37 weeks and counting

I am now officially 37 weeks, 1 day pregnant.  I’m so close to the end goal and while I’m really hoping I hold out until my official due date (May 10th), this baby is feeling quite cramped and I’m a bit worried he’s going to be huge.  At this stage I am less worried about a uterine rupture and dying (which is what I worried about earlier in pregnancy) than I am about being able to labor unmedicated.

I used to think people who birthed with no meds were crazy.  Why not take advantage of science when it allows you to birth virtually pain free?  *Those* people were crazy hippies who just wanted to flout their ability to withstand pain and rub it into the rest of our faces.  But now after having read up about how one intervention leads to another and it can snowball until you end up with a c-section (witness Ezra’s birth), and the fact that doctors try to use as little interventions as possible in a VBAC candidate, I’m left looking at an all-natural birth.

I don’t typically handle pain well.  Being uncomfortable, sure, I can deal with that, but flat-out pain, not so much.  I’m trying to tell myself that because I won’t have pitocin this time (which severely increases contraction length and strength) and no manual breaking of water, it should be a more mellow labor process than last time.  Even just typing this is making my heart beat a little faster.  It’s freaking me out!  So maybe I just won’t think about it now.  Maybe I’ll put off thinking about it until I’m actually in labor?  Yeah, that sounds like a solid plan.

I do need to get my hospital bag put together.  Some stuff for me, some stuff for Leo.  Even Jesse has asked me when I plan on getting that together.  Maybe I’ll get to it this weekend.

We had the dog behaviorist trainer come over and she liked the stuff we’ve been working on so far and had some other ideas for training on resource guarding.  We also worked a bit on the issue of the dogs chasing the cats.  Her steps made sense, but we not going to be able to implement them at all because it all revolves around the dogs basically never having access to chase the cats, and short of keeping the dogs crated at all times there is no way to prevent that.  We’re not going to close the dog door, and we’re not going to keep the cats inside with a litter pan.  She did acknowledge that we have to pick our battles, and that’s just one I’m not going to choose to do.  She also recommended getting a flirt pole to exercise the dogs.  I thought walking/running was the best way to exercise, but apparently something in which they are physically *and* mentally stimulated is the best.  I don’t know if I’ll have Jesse make one or if I’ll just buy one.

I’ve just been reading up on articles that say you should never get littermates because it can lead to something called littermate syndrome in which the dogs bond to each other instead of humans.  It makes a lot of sense, but then I also see articles that are refuting this theory.  I still go around in circles on keeping Luca but I think we’ll keep him.  He does exhibit some of the symptoms to a certain extent, like how he always needed to be near Benny and would freak out when separated, but lately he’s been calming down on those traits.  Who knows.

We were going to have a lady come out to clean our house once a month, but when I called to actually set up a time and set a schedule, she let me know that she had to take over her niece’s clients and was no longer accepting new houses.  I asked Velvet if she wanted the job and she said yes:)  It might be weird that my sister is cleaning my kitchen and bathrooms, but seriously I don’t care.  If she’s willing to do a good job for the money I’m willing to pay, I will pay that money.  I HATE cleaning bathrooms.  And now we can have clean bathrooms again, woohoo!

Shit just got real, yo

The Ezra train of destruction rolls on.  On the plus side, I was finally able to locate Ezra’s baby clothes (they WERE in that tub in Ezra’s closet).  Ezra was helping me sort through them but after awhile got bored.  He likes to close the door to his room when I’m in there so I can’t see what he’s about to get into.  I kept sorting through clothes until I got worried enough to go see what he was doing.  I should have checked sooner.

We keep our eggs in the cartons on the kitchen island so they are easy to access.  Ezra thought so, too, because he had thrown all the eggs on the floor for the dogs to eat.  I would hazard that there were 14 or more broken eggs on the floor.  Can’t be sure because I don’t know how many the dogs ended up eating.  Mommy was MAD!  Ezra had an extra-long time out that day.

The next morning, Jess and I were in bed and Ezra went upstairs for about 5-10 minutes but he was laughing way too hard for someone who didn’t have access to a computer or tablet (they were in time out from the prior day’s egg throwing). I got up and the dogs came downstairs with what looked like vomit on them, but also kind of smelled like vanilla. Ezra had squirted grainy mustard on them and then rubbed them down with a sample size of the vanilla lotion. I think I traumatized Luca with the bath as he’d never had one before.  (Note to self, work on bath manners with the dogs.)

Then I was getting out of the shower to hear Jesse yelling at Ezra. Ez had grabbed a full treat bag off the counter and flung it all over the kitchen floor. The dogs were ecstatic. I think we had more than four time outs that day.

