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Of puppies and babies....

Celosa and Crianza were kind enough to let me and Graham take them to the dog park on Saturday.

We were later than expected getting there, as Graham and I somehow found ourselves in a karaoke bar (the Cellar Bar*) until two the previous morning. I hasten to add that Graham went nowhere near the karaoke mike. He retreated to the patio as soon as we sat down, and stayed out there for two of the three hours we were there. The last hour, he found the bar's Wii and played baseball. I, on the other hand, made it up to the mike three or four times, and my voice was a little scratchy the next morning.

The dogs, though, cared nothing for karaoke hangovers, and as soon as they found out we were going on an excursion, they sang their praises and joy.

The dog park parking lot wasn't as full as I've seen it in the past, but there were a lot of dogs there. When we walked into the small dog part, Celosa immediately took off to explore the environs. Crianza stuck with me and Graham at first, checking out a box of 8 week old dauchsunds, jumping on my lap while chatting with a three month old lab/border collie, and otherwise meeting the same dogs that we did. But as our time at the dog park wore on, Crianza became more and more adventureous. Two, three years ago, she wouldn't have let any dog come up to her for a sniff, and her sole interaction with the other dogs would be to tell them to go away from me and Graham. But the longer we stayed at the dog park, the more Crianza would interact. At first, it was her normal pattern of setting a perimeter around me and Graham and barking her head off at anyone who came inside of it. Then she started to chase them without the barking. But soon, she found herself letting doggies through. And then she was running with some of them in herd play. And letting them sniff her. And doing all of the wonderful things that well socialized dogs should do. I think Celosa has made a world of difference in Crianza's interaction with other people and dogs.

Celosa, of course, has never met a stranger. She found four or five doggies and people who were her instant very best friends in the whole wide world. One of them--a grey fluffy thing a little smaller than her of indeterminate parentage--played with her for a good half-hour straight. At one point Crianza joined in their game (which was called "chase me as fast as you can"). She also shuffled into the pond a few times, ensuring that her fur would get (more) matted and every grain of sand and dirt she encountered would stick to her. We'd find her running all the way on the other side of the park, but she's pretty good about coming when she's called, so we never really worried much about her. At one point, we found her sitting on some person's (I think the pug owner) lap, telling her how much she loved her.

The dog park seemed to be full of puppies that day. Andre, a three month old white French bulldog was probably the most adorable. He was as friendly as Celosa, but didn't have much coordination. At one point he launched himself on my lap, demanding love. And then he did the same to Graham. And then to everyone else sitting on the embankment at the side of the park. The eight week old dauchsunds, of course, were terribly cute. As was a ten month old miniature pug, and an eight week old mixed breed doggie named Lobo.

The dog park we go to (on Westpark at the loop) is divided into big dog and little dog, and at the end of our adventure, we went over to the big dog side to see what was going on there and get a bit of a final walk in. The pond area seemed to be the most popular, but general tennis ball throwing came in a close second. Crianza didn't like being over there at all, and even Celosa was a little less outgoing than she usually is. Graham and I were glad that we can go to the little dog side, because we don't have to worry at all about our dogs (27 and 20ish pounds) getting hurt by someone getting a little too rough.

The doggies were tired when we got to PetCo to pick up some food and treats, and they were even more tired after I gave them baths. Celosa took 45 minutes, in part because she was so dirty, and in part because she's starting to cord hardcore. I'm trying to keep the matting under some semblance of control, but she's just wild hair right now. I can feel clumps of her fur, and it's easier to separate the cords when it's wet than when it's dry. Crianza's cords are so much easier to take care of. I intellectually know that I've been through this before, twice!, and both times I came through on the other side with beautifully corded pulik, but I'm looking forward to the puppy fur giving way to the easier adult fur.

On Sunday, the pooches were perfectly happy to stay in bed when Graham and I left them at ten thirty to go to church.

No, there has been no conversion. There's been no major mistake or typo. We were invited to our friend Johnathan's (born August 24th) baptism, and we had to make it to the 10:45 service at First Presbyrterian. Graham and I were bestowed a great honor at the ceremony; no, we weren't asked to be godparents. More importantly, we were asked to be the escorts of Johnathan's two year old brother Matthew, should chaos ensue during the ceremony. We had to sit through three childrens' choirs, a sermon on "Jesus as teacher" and a few other assorted prayers and rites before they got to the baptisms. Five kids were brought into the Christian faith, and I was actually a little curious as to how this would be different than the Catholic ceremonies I was more used to.

First of all, I don't ever recall going through a community mass (are they masses?) for baptism. I can only remember my sister Olivia's and my coustin Job's, but my mother confirmed that all four of us were done in private ceremonies with just the family and godparents around. We were all baptized in Pt. Arthur by the priest that gave my dad Spanish lessons when he was a kid. The other Catholics in attendance sort of confrimed my mom's recollection of events. Secondly, there were no godparents. Both parents and any other children were up on the alter with the baptism-ee, but there wasn't anyone else there to take up the slack if something should happen to the parents. I have a special bond with one of my dad's cousins, and all of my siblings have a similar bond with their godparents. Sort of strange that isn't part of this particular ceremony. Third, the parents picked out Bible verses for their kids, and read them aloud. I wasn't paying enough attention to remember which ones were chosen, but for Catholics, the priest runs the show, aside from asking a few questions of the parents. I joked that I'd probably be kicked out of the whole process by picking something from the Song of Solomon for my kid.

At any rate, lightning didn't strike, and all in all it was a fairly painless hour, and then we got to go to brunch at the Four Seasons. Matthew sat next to Graham, and they each approved of the other's love of bacon. Brunch was buffet style, so there were a few times when Graham and Matthew went out to see the sights in the main dining areas. They went off, they said, to go find girls. And someone called "Daddy." And cheerios and bread pudding. I ran into Johnathan in the bathroom getting a diaper change, and when he was done, I swept him out of his mama's arms. He's a good natured little one, and he seemed to handle being the center of attention rather well. Graham gave him some life lessons about "safety third" and how to hang lights and all the cool things he'll see at the ranch in a few weeks. Vivian, their four year old sister, sat at the other table, so we didn't get to hang out with her as much. She did tell Graham, though, that she missed him when I went over to dinner at her house a few weeks ago without him.

We don't have that many friends in town with small kids, so it's always fun to see these little ones. They seem to like both me and Graham quite a bit, and their parents have a nice, laid back parenting style that we would want to emulate with our own kids one day.

I think that day is probably going to be sooner rather than later.

*Interesting note: When texting directions to my sister only the words "next to where the Pink Pussycat used to be" were necessary. The Pink Pussycat was a strip club that used to advertise "27 beautiful girls and 1 ugly one". There used to be a one-armed stripper there, but I've heard that she's gone on to greener pastures. It's changed names to "the Diamond Club," but as far as I can tell, it's still a strip club.


( 1 comment — Say something )
Nov. 10th, 2009 02:03 pm (UTC)
Presbyterian baptisms almost always happen during regular service. Sponsors are optional -- sometimes they happen here in highly Catholic New England, but they're not part of the normal practice. MY favorite part of Presbyterian baptisms is when the entire congregation vows to help the parents and the children. I often think of that during word for children as I watch the chaos -- I've made promises personally to nearly all those small ones.

Good luck on the sooner than later. I watch with interest.
( 1 comment — Say something )