Nov 8, 2015: Friends Forever!

Finally, finally…we got rain!! And thunder and lightning and hail, for that matter! It wasn’t a ton, but it was on and off rain for about 18 hours, which is excellent! It also meant I cancelled a planned charity gig for Down Syndrome Connection, because spending the day outside at a Track and Field Day when it was pouring rain wasn’t exactly appealing. But at least I got some more written on my mummy book instead, so all was not lost!

Our kitties had their second set of shots this week, too. Notable about this is that they got weighed, and we learned that Isabel, our little runt of the litter, is actually bigger than Violet now—she outweighs her by two ounces! I think this is probably because Izzy is a little bully who takes the food. 😉

Izzy is definitely the alpha among our pets. When it was just Luna and Zoe, it was obvious that Zoe held the alpha role. She’s a sweet dog but definitely lets you know that she’s top dog. But now that the kittens are in the mix and we have finally introduced the pets to each other, it has become clear that there’s a new alpha in town: Little Miss Isabel. Perhaps I should nickname her “Tiny But Mighty,” too!

I believe the pecking order officially goes Isabel, then Zoe, then Violet, then Luna. But Luna and Violet could be swapped—I can’t figure out which one is the more easygoing.

The kittens were getting bored being stuck in the bathroom—we would rotate who had the run of the house in about two-hour increments, where the kittens would be out for a couple of hours to play, and then they’d be in the bathroom while the dogs got a couple hours out to roam. But early in the week, the kitties started protesting this and wanted to be out more. And we noticed they were starting to play with the dogs underneath the door–swiping paws at them and such. And they would no longer startle when the dogs barked. So we decided that the pets had had enough of smelling each other’s scents, and it was time for a proper introduction.

We started by letting the kittens out with Luna, who can’t move around much anymore and is thus far less threatening than Zoe in the eyes of a small kitten (or two!). They quickly adjusted to Luna, so then we unleashed Zoe on them. And actually, it has gone extremely well! Zoe chases them like crazy, but when she actually corners them, she just stands there wagging her tail and sniffing them happily. And the kittens aren’t nearly as feisty about being cornered as I would’ve thought. Izzy will just stand there and let the pugs sniff her, and then eventually she’ll look for a space through which to escape…and then the chase is on again.

Izzy has also figured out that she can get to higher areas than the pugs can, and she likes to get up there and taunt them, which is pretty funny!

Violet mostly stays away from the dogs. She doesn’t seem to be afraid of them, but she largely avoids them and spends her time wreaking havoc in other areas of the house.

And Luna, who was barely even moving anymore, has a new lease on life with these kittens! It’s sweet yet also pathetic. She has a collapsed disc in her back (plus some mild arthritis), so she can’t use her back legs much anymore. She does okay on carpet or outside, but not great—her legs collapse under her quite a bit. And on our hard floors downstairs, she slips and slides all over the place. If you’d ever seen Chris ice skate (which is probably one of the most amusing sights I’ve seen in the last decade!), I would liken it to that for you. Alas, Chris won’t let anyone see him ice skate, so you’ll just have to use your imagination. Suffice it to say that the last time he was on ice skates, I overheard a woman fearfully tell her child, “Oh, honey, stay out of the man’s way!!” I still chuckle every time I think about this; Chris, however, doesn’t so much see the humor!

Anyway, poor Luna looks like a bad ice skater on the floor, but she still runs around the house, dragging her hind legs behind her, in hot pursuit of the kittens! And she looks positively gleeful doing it.

(In case you’re wondering why I haven’t put Luna down, by the way, it’s because the vet advised against it at this point. He spent about 45 minutes examining her and moving her legs and hips this way and that, and he concluded that he doesn’t think she’s in pain and he thinks she’s still a pretty happy dog. He said when she can no longer get up to go to the bathroom, that’s when we should consider it. So at the moment, we’re just doing palliative care and trying to give her the best last few months of life we can. The harder thing for me is watching her—it’s just pitiful to me, and I’m not sure how long I can watch her like this. But I’d feel like a jerk parent if I put her to sleep, given that the vet told me he wouldn’t do it if she were his dog, you know?)