The next day Ezra went out to get eggs from the coop and didn’t come back inside with them.  I went to check on him and he had smashed them into his sandbox (which was also filled with water) and the dogs were snapping the remains out of the water.  Another time out.

The day after that I went outside because I had spotted Ezra with an egg in his hand coming back from the coop area.  He looked very guilty and when I asked if there had been any other eggs he copped to smashing them in his sandbox again.  I gave him another stern talking to and he said, “I won’t ever do that again,” and I said, “I find that hard to believe because that’s what you told me after you smashed eggs yesterday!”  Then later on that day he brought in two more eggs, though he had rinsed them in his sandbox water first.  So either we need to be super diligent about what he does when he’s outside, or we need to put a lock on the coop door so he cannot get into it.

Some people are saying that Ezra is acting out because there is a new baby on the way, but really I don’t think he registers much along those lines.  I think, and Velvet agrees, that it’s just because he’s three.  I don’t know why they call it the Terrible Twos.  He is much more inclined to mischief and pushing boundaries now than when he was two.  I don’t think he’ll get too jealous of the baby until it’s here and taking up our time.

Along the baby front news, my stomach was moving around the other day and I asked Ezra if he wanted to feel the baby move and he agreed.  He put his hand on my belly and quickly took it off again.  I said, “You have to leave it there for a minute,” and put his hand back on my belly.  Pretty soon Leo was rolling around and Ezra exclaims, “That’s magical!”  It was way cute.

I had an ultrasound a couple days ago and Leo is measuring over 7lbs.  His femur is measuring at 40 weeks, and head and belly at 38 and 37 weeks I think it was.  So far, so good.  He’s just going to be another big kid.  I’m not focusing too much on his purported weight right now as I know that late-term ultrasounds are something like 60% accurate.

I have been reading up more on shoulder dystocia and talked to my OB about it and she sounds super confident about handling SD so if it comes to it she has steps in place on how to manage it.  Apparently at her other practice they had 1-2 SDs a week so she’s had her fair share of working with it.  Not sure why she didn’t mention this a couple weeks ago when she was freaking me out with worse-case scenarios.

I worked a little on training the dogs with regard to Sit, but am not counting it toward the 1,000 Treat Challenge since it wasn’t the skill I’m wanting to work on.  However, I did find they both need major work on Sit.  Both of them will Sit and then almost immediately go into a Down position instead of staying in Sit.  I have some good ideas from my training forum on how to combat that.

I also spent time sewing the freaking dog bed again.  They love that bed so I don’t know why they insist on chewing holes into it and pulling out stuffing!  This time around I actually took out the pillow and sewed that first, then sewed up the cover.  It pretty much took the entire length of the Labyrinth movie to do.  There was a small hole on the fabric side of the bed but decided to let it go because I was too tired to mess with it any longer.  Yeah.  Hindsight is a bitch.  This morning I came upstairs and there was a small amount of fluff on the floor.  Looks like they chewed through the pillow in that area!  Jesse says to just let it go and if they don’t have any stuffing then we’ll throw out their bed and that will be their punishment, but I don’t think dogs think in consequences like that.  So now I have to do more sewing.  I hate to sew.

We represent the lollipop kids...  Ezra, after dunking his head in his sandbox.

We represent the lollipop kids… Ezra, after dunking his head in his sandbox.

When things don’t go as planned, oh well

We were supposed to have a behaviorist come and see Benny and Luca tonight to start working on resource guarding.  However, Benny ripped a toenail the other day and we were going to take him in to the vet today so we rescheduled with the behaviorist for next week.  I thought dog toenails were like people toenails in that they would just fall off when injured.  I looked it up online yesterday, though, and apparently it’s one type of injury that you should take the dog to the vet to get looked at.  It’s now been about five days since we noticed the injury.  Oops.

So today I get up and Benny walked by me and I noticed his nail was just barely hanging by a thread, flopping around when he walked.  Completely grossed me out.  It didn’t seem to hurt him much when I gently pulled at it to see it if would come off.  I didn’t want to tug too hard and cause it to bleed, so I just left it there and figured that either he would chew it off or it would fall off somewhere outside while he was running around.  At that point we decided that we wouldn’t take him to the vet after all; his toe itself didn’t seem inflamed and he didn’t pull away when we gently prodded the foot, and we really don’t need a vet bill on top of everything else.  About an hour later I noticed the nail had indeed fallen off and everything looks fine.  We still may do a foot soak with Epsom salt as I hear that is very healing to wounds.

