Awkward Moments with the New Neighbor: Brought to You by Briggs

A handful of folks have DMed me on Twitter and Facebook over the past three weeks or so asking me for Briggs updates. And I’ve responded with phrases like Oh, he’s great and It’s so nice to have him back. But the truth is this—he wasn’t back, y’all. Not even close.

Nine full weeks after his surgery, Briggs was still struggling each and every time he got up from his bed—still walking with a discernible limp. And worst of all, he’d lost that youthful, mischievous nature we’d grown to accept love about him.

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The Gift of Baths

I’m the bath guy, y’all. Have been for a good portion of my parenting life. That’s not to say that Caroline doesn’t administer baths. She certainly does. More than I have, if I had to guess (though I bet it’s close). Regardless, there have been little spurts here and there where I’ve been the guy in charge of all things squeaky and clean. And we’re currently in the middle of one such spurt. Which means I’m master of the washcloth, thank you very much.

I used to love giving the triplets a bath when they were Luke’s age for two primary reasons. First, I would usually bathe them individually, which meant I got to spend precious solo time with each. And second, because these baths went down during the witching hour, time was of the essence. Dilly dally too long and you’ve got yourself a meltdown fueled by overtired triplets. And that meant that I had to be quick and efficient with each bath which was a challenge. And I love challenges.

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The Week Without Luke

See that picture up there? It was taken about two months ago. To the casual observer, I’m sure it’s a very good likeness to Luke, indeed. But I can obviously tell it’s a dated shot of my junior-most associate because, you know, I’m his dad and all.

And the reason why I put it up is twofold. First — it’s an awfully cute picture — don’t you think? But second, this past Friday marked the first time I’d seen my baby in a full week, you know, since he and the rest of the crew went to the beach while I remained at home and made hot air balloons and whatnot. (Long story.) And I was amazed at how much my little guy had changed in that short amount of time.

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Contemplating Luke and Briggs

This post is spon­sored by Dis­ney Baby. I’ll be join­ing the Dis­ney Baby blog­ging team this month, and look for­ward to shar­ing these kinds of sto­ries with you over there — stay tuned for more details.

Another quick note: not the best quality of picture, but it’s one of my very favorites pics ever. It was taken outside in our gazebo in January-ish and it was Luke’s first experience seeing a fire. He loved it, staring with wide blue eyes, dancing flames reflecting from each. Now, the post:

If you count dogs as children (and, seriously, who doesn’t?), then my oldest wouldn’t be Alli. It’d be Briggs. My youngest, of course, would be Luke. And like I mentioned yesterday, I’ve sorta been feeling guilty about having written so little about Luke, particularly as compared to his siblings.

Which is one reason why I was so excited to be asked by Disney to write for their new site DisneyBaby — it’s just the impetus I needed to spend some time hashing through and documenting my thoughts about my little blue-eyed man. Which is only appropriate given the fact that his impending arrival had given me great pause and was steeped in symbolism for me. Partly because I’m neurotic and tend to over-analyze things. (So wait, you’ve noticed? Wow. Okay. Well, where would you say I fall on the over-analytical continuum? Like 75th percentile-ish? A touch lower, maybe even? Because, seriously, I’m not that bad. I mean, you should see my Aunt Jill. NUT. BAG.)

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A Briggs Story Best Left Untold

Note: The events described in this post actually went down last week, but I didn’t get a chance to publish it before our family camping trip, so here it is now.

Okay. This post is a total vent. So feel free to bail right now if you don’t wanna hear me bellyache. Oh. And if you have a weak stomach, you’re seriously in the wrong place. Leave. Immediately. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

So I get home from work a couple of days ago, and I smell something that’s all too familiar in my household.

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A Briggs Update Plus A Chance to Win Something

So, Briggs had his surgery and he’s totally good. With the exception that he’s confined to a crate for eight weeks and will need quite a bit of care during that time. He’s also wearing the cone of shame. And he’s not allowed off of his leash even when he’s using the bathroom. And he’s on a bunch of medicine. While it’s gone as well as it could to this point, and while I’m thankful that I’ve gotten this chance to be able to love on him so much, one thing’s for sure:

Boy are we ever the wrong family to have a dog in such a constant state of need.

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Briggs’ ACL and the Long Overdue Revelation

Briggs tore his ACL and I’m officially blaming it on the compacted NBA season. I wonder how many of y’all got that joke. The NBA part. Not the Briggs / ACL part. Because that, unfortunately, is no joke. Miss J (who helps with Luke) said it was a point-in-time injury, or so she gathered by the yelp she heard as he reached the top of the stairs he’d crested hundreds if not thousands of times before. The vet said it probably “just went.” Like Derrick Rose’s.

