There were definite moments throughout the day yesterday that were clearly just taking the piss.
I had not long returned home from the vet when the kids went mental. The vet had pretty much told me that it was quite possible the dog might die that day. Her thinking was that if I left him with them they would just keep him in a cage and give him fluids. Which is pretty lonely for a dog that isn't doing well and might not come home. So she said if I could get him to eat ice chips to go ahead so go spend time with him and to just drive back any time if he seems to be doing poorly or in pain. I understood the logic behind that. Seems more humane than taking a sad sick animal away from familiarity and plonking him in weird box with people he doesn't know poking at him. And I made it clear to the vet to be as honest as possible - I'm very very pragmatic about this sort of thing so go for it.
To be clear here - he is my wife's dog. When I left the US ahead of her to go back to the UK years back she was very glad for his company those six months. So I wanted my wife and him to spend some time together if he was going to die. I hadn't even called her yet to tell her that he couldn't move. Add it seemed weird to think I would drop him off at the vet, tell my daughter on the drive home - and right before school - that she might not see the dog again and then call my wife and tell her the same thing. If he needed to be put down right then I would have. But if he wasn't hurting I'd take him home and deal with that later if needs be. So after I got him home I plonked him on the couch told the kids to not jump on him or anything. Twenty minutes until my daughter goes to school. Made it in time.
At which point my kids went bonkers. My daughter was ridiculously pleased with herself for having good teeth. She seemed to think she'd won some sort of competition. Which is weird because when she's in a competition of any kind she's the same level of pleased for whoever else may have actually won. She decided to celebrate this victory by chasing her brother around the house with a flashlight.
They ran around and around like coke-fueled whippets until the inevitable crashing into something pointy. Right after my son almost impaled himself on his own push-cart toy my daughter ran off to hide. She was fleeing the scene because she assumed that she held some responsibility for her brother being nearly decapitated. Which meant she had to leave my line of sight so tried to jump directly into a deep tote box like Jason Bourne. Which she got horribly wrong and ended up landing with it between her legs. Cue genuine howling of pain and exclamations of, "I'VE BASHED MY BITS!!!!!"
So I tried to then comfort her over that and explain that yes, it does still hurt because she'd just whacked her whoopsie quite hard indeed - and will hurt for a little bit after now as well. My son chose that moment to wander off and try to figure out why - after all these years - there was a bowl of water in the living room. I'd put it in there for the dog so he wouldn't have to walk all the way out to the dining room. I didn't notice that until I deciphered my daughter's blubbing of, "Owen has a bowl of water Daddy." My wife called at this point to find out how the dentist went. I was trying to quickly explain the dog situation when her work phone rang at her end and I saw my son deliberately pour the bowl of water down the hot air vent in the living room floor. Quick hang up. Thankfully the heating ducts are a good thirty feet and two twists away from the furnace so I dried up what I could reach and cranked the heat up to shove the remaining moisture back to us to evaporate off.
During which my daughter began screaming in anguish because she couldn't get out of the downstairs bathroom. Because she'd locked it from the inside. The little knob-thing is easy to turn to lock, but the reverse twist is apparently too Crystal Maze for her. So I went to help her with that. I can assure you all that I now completely understand the complexity and need for calm that traffic controllers must have when telling a passenger how to land a plane after the pilot has died. That about 60 seconds to explain - which is way too long for someone who completely understands how those stupid locks work because she uses them all the time.
After releasing my daughter from her Terry Waite style hell I wandered back into the living room to find that my son had suffered a, "brown-cident." As I was not around to whisk him off to the toilet at the first stirring of it he;d released it already. But he'd also felt a little plucky and tried to take his pants down. Now he was either trying to save time, have a go at cleaning himself or had figured that while he waited for me he'd make some bottom-print-poo artwork on the rug. But he'd misjudged the form and consistency of his own fudge, and pant-removal abilities. Thereby smearing it up and down his legs and all over his hands. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that shortly after I was also covered in the aforementioned monkey fudge.
After a damn good wash and a change of clothes for both of us my daughter yelled up stairs that, "someone" had spilled a drink. Not a terrible crisis - the dog will clean it up if it's on a hard surfaced floor. Wait - no he won't. He can't move. Crap - I bet it's on the couch. Thank goodness that water-proof cover is on there. So I called down to my daughter and told her not to try cleaning it up and that I'd get it. When I got downstairs she helpfully showed me how a glass of milk had been spilled under the laptop making it look like it was actually floating. There was also a little on the keyboard. Feck. Oh look - it's also 12.15 which is about the time the bus shows up. Thankfully my daughter had noticed the clock (she can't tell time but she does know what some times mean) and put her shoes and coat on already. So I held the Off button to turn off the computer quickly, tipped it on it's side on a tea towel and chucked a diaper cloth at the milk.
We made it outside in time (just). My daughter zoomed off and my son hurried inside to have his big mammoth train-playing session. I cleaned up the computer desk and chucked out the milk-sodden papers on the desk, waited for the laptop to dry off and hand-fed ice chips to the dog. The rest of the afternoon was fairly tame after that. The dog lay around all day looking frail and sick and my son snotted on everything.
This morning the dog seems much better. He was all stiff and a touch wobbly when I set him down out the front door. But then he immediately chased a squirrel way out into the back garden. So he's got his mobility and energy back up a good ways. Frankly I'm beginning to think he's been faking the whole thing. The best way to convince these cursed squirrels that they should let their guard down is to have them see that even we don't think he will chase them. It's the perfect act. Except he went all Daniel Day Lewis and actually got very sick to make it more authentic. And he won't learn from this. If I left a bag of chocolate on the table he'd eat that all up as well. I know this because bread makes his stomach iffy and he' still eat that. And each October the walnuts outside are so profligate that I can't pick them all up before he starts gnawing on them. And he gnaws on them until he violently pukes everywhere. Frankly he's daft. But he's not dying.
Which is nice.