Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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Put Your Penis Away!

My least favorite hours of the day are between 7:30 and 9:30 in the morning. They are filled with unrelenting parenting of the highest order. Serge has the early morning (six to eight) hours while I try and get a bit of writing done and then, somewhere towards the end of his "shift", I take over getting both children ready so we can get Violet to pre-school by nine o'clock, which is when "Circle Time" begins.

Dressing Violet is, at best, like trying to put clothes on a dead person because she won't lift even a foot to aid me in my sweaty, ass-hanging-out-of-my-stretch-pants endeavors or, at worst, like trying to put clothes on a feral cat. Dressing Henry is never a surprise. It's always like trying to put clothes on a feral cat. Have you ever tried to put a shoe on a wild cat? Exactly. But at least he's consistent.

And then the loading of the car begins. Violet - check, backpack - check, Henry - check, sippy cup loaded with milk - check, binky - check, stash of Goldfish just in case - check, Violet wants her book - check, oh shit it's swimming day I forgot her swimsuit - check, dammit where are the keys - check. Every morning. We haven't even pulled out of the driveway yet and I'm already a greasy, exhausted mess. Add to that the 25 minute drive to pre-school, unloading both kids from the car, walking up the stairs to drop off Violet at her class while herding the wandering Henry along, walking back down with Henry, who inevitably wants to stay and play with "the keeeds, the keeeds!" loading him back into the car and then spending the 25 minute car ride home doing the ol' reach around, which involves me steering with my left hand, keeping my eyes on the road while desperately groping around the backseat floor for his sippy cup or whatever toy he's screaming for. C'mon, butterfingers! Hang onto the damn toy for more than 30 seconds, couldja?

For some reason I have recently decided to up the ante and multiply the stress level by a thousand. Because I'm insane, I guess, or because Cesar Milan A.K.A. The Dog Whisperer is just that convincing. Violet has been obsessed with The Dog Whisperer for a few weeks now which has led to my own renewed obsession. Serge too! Several times, while writing for Babble, I've heard Violet request a viewing only to walk in the playroom forty-five minutes later to find both kids reading books while Serge is on the edge of his seat, completely engrossed in Cesar's latest rehabilitation triumph.

So I got confident, cocky, some skeptics (SERGE) might even say, that I could cure our little Milo of his crazy-ass car behavior. Remember that? When I told you that we call Milo "Crazy Train" in honor of Ozzy's song of the same name? Because Milo is unable to contain himself while in a moving vehicle. He just cannot get his shit together. Acts like a Bieber fan (Belieber?) about to meet the little guy himself. He gets so excited to be going somewhere, anywhere, he just loses his shit. Here, let me remind you:

Um... yeeaaah. Little dude just cannot maintain. To the point that we stopped taking him in the car altogether because each trip was as stressful as transporting a violent, spitting, frothing prison inmate on death row with a desire to jump out of the moving vehicle and nothing to loose. You see where this is going, right? Episode after episode of The Dog Whisperer inspired me to revisit Milo's problem. It's always bothered me that we don't take the dogs anywhere and on the few occasions we do Milo ruins everyone's day. Once upon a time, before Milo's existence ruined his life, Max was a big time car guy. Loved it.

Max and his old pal Spliffy.

I have no such photos of Milo. He came along and ruined our good time car vibe faster than your drunk Uncle Joe can bum out a family dinner by shouting so vehemently about how the world needs to see President Obama's birth certificate that flecks of mashed potato land in your hair.

So we stopped taking the dogs in the car because it sucked so hard. Milo would bark, Serge, channeling every dad in the history of the universe, would yell at Milo to Shut up young man or I'll turn this car around so help me... I would yell at Serge that Milo can't understand what the hell you're saying so stop yelling, you're making it worse! We'd yell at each other, everyone would cry and we'd go home and flounce around not speaking to each other or Milo for several hours.

Max got the rawest deal of all. Because we didn't want to take him and leave poor, confused Milo home alone neither dog goes anywhere, except on special hiking trips which end up being stressful because Milo is banging around the cargo area, barking and spitting like a - well, you saw the video. Every now and again I'll try and sneak out the door with Max for a quickie, a little open window time for the ol' boy as I run errands, but Milo has a sixth sense for doors opening. He could be asleep in a locked room with a fan and a TV blaring but you try and tiptoe out a door and he rockets down the stairs like his ass is on fire.

So yeah, I drank The Dog Whisperer kool-aid and figured I could cure the maniac with a trademark SSSSSHHHT here and a SSSHHHHHT there and maybe a couple Cesar-approved rib jabs. I also sussed out that, maybe, because we got Milo around the same time Violet was born and, out of fear for her safety from his wildly flailing paws, ended up only taking the dogs in the car when going on hikes, maybe he always associates car time with hiking time, which makes him very excited (trust me, the telltale boner that could rival a Viagara-popping porn star's business is evident every time). But Max grew up riding in the car with me running errands and all sorts of stuff. I assume is why he's so mellow in the car - because he understands that a ride is sometimes just a ride and not a gateway to dog party time. I did some further Dog Whispering deduction to come to the conclusion that if I bit the barking bullet for a few weeks and started taking Milo everywhere in the car he'd stop associating the car with fun dog time and just get used to it and please for the love of Dog, mellow the fuck out! You follow me here?

