Franklin Roosevelt

So there was that one day when we woke up with 5 dogs and said, "you know what would be a good idea? Buying another dog." So we did. Meet Franklin Roosevelt.

The last dog we purchased put our numbers at "I'm not exactly comfortable with this many canine under my roof." This dog clearly planted us in "I'm too embarrassed to tell anyone how many dogs we have," so I'm not. Just don't add 1 to the number in the opening paragraph here, please. Pretend you don't know what you now know.  Just know that it's too many, and it's not permanent. We can't justify keeping 2 boys, and we love Louie enough to give him the benefit of his age as an excuse. (Which really isn't one, but we're reaching here because we love that dog.) So we'll give him time to figure out life, and if he doesn't get life figured out in, say, 6 months, then sadly Frankie will be a permanent part of our home while Louie will continue to be loved by everyone who meets him but will call another house home. And that won't be fun.

So why Frankie? There is that thing in the dog raising business called "stud service" wherein you pay someone for the services of their dog. If you're going to have one or two litters of puppies, this is what you'd want to do. However, if you have a long-term thing in mind with raising puppies, you'll want your own dog because the money saved would be astronomical over the years. Except when I was looking for a dog that we could take Cooper to visit this weekend, I found Frankie. His loving owners needed to find him a home before winter set in and deeply reduced his price to the point that it was just cheaper to buy him than it would have been to pay stud fee. So that's why Frankie.

If our well laid plans go as... well, planned... we should be expecting Frankie/Cooper babies right around Christmas. The holidays here will be all sorts of fun, with 2 other girls potentially expecting right around Thanksgiving as well. I am blocking all the weeks from Thanksgiving to mid-January so that I can happily play with babies, and if I do not get babies (because life has a way of taking my well laid plans and laughing at them), then I will be free to attend parties and events last-minute as I choose.

In the meantime, we have too many dogs. I love these dogs, mind you, but there are a lot of them. I think I have crossed the line into Crazy Dog Lady territory. If you need me, I'll be over here scrubbing crates and mopping floors.

Reserve The Judgment, Please

I blame social media. I blame a lot on social media, actually, but the thing I'm blaming on social media today is the face that we have reached a point where we think it's okay to be so judgmental. Everyone has a voice, and we post all sorts of things on the internet knowing that the whole world will see it, yet at the very same time assuming that nobody will. Or at least nobody that would be offended by it. Those are the very people we are talking about, though, right?

The world has gotten so messed up. Social media may just be the result of a society that was judgmental to begin with. Will we ever know? Perhaps not. But I'm not here to figure out where things started to go wrong. I'm wanting to change things.

It doesn't seem to matter what the topic is, someone is an expert on that topic and is willing to tell anyone who will listen all about it. We do this so that we can avoid telling the one person that we think actually needs to hear it. Ironic, no? So we're know-it-all pansies, I guess. We're all guilty of this, so stop pointing fingers at people in your head. This is what I'm talking about, right here. We're all experts on topics that we know nothing about, and we are so quick to judge others for how they think or talk or act when we don't know their situation or their circumstances at all. It does nobody any good. Not us or them or the person we're annoying with our "I know how to live their life better than they do" speech.

As the parent of a special needs child, we live with a lot of judgment from others. Unless you have a child with Down syndrome, you have absolutely zero idea of what daily life is like. And then each child has their own unique set of quirks and developmental delays that it's exactly like comparing a typically developing Little Johnny to another typically developing Little Johnny in first grade. It's not fair for either Johnny or either set of parents. Each child is so vastly different, even though they're both first graders. And with kids with disabilities, the differences are so much more vast it's like the scope of the universe in differences between your delayed child and a typically developing one. Also, there are days when you feel lost in that dark space because you have no idea what you're doing. If the parents of a child aren't sure what they're doing, there is no way anyone else will figure it out. What seems like common sense to an outsider has so many "if you only knew" things going on that it's like viewing the literal tip of the ginormous iceberg.

My mom had a plaque hanging in her kitchen when I was growing up. It hung by the microwave, so as I would wait for things to heat up, I'd read it because it was so conveniently placed. It was an old Indian proverb that said, "grant that I may not criticize my neighbor until I have walked a mile in his moccasins." The wisdom there made an impact on me. Until you fully understand the situation, or at least immerse yourself  in the situation enough to get an idea of what's really going on, you have no right to criticize. In fact, the standing joke in our house when we hear any kind of criticism toward our parenting of Micah is that we will gladly loan him out to that family for as long as it takes for them to train him the way they think he should be.

Let's start today. Don't be so critical of others. You have no idea what they're living. And if you truly want to help someone, do just that. Words aren't actions, they simply hang there causing problems.