By: Shannon Ralph
A friend of mine recently let me borrow The Hunger Games trilogy. I had heard they were good books and had been wanting to read them for a while. So this afternoon, I turned on cartoons for the kids and made myself a nice, comfy spot on the couch. I settled myself in, cozily lying on no less than four pillows, covered up with a tie-dyed fleece Snuggie, with a forty-pound boxer nestled into my crotch. I picked up the first book and began to read.
Four hours later —yes, you read that correctly— my children were still watching cartoons and I found myself halfway finished with the first book. For four solid hours, I completely neglected my children. I let them build all sorts of blanket and pillow contraptions on my living room floor. I let them eat whatever my oldest son could climb high enough to reach in the cupboards. I let their innocent little eyes glaze over as they watched episode after episode of Hello Kitty and X-Men. I didn’t care. My mind was miles away. Years into the future, contemplating the predicament of Katniss and her cohorts in the Hunger Games.
Finally, at six o’clock, I was dragged from my literary revelry by my son’s alarmed voice coming from the hallway.
“Stella is chewing something up!” Nicholas exclaimed. Stella is our dog.
“Well, take it away from her,” I responded.
“But I don’t know what it is,” Nicholas said.
Slightly annoyed at the interruption, I said, “So? Take it away from her anyway.”
Nicholas was adamant that he did not want to touch whatever it was Stella was chewing. I had two options. Let Stella consume the unknown object, risking the possibility it was something that could lodge in her intestines and consequently cost me hundreds of dollars in vet bills and my puppy undue pain and suffering, OR remove myself from my cozy space on the couch and take the object away from the dog, thereby negating pain and suffering to both the dog and my checkbook. I debated for longer than a decent human being really should. Eventually, however, I rolled myself (literally and unattractively) off of the couch and away from my pillowy perch.
As I caught sight of Stella in the hallway, Nicholas was squatted next to her frowning. “What is that Momma?”
Initially, it looked like Stella had found a Kleenex and was busy shredding it all over my carpet. Exasperated, I turned on Nicholas. “It’s a Kleenex Nicholas. Why couldn’t you take it away from her?”
“I don’t think it’s a Kleenex, Mom,” he responded as he pointed at the white pile of shreds on my carpet.
I squatted down for a closer look. Nicholas was correct. It was not a Kleenex Stella was eating. Rather, she had found her way to the bathroom trash can and had pulled out a used maxipad. That’s right, my dear dog was covering my hall carpet with the remnants of Ruanita’s discarded pad. I cleaned up the mess. Vacuumed up the soiled cotton while Nicholas watched and repeatedly asked me, “What was that, Mom?” Not feeling up to explaining the mechanics of the female menstrual cycle to my five-year-old son at that moment, I muttered, “A bandage, Nicky. It was a bandage.” He gave me one of his infamous “what the hell?” looks, but decided it was better just to walk away. Good boy.
Note to self: Purchase your dog some new chew toys posthaste, lest she continue to blind all of Sophie’s stuffed animals by chewing their eyes out. And eating the tiny frogs in the back yard, to your children’s great displeasure and repulsion. And now, apparently, feasting on sanitary napkins.
The ickiness factor in my house knows no bounds.