Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fresh Starts

Ever since they were babies, I've liked to tell myself that, when the kids do something less-than-appealing, and do it repeatedly, it's a stage they are going through. After all, when someone develops an annoying new habit, why should I torment myself by thinking the behavior is here to stay? Labeling it 'temporary' in my mind helps me deal with it on a daily basis without going berserk. It's how I survived Ben's entire first year of life when he wouldn't nurse for more than five minutes at a time or sleep for more than 20 minutes in a row. Every night, I told myself, "Maybe this is the night when he'll actually sleep. Yes, it's just a phase, and this may be the end of it." 12 months later, I was right. See?

Now that school has started, I can pretty much anticipate Jacob wanting to stay up late to show how mature he is, so he can watch television with Dad (up till now a no-no on school nights) and having a nightly debate with me over it. I also expect that the next two weeks with Ben will be filled with daily tears, battles and general frustration with life as he adjusts to the new demands being put on him at school, and the emotional juggling that goes along with beginning a new school year. Happens every September, and it's always temporary. Breeeathe.

The dogs, however, are another story. Aside from Flash's annual rolling in the snow game in winter, and Bailey's fall and spring allergies driving him and the rest of us nuts with the scratching, sneezing and forcing allergy pills down his throat, not much changes with them. Not much, that is, until now.

I don't know if it's repercussions of their kennel visit, their re-adjusting to being in the house, or just feeling the tension as we ease back into the school-year routine. But last night, Bailey barked for hours because, I assumed, of the thunderstorms. He's got a sore throat, but that didn't seem to keep him down. Never heard a peep from Flash, of course. And today, Flash has been barking relentlessly at... what? It's a mystery. The wind? The humidity? The errant leaf on the road? The scent of a dog that walked down his street yesterday? I have no idea. All I know is that Bailey is trying to nap to make up for lost sleep last night, and Flash has not shut up all day.

I could let it drive me bats, and it wouldn't take much. Bailey did have me up most of the night after all. I could throw him out on the run in the yard and close up the windows. Or I could just tough it out and tell myself it's a phase. Whatever is running through his little doggie mind is, must be, a passing thing. Just like Ben's start-of-school-year tantrums and Jacob's constant rule challenging. It must be. It just can't be permanent. So we'll get through it. Yes, it's just a stage, and we'll get through it, just like we always do. I just pray it doesn't take a year.

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