So each morning of the last two weeks has been filled not only with the usual parenting drama, but my sad-ass, little Cesar attempts. Whereas Max rides in the cargo area behind the kids' car seats, Milo sits next to me in the passenger seat where I can poke him in the ribs to show him who the real Alpha Dog is in this family... And it seems to be working!

I wonder if Serge would also recognize my Alpha Dog authority if I start poking him in the ribs?

Milo has mostly stopped barking but all one-hundred plus pounds of him shivers anxiously. High-pitched whines periodically shriek out of his body like steam from a train. It just happens, I don't even think he knows he's whining or why, he just has to release the tension somehow.

I judge my success by the size of his boner. Big boner = way too excited and a leap through the windshield at any moment. I've even told him to put his penis away, a line that, unfortunately, Serge has heard on more than one occasion. But yesterday, after nearly two weeks of the worst car rides of my life, like the closing of a tube of lipstick, the red rocket was nearly gone. Boner-free. And all was peaceful.

Take that, Cesar.

Reader Comments (13)

Our Whippet was always like this. Where as our old boy, who is a Staffie, has always been fine.
Our Whippet called Spyda would almost pee herself with excitement and nerves through every car journey until we just stopped taking her in the car.
So my husband likes to go for long walks, this one day he left later than normal, but like normal with Spyda (it was going to be a long walk and our Staffie was 14 at the time), and ended up 20 miles away, by the time he got there it was getting late, and he knew he wouldn't be home before dark. So he rang me to come pick them up. Of course I went. G and I were both rather apprehensive about the journey home, but Spyda, was so pleased to see me (and the car) she jumped in, lay down and was as good as gold.
I wouldn't recommend trying to walk your dogs legs off, in the hope that he is so knackered that he doesn't want to walk any further and is so relieved to be in a car he turns into the perfect passenger - and I did tell G of for walking her so far, I mean Whippets aren't the most sturdy looking dogs - but it worked and she has been as good as gold ever since.

September 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersaffron

I keep reading this line over and over and chuckling: "High-pitched whines periodically shriek out of his body like steam from a train." Our lab does that, too. And the shuddering. Not all the time, but when he gets super amped up. I really don't think they realize they're doing it, either. Anyway, glad this has been working for you. For Max's sake, at the very least.

September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

When I try to watch the video it says it's blocked by SME and The Harry Fox Agency Inc. because of copyrights. What in the world?? I want to see it!

September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCassie

For some reason the video is being blocked by one Harry Fox Inc. I do, however, remember your taking the dogs to the park and this one going wild with excitment the entire trio. What a great intervention. Glad it seems to be settling him down. My sister has a Staffordshire Terrier.(pitbull) with the head the size of a cow. Deaf as a door nail with the loudest high pitch whine usually employed when placed in her area (,separated from people) or needing to use the facilities ( outside). Tha dog is over a hundred pounds of muscle and behaves like a puppy. I wonder if Cesar deals with deaf dogs....hmmm

September 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergina

Cassie, I'm having the same problem. I want to see it too!

September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanet

About the video - bizarre! It's working for me so I have no idea other than Ozzy got all worked up that I used his song??

September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTheGirlWho

That's funny! My kids' names are Max and Miles. Miles was almost Milo. ;). I've got three pugs and I need Cesar effing Milan to move in.

September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMod Mom Beyond IndieDom

The video doesn't work for me either...bummer! But love the post...hilarious!

September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHanni

Laughing my ass off - if you're like me you'll continue for another 5 years in the same manner before listening to the advice of annoying organized moms (like me apparently) and get stuff ready the night before. I now make my 10 year old pick out her clothes the night before and have her backpack ready to go with her brothers preschool crap at the front door too. REALLY helps keeps my scary morning mommy persona at bay...

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMartha

this entire post was pure comedy gold. i laughed my ass off! thanks!

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteranother monica

HAHAHAHAHA! Our dogs do the exact same thing and their lipstick is always out. So funny. I laughed out loud several times while reading this.

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDarby

I hear ya! And congrats on getting the doggie lipstick to disappear! Grosses me out when my dog does that.

September 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

WTG on the dog training! Here's a comment about toddler training tho - Violet is old enough to know that it's time to get dressed. If she is not willing to cooperate she should go to school without her clothes. My girls each made this choice exactly one time at around age 3 and after that they were much happier to cooperate in the morning.

September 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

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