It’s been a while, so I think it’s time for another Doodle MPB update.

Much to my surprise, after truly hitting my breaking point last month, she is still part of our family.

The biggest change has been that I’ve backed off on being the only adult in our house who is caring for Doodle MPB.  In fact, I’ve refused to keep doing solo walks with her, which is probably the biggest/only change.  (I still coordinate training sessions, vet appointments, prescription refills, but I generally do all that type of stuff for our household, so it’s not unexpected).

But, Mr. MPB has finally stepped up to work with her a bit more.  Honestly, I laid it all on the line for him because he wanted to keep her, and I wanted her gone.  I told him, he wasn’t doing anything to care for her, so it was my turn to do nothing.  I also told him that while he may choose to play with Little MPB rather then take the dog out for walks, it means that every single day I’m going for a walk while the two of them play.  Which means, every single day for almost an hour, I spend that time hating the dog and hating him, which is clearly not good for our family or our marriage.  Needless to say, he didn’t like hearing that, and he suggested trying family walks.

Which means one of our biggest changes is that 4-5 days a week, as a family, we go for a ‘hike with Doodle MPB’ (to quote Little MPB).  One adult keeps a close eye on Doodle MPB, the other adult keeps a close eye on Little MPB.  We have a few different off-leash areas that are not busy (I will not take my toddler to a busy off leash area with multiple dogs I don’t know).  This allow Doodle MPB the freedom she needs to run and Little MPB loves playing outside.  Doodle MPB does knock Little MPB over from time to time, and he cries, but he’s not actually hurt and he gets up and continues running around with her.

Mr. MPB is also helping a bit more with training.  And even asked that I schedule her next ttouch session for when he’ll be home so he can learn too.

Even though she is a high energy dog, I’ve backed off on demanding that she gets a walk every day, and try to realize that walks aren’t going to happen some days.

So, it’s a work in progress.  She’s still on a high dose of clomicalm, which our vet wants to try weaning her off, and I’m not ready to (at least not until after the busy holidays).  She still barks/whines when she doesn’t get what she wants, which is unbelievably annoying to both Mr. MPB and I.  But, there just doesn’t seem to be a good way to “fix” that problem.  She still thinks she’s part human and part kangaroo, which is less then desirable especially now that she’s mastered turning on our stove, but I do think/hope with more training and age she’ll get better at keeping 4 paws on the ground.

And to make matters worse, her and I were attacked by a dog at the dog park on the weekend. This pisses me off to no-end, because we were at what is considered a quiet and safe dog park.  And yet, there was a loose dog with no-owner around.  The loose dog already had blood on it’s fur presumably from another dog encounter.  Doodle MPB, who I truly don’t believe has a mean/aggressive bone in her body, tried to hide behind me, which put me in the line of the loose dog.  Thankfully, after being cornered by the loose dog, someone was able to come to my aid and get the loose dog on a leash.  Neither Doodle MPB or I were hurt, but I did end up calling the city and having to put in a police report.  So, while there is no physical injuries to either myself of Doodle MPB, I am very nervous of long term psychological impacts of Doodle MPB.  She was really good with other dogs, but now I’m not so sure and only time will tell.

Honestly I am still not confident that we can make this work. Getting a puppy with a 2 year old was a huge mistake, I still believe it’s the biggest mistakes of my life (I’m not kidding and/or exaggerating).

But, I do know I want my son to be raised with a dog and at this point we’ve put so much effort into Doodle MPB, that I kind of just hope we can survive until she’s 2.  Because at 2 she’ll just be a neurotic, unbalanced, crazy dog, which has to be better then a neurotic, unbalanced, crazy puppy.

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No More Naps?!?!

I am slightly petrified that we are about to say goodbye to our daily nap ritual.  Let me explain.

Little MPB is no longer sleeping well at night – he has pretty much always been a good sleeper, so we know something is up..  He used to sleep from 7pm to 6:30am.  A few months ago we switched his schedule to 7:30pm to 6:30am.

But, in the last few weeks, he’s no longer going to sleep at 7:30pm when it’s bed time.  Instead, every night he lies in bed awake, sometimes talking, playing with his teddies, reading books, crying, etc.  In fact, he’s no going to sleep as late as 9:30pm or even 10pm.

We’ve started to notice on days where he has a good nap (i.e. 1.5 to 2 hours), he does not sleep at night.  As in, he just will not go to sleep.  And on the opposite side of that, when he has a bad nap (i.e. 30 minutes), he goes to sleep at night much easier.

And, when he has a short nap on weekends, it’s not like he’s overly grouchy in the afternoon.  He’s still pretty much his typical 2.5 year old self.

So, I decided to google “when do kids stop napping?”.  I learned that:

“By age 2, most toddlers have given up their morning nap but still need an afternoon snooze to see them through the day. About a quarter of kids stop napping altogether by the age of 3, another half between ages of 3 and 4, with the final quarter continuing to nap until they’re 5 or 6.”

– Baby Centre (source)

Then I decided to ask friends.  I was told “my almost 6 year old still needs a nap!”  I was also told “our oldest had naps until 4.5.  our youngest was done napping by 3”.  So anecdotally, this quote above seems to be fairly accurate.  And, let’s be honest, if there is anything I’ve learned as a part thus far, all kids are different, so hearing that some kids stop napping by 3 and some by 6, just seems to make sense.

So, we decided to talk to daycare about his nap schedule.  It turns out, in the last month he’s become a horrible sleeper there too.  We get a daily report and we’ve been able to see that his typical 1.5-2 hour nap is not happening any more, some days it’s 45 minutes and other days it’s 2 hours.  But, we also learned that he is a light sleeper who wakes up to even the quietest little sounds.  And, during nap time he prefers to talk to himself, and try to wake up his sleeping friends.  To try to let his toddler friends have better naps, they’ve actually had to move his bed over to the pre-school area, where the bigger kids don’t nap as long.

All of this reminds me of 2 years ago, when he dropped his second nap and started only napping once a day.  And so, I suspect we will see his nap vanish in the next month or so.

The plan with daycare is to try letting him sleep for a maximum of 1 hour during the day.  And, if that doesn’t result in an improved overall night-time sleep, then we’ll drop it to 30 minutes.  And from there, we’ll drop his nap entirely.  And on weekends, we’ll do the same thing.

Truthfully, part of me is dreading no weekend naps – that’s my 2 hours to get stuff done!  But, part of me is also very excited to no longer have a mandatory mid-day break. And another part of me is totally okay with dropping the nap, so long as the bedtime routine go back to evening stories and sleep in relatively short-order.

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