beastlet


I hate searching for a new job. It’s usually fun for the first day or so, as the seemingly endless possibilities begin to stream in. But after a week or so, it becomes tedious. And after a month, the search itself seems endless.

In my ads and profiles, I try to be as specific as possible, in an effort to weed out the families who won’t be a fit for logistical reasons. I make it clear that I am interested only in full-time, live-out, long-term positions. I specify the areas I’m willing to work in (based on commute). I make it clear that my primary area of experience and interest is infant, toddler and preschooler development. And I describe the types of outings I plan on a regular basis, attempting to scare off parents who plan to keep their nanny on house arrest.

And yet, for reasons that are still unclear to me, this does little to filter the emails that flood my inbox. If I had a dollar for every email that asked me to consider a two-hour commute for a part-time position with two preteens…well, I might not have enough money to quit working altogether, but I could certainly take JP out for a nice dinner. I really don’t understand why parents waste their time emailing someone who so clearly is not a likely candidate for their position.

So I spend an hour or so per day reading and responding to these emails with something that begins, “Thank you for your interest. Unfortunately…”

For those emails that actually do fall within my basic parameters, I then send the parents my resume and online portfolio, which contains more extensive information about my education, experience and childcare philosophies. In exchange, I ask them to answer a list of questions about their family and the position they are offering. This eliminates half the potential families. They are disqualified for reasons ranging from refusing to pay employment taxes to expecting their nanny to be a housekeeper as well as a nanny.

Then comes the phone interviews, in which I repeat the same information about my background and experience a thousand times, even though most of the questions I’m asked could be answered by reading the materials I provided (resume and portfolio). Although the phone interviews are a crucial step — they help me narrow the field even further, to the families I’m willing to meet in person — they are also time consuming and tedious.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Last weekend, during one of my countless phone interviews, I was standing on the balcony outlining my discipline style, when the ball of fluff who had been laying at my feet, stood up, crouched, and then rocketed out across the porch, cannonballing into a makeshift pool. The pool was actually a canvas chair filled with rainwater, but watching the beastlet, you’d have thought it was a five-star water park. She swam, she rolled, she flipped, she leapt. I’ve never seen anything like the acrobatics she put on display. And when she’d had her fill of swimming, she ran laps around the balcony, her wet feet failing to find purchase on the tile. It took every ounce of discipline I had to refrain from laughing as I watched her careen into the wall, only to get up, shake it off, and take off again.

I think her performance may be the best part of this job search so far.

This morning, we took Beastlet in for another round of shots. This is her fourth round, and the others went perfectly, so we didn’t think anything of it. The doctor gave us the standard lists of reaction signs to look for in the next couple of hours — swollen face, labored breathing, hives, etc. — and we nodded dutifully, never imagining we’d see any of them.

After her appointment, we brought her home and spent a couple hours playing with her and watching her. We went for a long walk, played fetch, etc. After that, she was pretty tired, so we put her in her crate for a nap and ran out to get lunch. An hour later, we got home and she was still sleeping. When JP opened her crate and woke her up to take her outside to go potty, her first reaction was, “She looks funny.” Her second reaction was, “Oh my god! Oh my god! She’s so swollen! Call the doctor! Call the doctor!”

We didn’t bother to call, we just ran straight to the car and floored it. Let me tell you, I’ve never been so glad that our vet is a mere five minutes away. (Though I have to admit, it felt more like five hours on the way there.) JP was absolutely inconsolable, and Delilah’s face was so swollen she was unrecognizable. Her face was probably close to three times the size it should have been.

We rushed inside the vet and held her up so the receptionist, who was on the phone, could see her. Never one to avoid stating the obvious, I piped up with, “She’s having an allergic reaction!” The receptionists eyes widend in shock for just a second before immediately ending the call, snatching her from my hands and disappearing into the back. She came back ten minutes later and told us that Beastlet was stable and the doctor was hooking her up to an IV. (The shrieks coming from the back room corroborated her story.) She also told us that when she approached the doctor, who was with another patient at the time, the doctor took one look at Beastlet, grabbed her and ran. Not exactly comforting. What felt like twelve hours later — but was probably more like twenty minutes — the doctor appeared and assured us that Beastlet was fine. She also told us that she might have partial hearing loss due to Beastlet’s protests. They had to restrain her to get the IV in, and once it was in, she was still pissed and screeching.

They pumped her full of intravenous benadryl and steroids (awesome — that beotch is crazy enough without adding ‘roid rage to her repertoire) and kept her for five hours for observation. We picked her up just before they closed for the evening, and she’s been home for two hours now. She’ll be getting benadryl orally for the next three days, but otherwise she’s mostly back to her old self. Her face still looks a little swollen, but nothing like it did this morning. And it’s definitely not slowing her down — she doesn’t hesitate to whoop Winston if he gets out of line.

