Monday, July 06, 2009

Our "Exciting" Fourth

We spent the weekend up at my in-laws with all four of the Lyon siblings who are in Utah. (The other two are on opposite coasts, alas.)

I cannot explain how much more enjoyable these kinds of visits are to me now that my kid are older. On my side of the family, there are several older grand kids, and I remember chasing my toddlers and walking the floor to comfort babies or having to leave the grown-up table conversation to deal with an owie or just nurse a baby or whatever and being so jealous of my sister-in-law, whose boys were old enough to just run off and play. I couldn't wait for the day I could do that.

Well, MY kids are the oldest grandchildren on the Lyon side. A few years ago, I was on the opposite side of the table. Several grown-ups were playing a board game, and every few minutes, a mom or dad jumped up to take care of a toddler or baby crisis. But I was never one of them. I got to sit and smile as I watched them. My kids were older now and happily playing amongst themselves. Even better, I wasn't pregnant in the heat of the summer.

A new stage of parenthood. Aaaaaaah!

So these kinds of trips really are enjoyable to me now. They aren't the WORK they used to entail.

Grandma Lyon went to a lot of effort to create some fun activities for the grand kids: quite a feat when you realize that they range in age from about a year and a half to about 14. There was swimming and water balloon fights and a treasure hunt and more.

During the treasure hunt portion, the kids were still sporting swimsuits.

And here's where it got "exciting." The neighbors to the west (relatively new to my in-laws, as they've moved into this house within the last year) have two large dogs: a black lab and a massive brown mastiff.

The two dogs, who were obviously not leashed, jumped the pathetic excuse for a fence and decided to "play" with my son (remember, he was wearing nothing but swim trunks). Fortunately, there wasn't any majorly broken skin, but across the back of his torso, my son ended up with several deep claw marks and two or three areas that are clearly bruises from dog teeth.

And now he's (understandably) freaked out about dogs.

The owners swear their dogs are up-to-date on their shots, but we aren't taking their word for it. We made some calls. The mastiff is in a kennel until we know for sure. (I don't think there's a real problem, since the wounds aren't deep enough for something like rabies to be an issue, but the owners deserve losing their dog even temporarily.)

Turns out they were doubly cited: first for not keeping their dogs leashed, but second because the mastiff wasn't licensed. I laughed with a cackle only mothers can appreciate.

My son's had a couple of scary run-ins with dogs, so he's developed a bit of a phobia. Not a cool thing. But the thing that ticked me off the most about the situation is that what if the dogs had decided to "play" with some of the younger cousins, like my youngest (who is 6) or worse, the one who is a year and a half old? We could be talking an ER visit here.

I was THRILLED that the neighbors were cited twice. The idiots.

Moving onto a lighter note . . .

That night we watched fireworks from two different cities from the comfort of the backyard (knowing we were safe because the lab was leashed and the mastiff was kenneled). We didn't have to deal with traffic or anything and had a great light show. And that was after the traditional Lyon pyrotechnics, where the Lyon brothers take those tanks and pimp them out with other fireworks to see how big and flaming they can get them. (Safety first, right?! The Lyon brothers are all engineers of some kind, and it shows.)

The last thing of note that happened was before bed when my darling little 12-year-old daughter stared and stared at my forehead. I knew what she was looking at and said, "Sweetie, stop staring at my zit."

"But Mom," she said. "It's so . . . BIG!"

Yeah. Thanks, babe. Just wait a couple years, and your forehead will be FULL of them.

I'm excited for next year's Independence Day, as we'll be spending it with my parents.

(Less than four months until they're home from their latest mission!)

Not that I'm counting down or anything . . .


Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

And to think I get annoyed by the neighbours chi-hua-hua running around our yard sometimes and nipping at the kids! So glad there weren't any serious injuries but how traumatizing!

Anonymous said...

Matthew 6:12: And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Annette Lyon said...

Cute, anon.

The real issue here isn't my forgiveness or lack thereof. (I was trying to tell the incident tongue in cheek in a humorous way.)

It was really a matter of common sense and safety. This could have ended in a serious tragedy if a smaller child had been involved instead of a teenager. There are very good reasons for animal restraint laws.

The upshot is that people like these neighbors need to be held accountable for their choices.

(Hmm. While you're spouting scripture at me--I believe choice and accountability was one of the major POINTS of Plan of Salvation. How about that.)

Laura said...

Unforgettable. At least you can say that much about it.

Two years ago, we were at the park downtown and our baby had a dirty diaper. It's dark, we have no flashlight, so I in all my brilliance use my husband's phone to light the way. Of course it drops in the goo.

While he's freaking out and everyone else is laughing their heads off, my friends Downs Syndrome boy decides to go back to the car- alone. He's lost and the only light we've got is the cell phone.

In the end, we found the boy, washed the phone and made it home safe and sound. But every year since then, we've had that year to remember.

And the most interesting part is that now we remember the phone falling in the diaper and everyone watches out for the boy. We laugh now, and let the hard part go.

Hope the rest of your summer is less eventful!

Anonymous said...

