My daughter was born one month before my 40th birthday.
At that point in time, I had been in the work force for over 20 years.
I felt I was a strong, capable, intelligent woman. I knew that with motherhood, my life would be transformed in many profound ways, and I was prepared... for the obvious changes.
But as "smart" as I thought I was, I had NO IDEA that a baby would throw my life completely off-kilter.
I had not realized (and no one thought to tell me) that an act as simple as taking a shower would require the planning of a wartime battle. It never occurred to me that shopping with an infant in tow would become an exercise in distraction, or that the baby would accumulate so much stuff that we would need to find a larger home.
And I didn't think motherhood would put much of a crimp in my then-career as a meeting and conference planner. Sure, I knew I'd need to find child care - but it couldn't be all that hard, right?
It did not take long to learn the truth of the saying about making assumptions: "When you assume makes an 'ass' of 'you' and 'me.'"
Nearly fourteen years have passed and you'd think I'd have learned that lesson well enough not to repeat my old mistakes.
Three weeks ago, I told my family I was on board with getting a dog. "As long as I am not the one who does everything to take care of it," I said to my daughter.
"But of COURSE you will have to be responsible for it while I'm at work and Megan is at school," my husband said.
Yeah. Of course. I'm home. They're not.
But that wouldn't be a big deal, right? We have a nice, big backyard. As long as someone else was responsible for cleaning up the dog poop, I figured the addition of a dog to our family wouldn't take up a lot of my time.
You longtime dog owners are ROFL now, aren't you?
Mac is a sweetheart. He is good natured, playful, and loving. He even came to us already housebroken.
But he's kind of needy.
He cannot handle being left alone for any period of time. He cannot be left alone in the backyard.
So now, I get up 30 minutes earlier each morning so he can go on a walk. I take him on a longer walk before lunch.
And I'm the one who is cleaning up most of the dog poop.
My daughter walks him after school - unless she has too much homework. Or if it's raining really hard (as it was almost all last week).
My husband walks him before he goes to bed at night. Unless he falls asleep early on the couch. Which he did the last two nights.
The upside of all this dog-walking is that I'm getting some much-needed exercise. But it does cut into the time I have carved out for work.
And then, there was yesterday. I DID need to get some work done in the morning, so even though I could see he wanted to go out earlier than usual, I wasn't ready to take him.
He ended up pooping in the kitchen.
So that was my fault. It was a little on the watery side, so I was grateful it was on the tiled floor and not the new carpet. After I cleaned it up, I decided to take him out so he could finish whatever he needed to do.
As he'd already gone twice (and these were BIG poops), I did not think I needed to take a bag for cleanup with me. Again, this was a bad assumption. As we made our way around the block, I could see he wanted to go again and I had nothing I could use for clean up.
So I did the only thing I could think that might distract him: I started to run. I thought if we could just make it home, he could go in our own yard and I would have access to cleanup materials.
We ran the rest of our route... until we were about three houses away from home, and I needed to catch my breath.
And he immediately stopped to poop... on our neighbor's driveway. While he was in his car, ready to back out.
My dog had diarrhea.
I apologized to the man and his wife and told them I would return immediately to clean it up. I was grateful that they were dog owners themselves, and understanding. ("It happens to everyone," they said. I'm not so sure.)
Cleanup was kind of messy. I'm not sure I did it in the most efficient way. I would have liked to have used my neighbors' hose, but I felt funny taking it without their permission. I just have to say that I'm glad I had a box of Swiffer wet wipes in the house.
He pooped two more times yesterday. And then, last night, he vomited.
So now, I'm worried about the dog and am searching the web on his symptoms; trying to find a WebMD for pets.
Diarrhea alone isn't anything to worry about if it only lasts a day or two. One instance of vomiting is also not a big deal. Diarrhea and vomiting together might warrant a visit to the vet. Or not.
So I'm having this deja vu experience, just like when Megan was a baby and I wondered when it was appropriate to call the pediatrician.
So far today, I've managed not to make the call. Mac is not as peppy as usual, but he seems OK. The websites I looked at last night advised against giving him food or water for six hours, so he did not drink anything until this morning, and the only food he's had was some rice I cooked up for him. He has not vomited again and hasn't pooped yet today -- But that's not surprising, as I doubt there's anything left in his intestines after yesterday.
I hope I'm doing the right thing.
Which is a phrase I should have tattooed on my arm. After all, I'm a mom.
UPDATE - FEBRUARY 1
For those of you who read through the comments, Mac seemed to be getting better and then relapsed yesterday so we were responsible parents and took him to the vet, who gave him a shot of anti-nausea meds and a prescription for antibiotics.
He was a very listless doggie yesterday afternoon - but started to perk up in the evening. And today, he's his usual happy, bouncy self. I think it helps that he had a nice meal of rice and leftover turkey after his walk this morning.
And yes - I am still having flashbacks to my baby daughter's first bout with intestinal nastiness. I was pretty clueless then, too.