The whole deal has really thrown me for a loop. It’s pointless to try and explain why — in fact, I’m not 100% certain I understand, myself. Or, actually, maybe I do understand, and I’m just ashamed. [Read more...]

Your Dumbass Dog is at it Again

Say what you want about my dog, Briggs, but one thing’s for sure. Dude has some serious timing. Why, you ask? Because last week, I wrote a post about him for AimingLow. You know, a standard Briggs post with a garden-variety rundown of his mind numbingly frustrating antics.

Then, just this past weekend, he struck again, such that the post that just got published last night is already outdated. It all started on Saturday morning when Caroline, as she’s wont to do, woke me up with a familiar refrain.

“Your dumbass dog is at it, again.”

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And Briggs Makes Seven

“Your dumbass dog is at it, again,” announced my pregnant wife one night early on in our marriage. Lovie was referring to my faithful chocolate lab, Briggs.

What, exactly, was Briggs doing, you ask? Slowly, steadily, and silently releasing dense clouds of noxious gas. Pockets of reprehensibility so flagrant as to even be equipped with their own (and noticeably different) barometric pressures. Tiny, malodorous weather fronts of filth which were greatly disgusting my lovely wife. I looked over at my hound only to find him sprawled out on his bed, his mouth eerily agape, snoring like a bear.

Birggs

That’s right. Briggs was sleep-farting.

And he’s got other bad habits, too. Like going certifiably ape-shit each and every time an outsider bursts our domestic bubble. A knock at the back door, the ringing of the front doorbell, or even a barely audible conversation between two women taking a leisurely neighborhood stroll is enough to send Briggs into a frenzy. A full-blown gallop ensues, throw rugs helplessly askew in his wake, Briggs sliding out of control with each and every change of direction his dash requires, eventually culminating in his breathless arrival at wherever the action is, panting with desperate impatience while shamelessly rocking a solid inch-and-a-half of pink lipstick as he awaits our visitor with… um… excitement.

As soon as said visitor enters the house, Briggs’ll make a bee-line for the toy bin and deftly snatch whatever’s on top, before galloping back to his new friend with the welcome gift he’s selected, wrapped thoughtfully in his slobber. He’ll then circle our dumbfounded (and slightly frightened) guest with speeds that conjure up images of the Tasmanian Devil until he feels it’s just the right time to engage in a little world-class crotch-sniffing.

And I haven’t even touched upon his legendary dirty-diaper escapades. Briggs makes Marley look like one of Paris Hilton’s lap dogs. So the fact that Lovie was having a hard time adjusting to him early in our marriage wasn’t surprising at all. What was surprising, however, was that not only did she eventually accept Briggs, she also ended up liking him.

Pookie and Briggs during one of his calmer moments.

Briggs’s birthday is in December, and as each holiday season approaches, Lovie and I wonder if enough dog years have passed to notice a decrease in his high energy level. This year was sure to be the one, right? After all, he’d be seven. But, if anything, his energy level was even higher thanks to our broken invisible fence. Without it, we couldn’t even let Briggs go outside to blow off some steam without fearing he’d leave our property, barge into an unsuspecting neighbor’s house, and start dry humping their four-year-old.

So his outside activities were limited to bathroom-related engagements only. At least that was the plan. The actual outcome was that Briggs made countless escapes. No fewer than eight different households came to our assistance with either a phone call alerting us of his whereabouts, or in two cases, front-door delivery.

Everyone was very nice about it, but Lovie and I were all too aware that we had likely become “those neighbors.” In our minds, three two-year olds is pretty much a good enough excuse to let anything slide a little bit. But it’s not like others realize what we’re up against. (except for one family–shout out to the Huneycutts) So I was always embarrassed whenever we got one of the dreaded phone calls and often turned to humor as a way of masking my shame.

Ring-ring.

“Hello.”

“John, it’s Anne. I think I see Briggs across the street in the Baker’s yard. He’s sniffing around their nativity scene. He’s right beside the three wise men.”

“Well, at least it’s comforting to know that he’s keeping good company, right Anne?”

We finally got the fence fixed in January. But our relentless brown hero has grown so enchanted with his neighborhood jaunts that he’s decided such strolls are easily worth the jolt of electricity he’ll endure as he hurdles through our invisible barrier to embark upon one. So we’ve been keeping him inside again, unless, of course, it’s time for him to use the bathroom. But having been burned in the past, we’re often skeptical when he whines as if he needs to go. Ever the clever hound, he’s taken to offering up undeniable proof of his plight via large piles discretely left beside the side door.

And that’s where we are right now. At just two and a half years old, all three of our little guys are going poo poo in the potty while their dog is droppin’ the deuce on the kitchen floor. I wonder if we could somehow teach Briggs how to use the toilet.

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