Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A little Toby time

As much as I want to hop in a time machine and speed to November, preferably right after delivering the baby so I just pop into the moment where I'm sweaty and panting and full of relief and joy as they place my hopefully goop-free daughter into my arms for the first time, I know there are moments during the next three months that I need to appreciate and hold onto with all my might.

Because my childfree days are rapidly diminishing, and pretty soon I'm sure I'll wish I could hop in a time machine and speed back to today and my lack of responsibilities to anyone other than myself ... just for an hour.

So as much as I have to look forward to, I'm trying my best to make the most of every day up until then. And appreciate all the little things.

Things like playing with my oddly revved-up dog at 1 a.m.

When I got home from work last night, Toby was uncharacteristically waiting to greet me at the door. (I know, I know. Dogs are SUPPOSED to greet people at the door -- it's really not a novel concept. But people who make that assumption of all dogs would be seriously underestimating Toby's ability to succumb to his love of laying around.)

Most nights, I take a little time to myself to wind down after work, even fumble around in the kitchen for a glass of water to take my daily prenatal vitamin before bed so I don't have to taste the disgusting remnants that revisit in the form of herbal-tasting burps. But even my most inviting kitchen noises never prompt Toby to leave his spot at the foot of our bed upstairs.

His love of lounging is so strong that all I get is a nub wag when I walk into the bedroom to straighten the sheets and encourage Jerry to take up three-quarters of the bed, not the whole thing so I can squeeze in somewhere. Sometimes Toby will lift his head, but usually just his tail nub gives a few involuntary thumps. I always give him a kiss on his head and tell him I love him, too.

But not last night. Last night he was fired up for some reason. So fired up that he scared the crap out of me when I opened the door. He came flying at me with front paws outstretched in a strange motion that resembled when pro wrestlers launch themselves from the top of the ropes. If I didn't know better, I would've thought he had been waiting for me on the nearby chair and timed it just right to leap out from the darkness to see if I could manage not to pee myself.

By the time I was able to set my purse and empty dinner containers down, he was skitting around the floor in race mode. Sometimes, when he's really excited, his whole body wags. It's as if he knows someone cut off his tail and to make up for it, he wags his torso.

In between bursts of laughter, I managed to let him outside. He scooped up a tennis ball on the way and didn't drop it at the door like he usually does, but instead opted to take it with him into the yard. You know, in case one of the neighbor dogs was out late and wanted to play.

I followed him outside, sat on the bench under the pear tree and just watched as he tore through the yard, leaping, abandoning his toy, sniffing everything, checking for rogue bunnies and marking his favorite bush with urine. And then more sniffing.

After awhile, he hopped up onto the bench with me and we just sort of took in our surroundings. Until he sneezed. Then he ran back to the porch and looked at me expectantly like, "Um, LETS GO. This door isn't going to open itself."

When we got inside, I snapped a treat in half and he disappeared up the stairway to shield his bounty from anyone else unlucky enough not to have one.

By the time I joined him upstairs a few moments later, he was waiting directly in the center of the top steps, head and front paws flopped over the edge. I stepped around him and he didn't move, an indication that the lazy Toby I know and love was starting to return.

He remained sprawled out on his back while I brushed my teeth and got ready for bed, always keeping a watchful eye on my movements. When I finished, even as tired as I was, I couldn't resist sitting on the carpet to spend a few more moments with him before bed.

As soon as I got comfortable, Toby broke his calm stance by racing into the bedroom. It was as if an idea popped into his head that was so great, he had to sprint to execute it. Sure enough, he returned with the gross butt-end of a rawhide bone and started gnawing with delight.

I just watched and laughed as he rolled it around expertly between the left and right side of his jaw. The faces he was making were priceless. If I thought I could've gotten away with getting up to find my camera or, better yet, the video camera, I would've done it. But I knew he'd never return to what he was doing. No matter how much I cajoled him.

So I just sort of watched and laughed as he worked the rawhide to the point that it was soft enough to pull pieces off. Then he would secure it between his front paws and rip at it with his teeth until a section gave way. And as small as those pieces were, he acted as if his mouth was full of peanut butter. He'd raise his nose to the sky and open his mouth wide, using his tongue to keep him from choking on it.

To be honest, I'm surprised I didn't wake Jerry with my laughter.

I sat there awhile longer, just watching Toby enjoy his treat and eventually looked down the hallway into the now empty nursery. I couldn't help but wonder if these private moments with my dog will fall by the wayside when I have a child to look after. Or, at the very least, get cut short when she starts crying. Or maybe I'll just be too tired to appreciate anything that late at night other than the feeling of my head hitting a pillow.

Either way, I made a mental note and decided to made a conscious effort not to wish the rest of my summer and fall away.

Our daughter will get here eventually.

In the meantime, I have a lot to appreciate.


Jennifer said...

That is very true. Another thing you need to take time to enjoy is the days you get to sleep in. They will be gone for quite a long time after the baby is born. Take one morning to really sleep and keep sleeping until you really want to get up. Soak it all in.

Ashley said...

Its the stories like this that make me want a little dog. Someone to play and cuddle with...

...then I go back and read the ones where he was pooping and peeing all over the house and I'm over it.

julie said...

What a sweet and tender post.

Beth said...

All these things you're cherishing with Toby now will continue...but it's also preparing you for the equally engrossing and delightful moments you will have with your daughter.

I found myself watching Betsy so carefully that I could tell when she was about to reach for a toy overhead on her baby gym thingy...and caught the moment with my camera. And there was the time she was sitting on her Daddy's lap, not even a year old, yet, and he sneezed, and the tissue box was next to her and I could tell...yes, I caught that moment too, where she reached for a tissue and wiped her Daddy's nose. And a split second later, when they both looked at me.


(Oh, and yes! get all the sleep you CAN!)

Kristin said...

I imagine you'll have the time just not as much of it and not necessarily exactly when you want it. Get as much as you can for the next few months.

Kristin said...

That is quite true. I'm sure you'll enjoy sleep quite a lot after she's born :P


Ray said...

She will get here eventually but it's hard not being so excited about the anticipation of her arrival.

My cousin's wife is due in September and I just can't wait for the baby to be born. It's a girl as well. It's also our first, "little" girl in so long. I can't wait till she gets here, and each time I have money I add another clothing item to the babyshower gift.

BUT, I also agree with Jennifer's comment. Sleep all you can now because when she gets here those sleeping days will be over!

Take care, Kelly.

Suzy said...

I think about that too...we've got a houseful of animals, and as much as I want a baby (a human one) I wonder how it will affect my relationship with my "fur-babies".