Breaking News: I Volunteered Today


At the beginning of each school year, the volunteer opps flood in. Volunteer in the classroom, volunteer for the PTA, volunteer in the media center, volunteer for picture day,  volunteer for classroom parties. This year I didn’t sign up for anything. Because frog.


Apparently I’m not the only person who gets into situations and then goes along without realizing all the ramifications.

Allowing Toast to spend time at his Nana and FauxPa’s has really opened my eyes to several forests I couldn’t see for the trees.

First of all, every move I make in our home, when the dog is here, must be evaluated in the moment to consider what it will mean for the dog. Will he eat these shoes if I leave them out? Will he jump on that person who comes in the door? Will he chew this up? Of course I realize puppies chew on things, and that it’s normal. But for me, it has been stressful to always wonder what the dog is going to do next when I am trying to focus on Kepler, or on some task.

Secondly, it wasn’t until today, the first school day I have had since the beginning of the year where I could focus exclusively on Kepler, that I realized how the combination of Kepler + Toast is actually pretty amazingly something else. I think part of what has been going on is that Toast never quite knows what Kepler is going to do next. And he responds to Kepler, so if Kepler is highly energetic, or inadvertently whips Toast into a frenzy, I find it challenging to handle both the needs of the dog, and the needs of the child, not to mention any little piddly needs I might have in the situation.

Third, while I was out this morning at my normal Monday meeting, I had the realization that I have been feeling like I have to rush home from wherever I am in order to let the dog out. Like, the crate is ok and very acceptable as it is plenty big, and Toast is crate-trained, but I have been feeling bad about leaving him in the crate more than absolutely necessary. I realized that if I wanted to I could stop by Kepler’s school and volunteer for awhile, or take my time at the library, or even go an extra place I hadn’t been planning on. That little Visitor tag from Kepler’s school is the first one I have worn this entire school year.

Fourth, when I drove into the driveway today, I realized that I have been stressing out over knowing that when I opened the garage door, or the front door, I would immediately need to take care of the dog. I’ve always found it stressful to come into the house and have to immediately begin to respond to needs. I need just a little time to ease into the house, set my stuff down, and just be for a second before I have to get back “on duty.”

Oh, you dog lovers out there, I see you shaking your heads at my naivete, and nodding your heads at these most obvious things about having a dog. Thankfully, Toast is very much enjoying Grandparents Camp, and the grandparents are very much enjoying having Toast visit. (Overheard at Grandparents Camp: “I really don’t know how Susan has been doing this with Toast and Kepler.”)

When Kepler got home from school this afternoon, he and I talked and walked together into the house. When we got in, we got to sit down and read a book together. And I could give him my full attention. And he could give me his. He is pretty distractible, and I have noticed that Toast distracts him tremendously.

So today has been about letting myself off the hook for not being able to manage a high energetic puppy, and an energetic child, without feeling drained and exhausted.

Dear husband left town last Wednesday and returns tonight. So all of this has happened while he has been out of town, and much of the time, he was not available by phone. Of course any decisions that are to be made will include him fully. At least I have finally figured out what has been making me so tired. And that is a very good thing.



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