and there for more than fifteen minutes!  And although I put some actual pieces of orange on her tray, she was not a bit interested in those.

Imagine living in a world where babies were all the same….?  Where they all followed the state-recommended schedule of foods?  Ahhh but how boring would that be.

Diaper Free – Months 6-9

How have the past three months of EC been going for us?  Well, in a nutshell, I would say that we have slowly but surely been getting more and more relaxed about it.  Or maybe lazy is the word I’m looking for.  No, no… relaxed is better… definitely more relaxed.  Ha.

I admit that we never really went all out with EC, since I didn’t do all that much diaper free time (or rather, the time we spent was a bit spotty… sometimes doing a lot, other times nothing at all) When we went to the family camp near Berlin, we did tons of diaper free time with lots of success, but after that my motivation went way down.  Olivia and I flew to the States for a month to visit my family, and even though I continued to take her to the potty quite a lot, I stopped doing all diaper free time.  Another big factor for us is that I finally bought some decent cloth diapers. They are a lot cheaper in the US, so I bought a full set while I was there, and ever since then I have been happily relying on those without feeling bad about the environment or Olivia’s bottom.

my cloth diaper stash

After all, with beautiful diapers like these, who can resist?!?!  I LOVE using them!!!

In the US, I even took Olivia to the toilet at night, and it worked out very well – she would move around while still half asleep, I took her to the bathroom, she did her business, and sometimes I would nurse her back to sleep, other times she just slept without nursing.   She did have a tendency to cry when I first took her to the toilet, but if I gave her a paper dixie cup to play with she would be happy.  Often she didn’t really even wake up at all.

But after coming back home, for some reason I dropped the night EC-ing, and started on a slow decline of potty opportunities until pretty soon I wasn’t even taking her more than once every couple of hours.  Looking back, I think the reason is that I still feel a bit overwhelmed here at home with no help, while at my parents house a lot of things (like cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, etc) were all taken care of, so I had more time to focus on Olivia and to relax and take care of myself.  Nonetheless, my everyday situation is that I am alone with Olivia most of the time, and I have to take care of the house and chores myself, so I have been letting EC slide.

She has completely stopped signaling since I wasn’t responding to her anyways out of laziness.  But I have noticed that she really has seriously increased her holding power of the last few months.  She can now hold it in for something around an hour, which actually makes EC seem a lot more do-able.  I just haven’t been paying any attention and instead am going almost 100% on my intuition (i.e., whenever it happens to pop into my mind I take her to the bathroom, so it still is quite often, nevertheless.)  I also usually take her after she wakes up or after nursing.  So actually… when I think about it I’m not really doing that much differently than before, it just feels a lot different since we are WAY out of sync from each other.  When I pay more attention to her, our success rate also goes way up, to the point were I could probably have mostly catches, but… well… I guess I am just not really that motivated anymore.

Part of me feels bad about it, but another, more logical part of me says that it really doesn’t matter.  After all, she knows what the potty is for and she still does her business there quite a lot: at least 4-5 times a day.

Who can resist a fluffy baby butt?

Who can resist a fluffy baby butt?

So even though I am not putting much effort into EC at this point, I’m pretty confident that it won’t have any negative impact on her potty training when that time comes.  If I were to put more effort into the whole thing, I probably could have switched to training pants or underwear by now with only very few misses per day.  But I am simply not that motivated, so I am going to put that off for a while.  After all, I have to get some value out of my beautiful cloth diapers!

We have a climber…!

Oh how time flies!  Olivia has been getting quicker and quicker, scooting from place to place on her belly, and ending up in all sorts of unexpected situations.   A few weeks ago I found her under the bed.

Olivia under the bed

Olivia under the bed

Then she was starting to navigate minor obstacles.

Crawling over the leg of the computer table

Crawling over the leg of the computer table

Then just yesterday I turned around in the kitchen to see this:

Climbing onto the step stool in the kitchen

Climbing onto the step stool in the kitchen

She watched an older girl doing this just a few days ago, and then just copied her!  Incredible.

Time to start moving everything to the next higher shelf…

No, I don’t have to let your dog near my baby.

Today I took Olivia on a walk down to the little corner grocery store near our house.  As we were coming out of the store, two thuggish-looking guys where just finishing tying the leash of their black, boxer-looking dog to the post at the end of the ramp.    I took one look and headed for the stairs, instead.

The guys immediately said – “oh!  Don’t worry!  He’s a good dog – he won’t do anything – go ahead and come down this way!”

“Oh… that’s ok… it’s no problem, only 2 stairs…” I said nicely, already on my way down the stairs.

“Really – he’s perfectly harmless – just come here, you’ll see!”  They said, almost as if they WANTED me to come that way.

“Uh, ha.. ha.. that’s really ok…” I said laughing, ” I’m sure he’s nice, but I’ll go this way, thanks.”

By this point I was already down the stairs and quickly steering my stroller the other way, while they tried to convince me to show the dog to the baby.

I’m sorry, but I don’t know you OR your dog.   What exactly is your agenda, anyways?!

I understand that a lot of dog owners feel put out by all the non-dog people, and want to prove to the world that dogs are actually wonderful and great.  Especially the owners of bulldogs, pit-bulls and rotweilers, which everyone is scared of.  They feel their dogs are mis-understood, and maybe they are.   Really, I believe you, that your dog is a great dog and wonderful friend, and is great with kids and even babies.  I believe you that he would never harm a fly.  But my daughter means the world to me.  I would never put her in a potentially dangerous situation just so that you can prove your point.  Go and prove your point with your own baby.


The truth is that even though there may be plenty of dogs out there which ARE harmless, there are also plenty of dogs which have hurt or even killed children.  The owners of the dogs are always shocked that their dog would do such a thing.  “He was always great with her!  He loved her!  We have no idea what made him do it!”  Because you see, love is blind.  I understand, because I could never ever picture my 9-month-old killing a dog with her razor-blade teeth.  But that’s just because I love her… the reality is that she just *might* do it someday to some poor, unsuspecting doggy, and then I am going to just shake my head in wonder and tell the grieving owners that I never thought she had it in her.  After all, she was always harmless before!

This is my impression of a dog. You think I’m harmless, but wait till you fall asleep at night…



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