So anyway, we have happy pets who seem to be getting along well. Zoe has even given up the alpha throne to Izzy without complaint, which is surprising. Thumbs up, Zoe!

The other reason I named this blog post “Friends Forever” is because besides our pets being friends, I’m delighted to see that Sam has made a friend! A few, actually. He has lots of “friends” in the DS community, of course, but I believe he has made an actual friend on his own, rather than one that he’s gotten to know because they share an extra chromosome.

Sam is reasonably popular at his school. When I pull up to drop him off, it’s not unusual for the kids to yell excitedly, “Sammy’s here!! Sammy’s here!!!” And one little girl seems to have appointed herself somewhat of his protector. Several month ago, another little girl pushed Sam over, and apparently this one little girl (we’ll call her C) said, “Hey! You don’t push Sammy!!” (Apparently Sam, too, protested and yelled, “No no!” at the little pusher–way to stick up for yourself despite not having many words, Sam!) And one day Sam had some skin peeling off his fingers that looked rather gruesome, and C said, “Oh no, poor Sammy!” And she often runs up and grabs his hand when I drop him at school.

And he has another friend who invited him to a birthday party. Apparently when this little boy’s mom asked him who he wanted to invite to his fourth birthday party, he said Sam right way. So we’ll go to that next weekend.

And there’s another little boy in Sam’s school (we’ll call him A) who is in Sam’s class and who, like Sam, is mostly nonverbal. (Although A’s mom tells me he’s quite proficient with a colorful swear word, much to her chagrin. I had to laugh at that one, given our experience with Theo and cursing at a similar age!) I’ve noticed that A will often run up to Sam on the playground and often says bye to him when it’s time to leave. And the other morning, I brought Sam to school wearing a Mickey Mouse shirt, and A saw the shirt, ran right up to Sam, and started gesturing wildly at it and saying something I couldn’t understand. Then he took off his own jacket to show Sam the shirt that he was wearing, and it was clear that between the two of them, neither of whom can really talk, they were actually having quite the communication!

I thought it was very sweet, and I mentioned to A’s mom that I thought they were becoming little buddies, and she said, “I know! I’m hoping they’ll get to go to kindergarten together! I think that would be so awesome!” They probably will, because although A isn’t quite three years old yet, he’ll probably start kindergarten the same year as Sam (because we’re most likely going to wait until Sam’s six to start him in kindergarten). And they live within our school boundary, so the boys probably will indeed be at the same school. Now, whether they’ll get in the same class is anyone’s guess. But still, I think it’s very sweet that Sam has made some friends—and entirely of his own accord, rather than being “fixed up” by mom!

I’m going to post this on Saturday night because I may not have time to write tomorrow night, after a day spent visiting Grandma Diane! Today we stuck close to home. Theo had a piano lesson in the morning, and then we took him to the free building workshop at Home Depot, where he built a set of bookends (while Sam wandered the store with daddy). Then we took the boys to a park right at the edge of the runway of a small local airport. It’s all paved and a big space, so they were able to ride their bikes. It took Theo a few minutes to get the hang of it again (he hasn’t ridden in about six months), but then he was off and going. (Okay, there were a few headlong crashes into the chain link fence. Lance Armstrong he is not… But all was well.) And Sam actually wore his helmet for a few minutes at a time so he could try out his Strider bike. He’s so funny—he was just toddling along on the bike very slowly, but he was going, “Whoa!!! Whoa!!!!” as if he was on the most thrilling roller coaster ever!

There was a lot of air traffic at the airport today, so the boys got to see lots of small planes take off and land. And there were some big helicopters, too, which was really exciting! One flew so close that we ended up covered in grit kicked up by the force of the propellers as the copter landed—I even had grit in my teeth after that!

In case you didn’t see it, I had another post this week: Click here to read it.

Hope you’re all enjoying November so far!

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