I'm a dog person but in that vein, I'm kind of a nazis dog owner. My dog must heed every word I say. He's a golden retriever and a lover of all things/people but he a retriever. So that means SERIOUS training. I also have autistic twins and so when getting a dog, we needed to know temperament and attitude up front. We rescued ours from a society that is very careful about their pets. It's made a huge difference. We did not want a dog that would chase our kids (or other people's kids), bite, or even play rough. Our dog has to heed our children's commands. If my son says, "Sit!" That dog plants his butt and that's that. If we say, "Heel." He'd better be on the left side of my body, nose no further than the tip of my knee.

It might sound mean but it's safer for everyone--dogs and people.

I agree with you in this. Those owners should have been cited. Heaven forbid it had been a younger child and honestly, they're lucky you ARE so forgiving or the dog could have been put down for inflicting injuries. I've heard many a case where it happened.

Other than the dog disaster, I'm glad you had a great 4th. (And I totally hear you about being able to stay at the grown up table!) Sorry for the mile long comment.

Kristina P. said...

Don't you love when self-righteous people hide behind their anonymous moniker?

Sorry about your son! That must have been so scary.

Amber Lynae said...

Annette- I think you handled the situation well. And it is scary to think of what might have happened to one of the smaller kids. I am so sorry for your poor son.

Anonymous said...

p.s. CONGRATULATIONS! Your parents will be home soon!

Sher said...

I love that my kids are now old enough to go off and play and I don't have to worry about them. Makes these kinds of these so much more relaxing.

And sorry about the dog incident. That's just the kind of thing that makes kids scared of dogs.

Melissa Cunningham said...

What an experience with those dogs! Dogs can be so scary, especially when they aren't yours. It's too bad they had such big dogs what weren't locked up.

We are dog people up here at our house, but I have no patience for dogs with bad manners and even less for dogs that are bullies. Sorry to hear about that.

Our fourth was fantastic too. You gotta love family. =)

Amanda D said...

What a 4th! It's fun to have the kids growing bigger isn't it? I love being able to sit and play games with out having to get up so often.

How exciting that your parents will be home soon!

Rebecca Irvine said...

Sounds like a memorable 4th! And definitely better than mine (both our car and our fridge broke down--total bummer).

Josi said...

Three cheers for grown up kids, I'm always grinning smugly as my sisters and sister-in-laws try to play a board game. it's cruel of me to take joy in their pain, but for so long I was the only one with little kids--and now it's reversed.

So scary about the dog, I'm so glad the owner got cited as well. Like you SAID quite clearly, it's about accountability and especially with big dogs like that, they NEED owners that will keep them in line. They can do serious damage otherwise.

AND it's totally unfair that we have to deal with adult acne. Makes me so mad!

Luisa Perkins said...

How awful. If it were here, the dog would already have been put down. I'm glad you had a nice time otherwise.

wendy said...

sounds fun --it is a great time of life when the kids are old enough to take care of themselves and give you more time to relax and have "adult" conversations. so if you get thinking you miss the baby stage---just look forward to being a grandma then you get the best of both worlds.

Jenny P. said...

I'm catching little glimpses of this... I still have a toddler. He's two, but the older kids are getting older and I am certain I will never have this many children this little again. AND, in the fall, three of my kids will all be in school, which will leave me at home with, cough, cough... ONE!!! That is most definitely a new phase of parenting for me... I'm glad you had a happy fourth. :)

Randi said...

This is yet another reason why I'm not an animal person. People who refuse to control their animals infuriate me.
I'm so sorry!!

The Crash Test Dummy said...

I hope you can come to the Olive Garden on Saturday so I can get your book signed and so we can all scream like little girls when Annette Lyon walks in.

Finished your book at loved it. Simply charming. I'm going to give another shout out on Thursday.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

LOL... I thought it was a funny re-telling... but that IS dangerous!

YES YES come to the LUNCH!!! Cause i want to scream like a little teenage girl! :)

Heather Moore said...

Sorry to hear about your son! My daughter was bit by a wandering dog in a park a couple of years ago. We took pictures of the dog, etc. and went to file a report at the police station, but nothing came of it. All the big dogs in our neighborhood are nice and mellow. The small ones are mean. Weird.

Heather of the EO said...

Oh my...scary! I'm so glad no one was seriously hurt. Sheesh...

Just SO said...

Isn't it great to be in that stage of parenting and yet a little nerve wracking at the same time because stuff like that with the dog can happen. The owners totally deserve to be sited. And I'm glad that they were. Now maybe they will keep a better eye on their (I almost typed there ACK!) dogs. I'm glad that your son wasn't hurt. You are right it could have been much worse if it had been a smaller child.

Hope the next four months go by fast!

amelia said...

I am cackling with you. I would be SO PISSED. My little brother was riding his bike in the neighborhood one time when a dog down the street got out, jumped on my little brother and knocked him off his bike. He had a big claw mark, but nothing major. The neighbors were nice...but, to this day, my brother is still understandable cautious of dogs.

leeann said...

I grant that the owners should have been cited, and I am glad your son was not harmed any more. As a dog owner (and very frustrated one right now), I sympathize with them a little. Not overmuch, you understand.

We rescued a lab that jumps. Jumps right over our chain link fence so that means a chain inside the fence, and if he gets out the door, it means I have to send my sons vaulting fences (through a pit bull's territory) to catch him. For the record, this dog was totally unplanned, but I couldn't put him down. The fence is totally adequate for the taller lab that we planned for. A taller fence is not in our monthly budget either. Nor is the pricey training said dog needs.


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