Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Santiago Adventure

Yesterday we took another trip into Santiago; this time to take the boys to the doctor. We had some Christmas money for the boys, so we decided to turn it into a "fun day." Well, the "fun" part we planned was indeed fun. The other part, not so much. Here's the summary, with pictures:

-Fun Part 1: Burger King
We left the house at 11 in the morning and drove just over an hour to Burger King. This is a big deal; we have no American fast food restaurants in Jarabacoa. Quite honestly, I don't miss them. But it was a fun treat. We ordered Jer a kid's meal and made sure to ask for a crown. After he enjoyed the hamburger, fries, and water, he played in the play place (no play parks in Jarabacoa either). We had a blast watching him play.
Hamburger and Fries!

Yumm... elephant teether


Loves the slide

-Fun Part 2: La Sirena, Ice Cream
Next, we drove to La Sirena (a large, super-walmart type store) for some ice cream (we had bikes being repaired in the bike shop across the street). After the ice cream he sat on each of the "ride" (pictured below). Unfortunately, they were not plugged in. He also played in a play place there. After this, we went out of the food court to choose some V-day gifts for the family and some a few small toys for the boys. Jeremiah chose a small toy motorcycle and a soccer book, and we bought a book for Timmy.
Of course, he wanted the blue ice cream

Driving with a (very scary looking) bird


And his very own boat!

Another slide!

-Not So Fun Part 1: By this time Jeremiah was getting tired, but we needed to buy a blender (the motor in ours just went out). The blender we had looked into when we were at La Sirena previously (1 week ago for our doctor visits) was sold out. As we tried to decide what blender to buy, Jeremiah began screeching again and again. He didn't want to read either of the books, or hold his bear. There was nothing to put in time-out, and he was already confined to the shopping cart. Tension mounted as we tried to decide on a blender with a shrieking child. Ugh. I went off to get some socks for Jer as Daniel took him down the stairs to the first level. Once down, we tried to buy some produce we needed. But Jeremiah continued to shriek. So we hurried to check-out and leave. And it was about 3:30 by this time and we realized we were running late.

-Not So Fun Part 2:
We picked up the bikes and headed toward the hospital. Meanwhile, multiple driver's notified us that our left front tire was flat. We arrived at the hospital at about 4:00 (the doctor doesn't get in until 3). By this time both boys were asleep in the car (praise the Lord!). While Daniel changed the tire, I hurried up to the 8th floor and put in the boy's names (doctors here don't make appointments) only to discover that the doctor had not yet arrived and 7 people had their names on the list before us. We hung out in the car for a while as the boys slept. Daniel went inside to retrieve my results while I worked on a logic problem in a puzzle book. Eventually Jeremiah woke up and Daniel returned. We decided to head on up to floor 8 to check the status. I waited with the boys in the large outside waiting area, while Daniel went into the office to ask. The secretary informed him that there were now 4 people in front of us. Okay, that sounded better. And yet we waited, and waited. And Jeremiah continued to shriek and go to time-out. Finally we found space in the doctor's office to wait (there are only 6 chairs inside the office) after we were told there were 2 people left in front of us. At one point I became suspicious that they were letting the mother's with tiny babies jump ahead in line. Time passed, a few people went in and out, and we again asked how many people were in front of us, and were again told two people. Eventually the hall was empty and Jeremiah (and other boys) could run up and down the hall. This cut down on the shrieking. After those next 2 people went, it was finally our turn at 7:00. After the appointment we bought some sandwiches the food bar and headed out at 8:00. Ugh. I was so ready to go home. And then we had a 1 hour+ trip back home.
It boggles my mind that doctors don't take appointments here. And so these little children wait 3 hours to see the doctor. Insanity! This reminds me why we normally go to the doctor here in Jarabacoa (though, I admit, the one in Santiago is much more on top of things). But, for a 3 hour wait? I'll save her for emergencies! (And if Jer didn't have such a bad rash that has been coming and going for over a year I wouldn't have waited).
And really, I have to admit that, considering he had to wait for 3 hours, Jeremiah did a good job for a 2 year old!

So, that was our day. And now I am very happy to be back in our little house in Jarabacoa. Any tips on what to do with a shrieking child?!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Dog aggression problems: HELP!