Dad and Dani were supposed to come down this past Friday and stay until Tuesday but Dani got a bad cold and they didn’t want to infect us folk with it, so they stayed home.  Velvet and I had already taken today off of work, so we decided to keep the day off anyway and we went and got pedicures.  It was especially nice for me since I can barely reach my feet these days, but because it was a nail school, the tech I got was very timid.  I wanted to be all, get in there, get those calluses!  But I don’t think she would have understood me.  Oh well, it is what it is, and at least my toenails are pretty.

We went out to eat at Café Rio after that and it totally raised my blood glucose when I tested it a couple hours later but I had pretty much expected that and I figure high numbers once in a while is probably ok compared to high numbers all the time.  Velvet dropped me off back at home, and then it was time to do some training with the dogs.

So far I had done two trainings each with the dogs, using 50 treats each time.  Today I decided to use 100 treats for each dog’s session.  I am still working with getting them used to the harnesses.  Benny actually picks up training pretty quickly.  I would like him to be in a seated position when I work on getting his harness on, but he seems to like being in a down position, so that’s what I am working with.  He seemed to quickly get the gist of my moving the harness up and down, touching his body under the harness and adjusting the fit of the harness.  I also worked on taking off the harness and putting his feet into position to get the harness on.  Ideally he would just step into the harness, but at this stage I will take what I can get.  When he was done with his session I put him in his crate and let out Luca.

Luca took awhile to settle down as he is ALL about the treats and likes to mug me when I sit down.  Luca really doesn’t like having his paws touched, so I had to learn to touch and click quickly so that he was more interested in getting the treat than he was in moving his feet.  Eventually we worked up to me putting on and taking off the harness, adjusting the harness, and moving his feet into the harness holes.  By the end of the session he was letting me move his feet into position pretty well.  He was still kind of weird about me touching him under the harness and adjusting the harness, but I think that was more because he was trying to figure out if I had treats in my hand.

So far for the 1,000 Treat Challenge we are up to:
Benny =  three sessions, 200 treats
Luca = three sessions, 200 treats

I had to open a new bag of training treats, so I think we will be using them at a nice pace.  I had an email from Amazon that the remaining treats are being shipped later than anticipated.  To be honest, I had forgotten there was more to that order that we had not received yet.  All in all, we can probably do a number of 1,000 Treat Challenges at this point, and I’m ok with that.

tired out puppies

tired puppies

While my next skill building I’m planning on is to work on leashes with the intent that we can someday walk these dogs, there was a video that really spoke to me that I watched today.  It was about training incompatible behavior techniques.  For this woman, every time she bent down to pick up something from the floor, her dog would mug her face.  This is something our dogs do as well and I would like to train them out of it.  Eventually she trained her dog that every time the woman bent over, the dog would go into a default down position.

This is definitely something I’d like to work on.  It seems like it would tie in nicely with a “leave it” command.

Ezra, looks over Lincoln Log instructions

Ezra, looks over Lincoln Log instructions while sleepy dogs sleep on

Let the 1,000 Treat Challenge begin!

I know Jesse thinks I spend too much money on the dogs.  I probably do but I want them to be healthy and happy and like being with us so I don’t worry too much about the cost, especially during times where we may be more flush than others.

Case in point, I just bought a crap-ton of Cloud Star dog treats from Amazon.  They appear to be good training-size treats and I’m too lazy to make my own.  I like that they have minimal ingredients and I bought different flavors of different style treats to keep it interesting to the pups.

We received the first part of the order yesterday, so I started the 1,000 Treat Challenge. Nothing like not procrastinating when you have the goods.  The idea of the 1,000 Treat Challenge is to set aside 1k treats and over the next two weeks to use all those treats just training one specific skill.  I decided to do this challenge with the dogs’ new harnesses.  These harnesses are the step-in kind and the dogs were not used to this style at all.  To be fair, we didn’t acclimate them well to their other, now-defunct harnesses to the point where Luca would run away when it was time to put it on.

The above video is kind of the model I’m using to do the training.  I had the non-working dog in a crate while I was working with the other dog because otherwise I would have just been mugged by both dogs trying to get treats.  I guess that’s another training I need to do.  For the time being, I am using the Cloud Star Crunchy Tricky Trainers in Cheddar.

Our dogs didn’t quite get the gist of stepping into the holes and I probably rushed everything, but I’m going to keep working on it. I spent 50 treats on each dog yesterday, and probably should have done another training later that day to reinforce the earlier training.  Oh well, I will do the training again tonight.

We also tentatively have a behaviorist coming on Monday night to work on resource guarding issues, so fingers crossed that will produce results.