Letters to Miriam: Five months old

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Dear Miriam,

You turned five months old last weekly. We have now completely left behind the newborn days, and are firmly in Full Baby. This past month has been full of so many changes, my head is spinning! You celebrated your first Christmas (and Boxing Day, and New Year!) and it was so much fun. You got way too many presents but you loved the wrapping paper and having so many new and different things to put in your mouth.

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Right after Christmas you moved into your own room, and you’re now sleeping in your own crib. The transition was much harder on me than it was on you: I cried the first night, but you slept like a champ. We now have a pretty regular bedtime, you’re asleep by 7:30 PM, and usually sleep until 5:30 AM. However, early this morning you rolled from your back to your front, multiple times, fully swaddled, so I guess that means the End of the Swaddle. A sad milestone in this house. Stay tuned to see how it goes…

Also this month, we got you a high chair, and now you’re eating real food, you love it! The first few spoonfuls were met with some hilarious faces, but after a few tries, you are now gobbling up a variety of things: pears, sweet potatoes, apples, bananas, and avocado so far. I’m planning a longer blog post just about this.

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I went back to work part-time a couple of weeks ago. Again, this was harder on me than it was on you. You now get to spend a couple of days a week with Grandma and one day a week with Kaela, and it sounds like everyone is having a great time! And now it has been confirmed by two more sources that you are indeed an amazing baby. I had suspected as much, but I’m a bit biased.

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We can also add sitting up to your list of tricks and skills… one day I just plopped you down on a blankie on the floor in front of a toy, and you didn’t topple over! It’s crazy how these things seem to come out of nowhere but I know you’ve been working really hard on them. Your development leaps are so enormous right now! It’s like if I went from doing simple arithmetic to differential equations in a few weeks. My head is spinning, how are we going to keep up with you?

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The middle child

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Ted is not your typical dachshund: he’s very easy going and quiet, outgoing with strangers, and happy to try to new things. But as a result, he’s not very demanding so he sometimes gets overlooked.

This morning I was about to leave the house with Ardie and Miri, I was dropping Ardie off at the groomers on my way to go shopping. Suddenly I realized this meant Ted would be home alone all day. In all of Ted’s 13+ years, he’d been alone – sans dog or human- exactly once. And he screamed and screeched so much my neighbors called me in alarm. So, I called the groomer and explained why I couldn’t bring Ardie in. She didn’t hesitate to suggest I bring Ted in as well, just to hang out and keep Ardie company too. So off we went! I figured at least Ted could get his talons nails clipped too.

When I picked the boys up a few hours later, not only were his nails clipped, but he’d been washed and deep-conditioned! “No charge for you,” gushed the groomer, “I just did it because I wanted to, he’s just so sweet!”

Sweet old Ted, he definitely deserved his special attention today.

Tessa

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Today I said farewell to one of my oldest and dearest of friends, my dog Tessa. She was 17. I adopted her when she was four months old, and I was only 19. We saw each other through all of our ups and downs and milestones: college graduation, moving from Pittsburgh to Seattle, a few short-lived relationships that she didn’t approve of, to finally meeting and marrying the love of my life, who she did approve of. Even though these last few months were hard for her, she stuck around to meet my human daughter Miriam. 

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She was sweet (mostly just to me and her select few humans), loyal to a fault, terribly stubborn, and very clever. She wasn’t much for obedience training but learned the words most important to her. We couldn’t utter the word “pizza” or she’d sit herself in front of the door, ready to greet the delivery man.

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She was the best traveling companion because she never cared where we went, as long as she was with me. Together we saw the whole country; from the Jersey shore to Lake Michigan to the Pacific Ocean.

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She especially loved the beaches, where she could just run and run and run. But not go in the water, of course. Water is terrible when you’re a dachshund.

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She pretended to be cranky and annoyed at other dogs, and most humans too, but she loved her little pack. She was definitely the alpha female but fortunately Ted and Ardie were okay with that.

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She was a connoisseur of comfort, and was most likely to be found either in bed or on the couch, but always under a blanket. Or three.

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  She was also quite good at selfies, before selfies were even a thing. But most of all, for 17 years, she was mine and I was hers. Amy Sedaris puts it well: “Sometimes losing a pet is more painful than losing a human because in the case of the pet, you were not pretending to love it.”

And so today I knew it was time. I held her and whispered to her  that I loved her, and that it was okay to go now. I told her we would be okay, and thanked her for being the best, most loyal, sweetest and bravest  friend I’ve ever had. I only hope that somehow over the past 17 years I was able to repay her for everything she gave to me. She has left her little paw prints etched on my heart.

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Good night my sweet girl.

“Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us,
 these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them so
 many years of our own lives.”

 – John Galsworthy