We’re just thankful that she’s okay and home with us again. We’re relieved, but also nervous about a relapse. I doubt I’ll get much sleep tonight. Still, a sleepless night is a small price to pay for the love of this little beast.

A few weeks back, Kathy asked if I could post a photo of Beastie and Beastlet together so she could see their comparative size. What a brilliant idea! Only, every time I tried to take a photo of them together, it turned out like this:

Or this:

Because Beaslet is EVIL. She just can’t stand near Beastie without chasing or attacking him. For now, he can still outrun her. Heaven help us when she is big enough to catch him. Luckily she is a cute little devil. And I have to admit, I think Beastie secretly likes her. Note the fact that his tail is up in these photos. Mr. Submissive is quick to tuck his tail when he’s scared, so this running and chasing thing…it looks suspiciously like playing. Just don’t tell Beastie we’re on to him.

I did manage to get one semi-clear shot of them together.

Don’t let this pastoral scene fool you. Two seconds after the shutter clicked, Beastlet jumped on Beastie’s head and had to be physically removed. Evil, I tell you. Evil.

It’s amazing how fast this little devil angel is growing. Sometimes I swear I can SEE it happening. The sweater she’s wearing in these photos is one we bought the weekend we adopted her. She was so cold that we were desperate to keep her warm. Unfortunately, this extra-small sweater was no help. It was so big on her that we couldn’t keep it on. It fit more like a sleeping bag than a sweater, and a simple twist and squirm was enough to free her from its constraints.

Only a few weeks later, it fits like a glove. We put it on her this weekend, and were shocked to realize this would probably be the last time she would be able to wear it.

Of course, that sad realization led to a photo shoot, because it’s bad enough that she outgrew the tiny sweater I made for her before I had a chance to take photos of her wearing it. I didn’t want to look back in a few weeks and realize we missed our chance with this baby sweater too. I wish we had a photo of her swimming in it for comparison’s sake.

Beastie stood by sadly as we took photos. There is not much he loves more than playing dress up and photo shoots. When Beastlet lost interest, we peeled her out of the sweater and set her free. Beastie edged over immediately and snapped up the sweater, dashing around with his prize. He brought it straight to me, begging for his turn. At first, we laughed. Because seriously? Not going to fit.

But then I had a brilliant idea. An awful, brilliant idea.

1.1 lbs.

That is how much weight the Beastlet has gained in the last eight days. That may not seem like much to someone whose weight is in the triple digits, but when your starting weight is 2.8lbs, that means you packed on nearly 50% of your body weight in a single week!

Of course, what more would you expect from someone who spends all her free time either eating or on the computer?

Meet the Beastlet (a miniature version of the Beastie)…

When the breeder called yesterday to say that the puppy had had her shots and was ready to go whenever we were ready to pick her up, there was no question of waiting until Saturday. I had the day off work and JP was able to take the day off, so away we went to the mountains of North Georgia, the land that time forgot, where the view is spectacular and the towns are a little creepy. (How many Jesus signs does one town need? I’m just saying…)

Once we saw her in person, we were even more in love. She is so tiny and adorable. Even though at full grown she’ll be much smaller than Winston, she’s actually already bigger than he was when I brought him home. She was one of the biggest of her litter and the breeder said she has been eating like a horse and bossing around all of her siblings. Not exactly a delicate little flower, that one. Of course, that hasn’t stopped us (okay, me) from dolling her up in a sparkly pink collar and carrying her around in a purse.

JP is off for the rest of week, so Lilah will have someone home with her to help her get accustomed to her new surroundings. So far she is settling in pretty well. All she does so far is eat, sleep and poop. Luckily, she’s already good at crying when she needs to go out and almost all of her pottying has been done outside. Unfortunately we are not so lucky when it comes to her sleep schedule. She slept all day yesterday and then spent all night crying. I think we got a grand total of two hours sleep. Let me tell you, I was not pleased when my alarm went off at 4:15 this morning.

The hardest part for me so far has not been the lack of sleep though, it’s watching the Beastie react. Although I’m sure he will warm up to her, right now he is absolutely miserable. He’s terrified of her (I know, he’s a freak) and will not even LOOK at her. The ride home from the breeder went a lot like this:

At home, he spent most of his time upstairs in bed, avoiding all of us. When he does come down, he lurks on the edges of the room, never getting very close. We’ve been trying to spend time with him one-on-one and give him lots of treats. That seems to help. He doesn’t seem mad at us, he’s just skittish and nervous. I think the only remedy is time. Once he figures out that she is not dangerous, hopefully he’ll come around.