The Daughter And The Dog Food

Cody is our miniature schnauzer, our little boy that we've had since May of 2004. He was totally here first, so we were going to try not to change too much about his life just because we decided to add a baby to it. That was the plan.

However, that's unrealistic and unavoidable when you have a baby and a pet (at least for us) but there was no way to KNOW that until we experienced it. You couldn't tell us that things would change with the dog after the baby arrived. No way. Cody was our baby. He was our boy.

Now, he's the dog that's threatened with death and a life in the backyard when he barks while Ellen is napping. Or threatens to bark. That's the truth. He's the dog. He fights for his attention, he's often in the middle of everything and at times, his saving grace is that Ellen adores him. Ellen will laugh at Cody when nothing else is funny. She'll follow him around the house to see what he's doing and ANY TIME she hears him at his food or water bowl, there's no distracting her. She's right there.

We keep Cody's food out in the open, in an area easily accessed by a curious toddler. Why? Because it wasn't a problem when she wasn't walking and she has never shown an interest in the food by itself until recently. Also, Cody has never had a set time to eat. He eats when he wants and it has always worked. Rather than attempt to modify his eating habits, we're attempting to teach our child some discipline.

Recently, Ellen will walk over to the food bowl and stand there and stare at it. It's clear she understands that she isn't supposed to touch it - because she doesn't bend down and reach for it. We've covered this many times. But she wants to touch it. So she stands there. Thinking. She's now come up with a new plan. She reaches out for it with her foot. She extends her little, socked foot out to brush the edge of the dog food bowl, testing us.

My one-year-old is trying to get around the rules with a technicality. I can't wait until she's sixteen.


Did You Just Call Your Daughter "Train?"

Eddie and I had a baby girl on the afternoon of December 15, 2009. We named her Ellen, after my grandmother. It is an incredible responsibility to name a child. Huge. We considered everything we could - What would it be if someone shortened it? How could you lengthen it? Would you make fun of that? Does it rhyme with anything cute? Funny? Obnoxious? Dirty? Then no. Had we seen a movie where the villain was named that? Then no. That kid in third grade that stole from me? That name is forever tainted. That name makes me think of big hair - it's out. This name gives me the snobby vibe. Out. Rejected. N. O. Too girlie. Too butch. Too popular. Too weird. Too old. Too 1984. No, no, no.

So, we settled on Ellen. Yes, this honors my grandmother. Was it the only thing left after we were finished rejecting? Maybe.


Ellen is what we call her some of the time. Her nickname is Train.

Some of the paths taken to a nickname are clearly marked and visible. Russell = Russ. Eugene = Gene. Timothy = Timbo. Ellen = Train? Well, that just sort-of happened.

When she was a wee little tot, still brand new, she suffered from a relatively mild case of constipation. Not pretty, no, but we were welcomed to parenthood with that one, so we'll claim it. After a few diaper changes and no poop, I would encourage her on the changing table while trying to entertain myself. I sang. I made up songs for my baby, encouraging songs, to coax the poop out of her while I bicycled her legs in the air. Our favorite was a little ditty to the tune of "Do You Know the Muffin Man?" It goes a little like this:

"Ellen rides the poo poo train
the poo poo train
the poo poo train
Ellen rides the poo poo train
it stops at Station Five."

Ellen rides the poo poo train. Every so often she did. Then she became "Diaper Train," "Stinker Train," "Choo Choo Train," "Ellen Train," and eventually just "Train." There are just so many things you can do with Train. The possibilities are vast and most of them are funny. Just this afternoon Eddie let me know that he was going to pick her up from daycare, referring to it as the Train Station.
In front of friends and strangers I sometimes forget myself and I do call my daughter "Train." It is totally her name.


At Random

Getting back to posting on the blog after completing that pregnancy marathon and the first year of my child's life. No excuses. I've been missing the outlet. No resolutions here, just hoping to post more often.
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