I have acquired a shadow in the shape of a puppy. Yep, that’s three kids and three dogs. I said that this is absolutely the last dog we will ever have, but after a lifetime of living with dogs I know that won’t be the case. I was the kid that brought home all the stray and injured critters. I am smitten with this little bundle of squirming, snuffles, and snuggles.
Middle son has wanted a pug ever since he saw the movie Men in Black when he was three years old. He was so impressed by MIB that he wore only black clothes, complete with sunglasses. He said that Will Smith was his brother (same surname). When I pointed out that Will Smith has dark skin, my boy promptly told me “I’m black!”, despite his curly blonde hair and porcelain white skin. Well, I don’t know if this child would pass the marshmallow test, but for seven years he has said that he “needs” a pug. So to reward him for his patience and persistence, we got him a pug.
After two weeks of pug ownership, I am impressed. These dogs are smart and so giving. She follows me everywhere, is constantly at my feet. You would think that adding a third dog would increase the chaos but her loving and calm presence has had the opposite effect. When she is hungry she sits in the kitchen and waits. She greets everyone with abundant happiness.
With the heat this week, the boys have waited until 6pm to go outside to play. The Spanish have the right idea – rest in the middle of the day when it’s too hot to move. Play ’til late in the night and eat a late meal. School holidays make this possible at the moment. The downside of this is the mosquitoes. Youngest son got over thirty bites on just one area of his leg. He must have missed that spot with the mosquito repellant. The very best thing we have found to soothe mosquito bites is Rowo sports gel. It is made in Germany, contains peppermint oil, arnica, chamomile, echinacea and witch hazel, and takes the heat and swelling out straight away.
Our conversations this week have turned to bushfires because consistent temperatures of 40 degrees celsius always lead to looking at the horizon and being alert to the smell of smoke. The last bushfire was in 2001. The leaf litter is thick on the ground, perfect conditions for fuelling a fire. My husband says we should stay and fight to save our home and help our neighbours. It was too scary last time, where we packed our four month old son off to stay with friends on Boxing Day while we waited for the fire to come. The fire was stopped at neighbours’ houses across the road. Now we have three kids and three dogs and I am not keen to stay should a fire head our way because the next one threatens to be bad. In the mountains, it’s a matter of when not if.
As we wait to see what the weather and fate brings us, we have books to read. We are not the sort of family that enjoys shopping centres, but after Christmas we always plan a trip to the Dymocks book store to spend all of the birthday gift cards and end-of-year prizes from school. With pug placed in the loving care of the grandparents for the afternoon, the boys gleefully scoured the shelves for the latest adventures and they were not disappointed. There was Skullduggery Pleasant, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Heroes of Olympus, Percy Jackson, Brotherband, and one we have not seen before, The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica. Artemis Fowl is also a firm favourite. So many choices for boys these days. For the lego-loving but not-as-keen-on-reading child, there was the Lego Ninjago Masters of Spinjitsu Character Encyclopaedia.
And as it’s summer, no Australian childhood is complete without water slides and Sunny Boys.