Either we are evolving as a family, or there is a whole lot of crazy going on around here. A sampling of some unusual occurrences at our house this fall:
1. Allergy medicine for dogs
We love our dogs. They are surely a part of our family, and we take seriously our promise to love them and feed them and generally keep them healthy and happy. We even took them to doggie school back when they were young and we had no children. However... we are not the kind of pet owners who buy our dogs Halloween costumes (or clothing of any kind, for that matter). We do not make our own dog food or bake them cakes for their birthday or take them in for fancy grooming. We have lots of friends who do these things, and we fully support their right to do so, but we are just no-frills dog owners. Until recently, when poor Barney's fall allergies became so bad that we noticed him spending most of his days sneezing, scratching himself, biting his toes, and losing hair in big clumps.
And so we did some online research about the relative benefits/risks of giving dogs Claritin and Benadryl, talked to our vet, and eventually settled on Benadryl. I knew we'd gone over the edge when my grocery list included, "Kyle and Barney's Benadryl." Unfortunately for Barney, the benefit seems minimal, at best.
2. Regular free time
This fall Eva went off to half-day Preschool and Daniel to full-day kindergarten. I put in a request to teach an extra class, and entertained a potential part-time therapy job, but neither of those things worked out. So now I have two mornings per week to be at home, by myself, cleaning or grocery shopping or exercising in quiet. I am able to have coffee with Madeline, or to get through Walmart in under an hour. It truly is an introvert's dream. It also gives me time for the not-so-unlikely inevitability of volunteering for the PTA (or PTC, as it's called here) at Daniel's school.
3. Daniel kicking the soccer ball. A lot.
I love Daniel dearly, but he's not exactly a focused, competitive athlete. He spent most of last year's soccer game-time standing in one place on the field, looking at the clouds or the grass. Sometimes he would saunter around the field behind the pack of kids, bobbing his head around as he moved. At one point, we tried to motivate him by offering him a piece of candy for every time he touched the ball. This backfired, though, when he kicked the ball once and then immediately turned around to run over and claim his prize.
So imagine our surprise when, this year, he's suddenly willing to run all over the place, actually trying to kick the ball. I'd estimate that he's made contact with the ball dozens of times within the first two games of the season. He's still shy about kicking toward the goal, and still should probably be the last choice for goalie, but I'll happily spend 6 of my Saturday mornings watching this. It sure beats paying $15 for him to pick clover all season.
4. Running for relaxation
About 18 months ago, I started running for exercise. This is unlikely in itself, but Kyle (whose running during college swim practices made him the object of jokes) started running too, and just to top off the unbelievability, we're both still doing it. Now the problem in our house tends to be that we're each trying to run in the afternoons, after school and before dinner. That's a narrow window, and as we're both able to run farther and longer it's just hard to find time for both of us.
This week I identified a perfect hour-long gap (during the aforementioned free mornings) between volunteering at Daniel's school and Eva's pick-up time. There's a nice bike path around the public schools, and I've been using it to run. Yesterday, as I put on my headphones and started trotting along, there was a perfect cool breeze and one nice puffy cloud in an otherwise blue sky. I ran past kids at recess who waved at me, two moms who cheered for me, and a senior citizen loudly singing to the music on her headphones as she walked. I found myself smiling, beaming even, as I jogged. If someone had told me two years ago that I'd be running around town, grinning like a weirdo about it, I'd have never believed it.
5. Kyle singing
Last year I sang in our church's Christmas Cantata. Practices for this year's performance started last night, and on the way to church I chided Kyle about joining in this time around. He shook his head when I brought it up, but then after the meal really did make his way upstairs for practice.
Who knows what will happen next around here?