At this point, I don't think we have any other option than to get rid of Chiste. But let me back up a bit...
When we first brought Chiste into our lives, he was a rambunctious, happy little puppy. We wanted him to be an outdoor dog. he had lots of room to run around and play. After about half a year, we decided to let him into the house. And so he became an indoor/outdoor dog, and a bigger part of the family. When he was young, we made sure to teach him that he had to share with us. Nothing was so much his territory that he could nip at us if we grabbed it. At the same time, we tried to teach Jeremiah to stay away from Chiste when he was eating. Sometime Chiste would be a little agressive over his food, and nip or growl at Jeremiah (but this seldom actually hurt Jeremiah). This rarely happened with us, as Chiste knew we were dominant over him. We tried again and again to teach Chiste that Jeremiah had dominance over him as well, but this has been an ongoing problem.
Chiste still demonstrated fearful aggression over our house and yard. If friends came, he was fine. If strangers came, or people he decided he didn't like, he would bark like crazy, and usually run away. However, he seemed to get better. Many times he would let Jeremiah snuggle with him on his sleeping pad. And Jeremiah loved to play with him. Things were still up and down, but were good for the most part. One time, Chiste nipped at a girl visiting our house, which was the first time I noticed open aggression. But, though he was still scared of strangers, that didn't happen again.
And then we moved. And Chiste became more aggressive (barking at people more, scared of strangers). We understood that losing his territory can affect a dog. So we had patience with him and kept trying different techniques. We eventually bought a training collar and noticed great improvements. However, we still struggled to convince him that when we said "safe," that meant the person was safe (for some reason, he dislikes Dominicans no matter how many times we tell him they're safe). Because this yard has no fence, we have a dog runner for him, and try to walk him often. And he's been allowed in the house and porch (where we put up a fence). We have a doghouse for him outside, and he sleeps inside in the bathroom.
Lately, things seemed to be going much better. He was becoming more obedient, seemed happy, etc. (though still didn't like strangers). And then, something happened. I'm not sure what. But he's just recently decided he doesn't like Jeremiah. He's started to nip him more- and it actually leaves marks. And then, yesterday, he took two very aggressive nips at Jeremiah. Jeremiah is beginning to be afraid of him. The first time, Jeremiah was playing with a container of cat treats. The second time, he was standing by the fence. I thought maybe he was nervous because there were some students working in our yard. We tried to re-establish Jeremiah's authority (though it's hard when he doesn't take it himself). And then today I realized that anytime Jeremiah gets near Chiste, he growls at him. Later, Jeremiah was reaching near Chiste to grab some blocks (that belong to Jeremiah) and Chiste growled and bit him again. This realization did it for me- for some reason, Chiste does not like Jeremiah. He's happy, playful, and obedient around me and Daniel, but he's become very aggressive around Jeremiah. Now I admit, though we've tried to teach Jeremiah to be gentle with Chiste, he can sometimes be a little rough and annoying, but he's gotten so much better and I haven't noticed him doing much besides chasing Chiste (which I tell him to stop or he goes to time-out), or occasionally giving his car a push so it bumps him (again, he goes to time-out). But most dogs can handle this.
But apparently Chiste is the kind of dog that needs peace and quiet, and no annoying young kids. Which is a problem. Because we have two kids, and they come first! Unfortunately, I don't know what we can do with him. If we get rid of him, I have little hope he'll end up in a good home. But we can't keep him, because I refuse to endanger my children. And we can't make him an all out-door dog, since we have no yard and he'd just be on the runner all day. And I don't think he'd be very happy with that (not to mention he would bark constantly.
This is so hard, as Chiste has become a member of the family. But I guess he's just not a dog that can handle toddlers. So, anyone want a dog?

Monday, February 01, 2010

Timmy started solids!

My original plan was to wait until 6 months. That's the time that most babies have lost their tongue-thrust, their digestive system is more developed, they're sitting up, etc. And I certainly don't want to start him too early. However, the past few weeks I've noticed Timmy eying our food intensely as we eat. And he seems to be hungrier. And he tries to grab things off our plate. Last week I began to wonder if we should try him on solids early (he's 3 weeks shy of 6 months). Today tried to steal my bread and then attempted to throw himself into it (though he has poor aim). So, we decided to go ahead and try solids today, especially because we had some pumped milk in the fridge from the weekend that needed to be used. If he seemed ready, we'd continue. If not, we'd try again in a few weeks. So, I mixed a Tablespoon of rice cereal with about 4 tablespoons milk, and let him try that. He certainly seemed excited about it, and ate almost all of it. And most of it ended up in his mouth! Of course, Jeremiah was the most excited of all of us! We took some video and pictures that we'll share later...