Monday, October 27, 2008

Recent, Random Pictures

Wynn and Baba Checking Out the Sunset

This Is What Happens When Toddlers Dress Themselves

Where's Wynn?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Elmo = Rock Star

We went to the Zoo Boo at Como Park last night. Wow. It was ridiculously crowded. We trudged about a mile and a half from our parking place to the zoo entrance, got yelled at by a guy who accused us of cutting in line (No, Sir, we didn't.), and then stood like good little sheep in a crowd of people for the next hour or so. It was so crowded that we couldn't really appreciate any of the decorations or interact with the people in costume. At one point I said to Scott, "This really reminds of the Beijing airport." That is not a compliment, by the way.

The spookiest part of the Zoo Boo was the way the other kids reacted to Wynn's Elmo costume. They'd wander over to us with these zombie-like expressions on their faces, saying, "El-mo. El-mo." Very Night of the Living Dead. They all wanted to touch her, so she got pet on the head and the hands by a bunch of kids she didn't know, which was not to her liking at all. Two little twin brothers went so far as to take turns punching her as she sat in her stroller. Their mom was sufficiently mortified and apologetic, but, still. While I LOVE being a parent, I'm finding that I don't often enjoy being one in the company of a bunch of other parents and their children. 

The best part of this weekend was raking leaves out in the backyard. Wynn, Scott, and I each had our own rake. Her way of helping involved taking leaves out of the pile and putting them on the green moss next to it, but we appreciate her desire to help out. Last year she was a little too little for jumping in the leaves, so I gladly gave her a tutorial on the finer points; she got the hang of it right away.   :-)

When last we blogged, it was the day Ranger passed away, and Wynn still hadn't figured out what happened. About two days after, she and I were on the porch looking at some flowers friends had sent. I told her that they had sent flowers because they knew Mom was sad. When I asked her if she knew why, she pressed her little cheek against mine and whispered, "Ranger gone." No tears, but the beginnings of understanding. 

The next night she woke up at midnight screaming. Scott can usually calm her down just by going in her room and hugging her, but she was beyond that. I realized that she was calling out, "Mom!" and "Ranger!" I went to her room, and we all sat together and hugged and talked about how Mom and Baba don't leave. It was heartbreaking for us to hear her grieving cry again; it was just as it sounded that first night in Nanning, filled with the profound sadness that comes from losing someone you love. We've had a few moments of separation anxiety since - that I had three nights of conferences and wasn't getting home before her bedtime didn't help. We've moved on to talking about getting another Sheltie, but realize that we need to give it time.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Always Gentle. Always Love.

As Wynn first learned how to treat a dog, she sometimes squeezed Ranger too enthusiastically or didn't look out for him the way she should.  He got stepped on a few times, and I would tell her that the rule was "Always gentle. Always love." Only touch him with gentleness. Always regard him with love.  He patiently tolerated her early, well-meaning shows of awkward affection, and the two of them grew to love one another completely.

Today Ranger had to leave us.  The veterinarians at our clinic and the University of Minnesota did everything they could to give us more time with our precious boy, but pancreatic cancer took him away from us much, much too early. Saying good-bye to our "first born" is devastating to Scott and I, but we take comfort in knowing that we did everything we could for him, that he didn't suffer, and that he always knew that he was truly loved. 

Wynn has been watching Scott and I as we cry at this loss, and she looks empathetic and concerned at how obviously sad we are.  We've explained to her that he's gone, that he was too sick for the doctors to make him better, and that he loved us all. Death is such an abstract thing for her to try to understand; she sees its effect on us but doesn't really know what it all means.

We are glad to have taken some pictures and video of the two of them together. As she gets older, we'll remind her of her first dog and tell her about the things they did together: how she'd hug him when she was mad at us, how he'd plop himself down on the floor next to Wynn and I as we read bedtime stories, etc.  

Anyone who ever visited our house knows about mild-mannered Ranger's one very peculiar habit. A true herding dog at heart, he hated to see the flock (that'd be us) split up. Whenever anyone would go down the stairs, leaving the pack, he'd bark like crazy and spin in circles at the top of the stairs. Scott and I eventually said that Ranger was just "barking you out", much as a polite host would "see you out".  Scott took this video on Monday morning, the last day Ranger still had his full, strong bark.  It's of Ranger and Wynn barking me out on my way to work.

We miss you already, Ranger.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

One Little Monkey Jumping on the Bed

That's her new fleece blanket she's standing on. She picked out the fabric herself (MUCH better than the horse heads on a sea of plaid she saw first). The nice lady at the cutting table innocently asked, "Is that George?" Wynn looked at her as if to say, "Um, no!"

She LOVES the Elmo t-shirt!