Jay has been on a business trip this week. He doesn’t do many of these, but when he goes, we have a routine of sorts that we follow, and generally we all do pretty well. All of us except Lucy.
Have I mentioned Lucy is a high energy dog? No? Well then I’ll say it: Lucy is high energy. Yes. And that might be the understatement of the year. She is young, and she is a lab. ‘Nuff said. She is sweet, but she needs her exercise, which consists of running endless trips across the backyard to leap in the air and catch a frisbee. Jay is the frisbee-thrower in the household. Try as I might, I cannot begin to tire Lucy out with my frisbee-throwing (it’s pretty poor, folks). So, when the daddy is gone, Lucy’s exercise is the shoe this mommy lets fall. Mostly because I am just lazy like that.
But also because today I have been running kids to co-op (after stopping to photograph the local wildlife which we found in our garage this morning), getting in a couple hours of readin’, ritin’ and ‘rithmetic before dropping the eldest two at piano lessons so I could take the younger two along on the weekly grocery run as well as the final Party City errand before the big Pirate Birthday tomorrow for the 3 year old.
Arriving home, we slammed down some Boston Market, ran Abigail to her volleyball practice and after getting back home again, I calculated that we had a big enough window of time before needing to pick her up to take a stroll around the neighborhood and hopefully help poor Lucy who has been absolutely stir-crazy the last couple of days without Jay home, to run off some excess energy.
The boys grabbed scooters, I got Josiah buckled into his stroller, and off we went. The walk started out promisingly enough. Jonathan listened carefully to my instructions about holding Lucy on her leash, and the two of them led our small parade. I’d have had him push the stroller, but we felt his inability to see over the top of it could present a hazard for both him and the baby. (Oh, if only I’d known.) Nicolas chugged along on his little scooter, I brought up the rear of the party, pushing Josey in his new set of wheels.
All went well in front of me; I recall watching my big boy of seven with great pride as he carefully walked this dog who weighs more than he does and is far stronger to say the least. She, for her part, walked politely next to him, behaving almost like the lady that she is not. It was a beautiful picture….and one that could not last.
We had traveled only two house-lengths when Jonathan and Lucy stepped around opposite sides of a road sign in the middle of the sidewalk, and tried to keep on walking despite the leash remaining behind them, tangled around the sign. The dog panicked and began jumping around trying to free herself. Jonathan reacted likewise and began swatting at Lucy with what remained in his hand of the dog leash. The stronger of the two finally disentangled her part of the leash from the sign and began bounding up the lawn of the house we were stopped in front of. Poor Jonathan held faithfully onto the leash, and for his troubles was dragged across the grass for some ways before Lucy stopped again and commenced jumping around as though she’d gone crazy, no doubt additionally riled by the sounds of our neighbors’ dogs inside the house barking excitedly.
And then the Poster Mommy of the year made a really stupid move. I stopped pushing the stroller since Jonathan needed my help. What I failed to do was to put the brake on, so as I ran to rescue Jonathan, poor Josiah rolled off the curb, tipping over as he went down, smashing onto the pavement. (Yes, don’t you all want to come and leave your children in my care now?) Since I had to make a decision between the screaming baby, and my seven year old continuing to yell for help, I ran to the baby, righted him and the stroller, kissed his finger which, he told me quite tearfully, had a big “cratch”, assured myself he had not hit his head, and ran to assist the seven year old who was still laying on the ground while the dog jumped around him like a spooked horse.
About this time (baby still screaming, dog gone mad, older son frantically trying to hold onto crazed canine) whom should walk up but the kind neighbor from two doors down, who does not have any children of her own, but has somehow managed to live with a lab for 10 years now. She had a concerned look on her face (wonder why?) but was really sweet and asked if I could use any help. With her assistance – during which she assured me Lucy was very normal for a young lab, we got things to a calmer state (though the dog would no longer submit to Jonathan leading her leash) and finally set out again. The rest of the walk went without incident, and actually turned into more of a run; I spent a good part of it jogging along next to my dog at a nice clip. Lucy was obviously happy, began panting somewhat heavily as she ran, and seemed as though she was really getting a good workout, the liar.
As soon as we walked through the front door of our house, she ran and grabbed the frisbee off the floor, bringing it to me as if to say, “That was fun, but this is what I really want to do!” and proceeded to pester me for the remainder of the evening. Which really wasn’t gracious of her after all we went through, now was it, dear readers?
While I was out and about with my progeny a few weeks ago some total stranger walked up to me, looked at my four children and asked “What – do you live in a shoe or something?”. Funny, funny guy….not. I might have called him an idiot (or worse) in my head while outwardly ignoring him. But well, he was right, sort of.
I am not old. I do not live in shoe. I do not have more children than I know what to do with. But Lucy, the dog…she is certainly giving me a run for my money.