Last week I strapped my first born into the car, packed up his toys, his bed, blankets, his clothes and booties and even his hot dog Halloween costume, packed up a months worth of food and dropped him off on a leash and left him on his new mother’s doorstep in floods of tears. It was something I swore would never happen to him or me but he had been a problem child since birth and well, I am a derelict mother, one who would abandon their child in a basket on a nice lady’s doorstep. It had come to that. Piglet moved to St. David’s.
When I got home I put on a huge pair of sunglasses to hide my tears, and Eva put on her Elton John star shaped glittery sunglasses and we left to go to a friend’s birthday party. When we arrived Eva had had an accident in the car and so the two of us arrived crying, wearing sunglasses in the middle of winter and covered in pee. We were just what our friends wanted at their kids’ fifth birthday, a crazy mother spontaneously bursting into tears, who gave away one kid, and can’t cope with the human one. A mother who claims Eva is potty trained while she runs around the friend’s brand new house finding places to mark her spot and then spent the rest of the party in only her party dress swinging on a tree swing with a full audience of five year old boys. When I got home our little cousin brought me down a Valentines card covered in glitter and addressed to: Luci, Chris, Eva, Piglet and Piccolo. I burst into tears leaving my uncle, an innocent bystander, to explain to our little cousin how I had to move Piglet to St. David’s. I immediately put extra pairs of hello kitty underwear in my wallet just in case there is a next time, as they would conveniently double as a handkerchief.
My new normal was hard to get used to, especially every time I looked at my backpack emblazoned with “I have multiple dachshund syndrome” but then I remembered I could count Eva, as she was following Piccolo around on all fours mousing. But I was still having difficulty letting go of my dream life as a happily married family woman with 2.5 dogs, Piccolo, Piglet and Eva. I had worried that it would come to this after Eva arrived, but after the first few months I thought we had survived the worst. The boys, Piccolo and Piglet were not jealous of Eva but they hated each other. When Eva was born, Chris dropped the baby hats they give you in the hospital around the house and when we got home from the hospital with Eva all the hats had been collected and put together in their bed where the boys were guarding them. It was a good omen; we would all be one happy family. WRONG.
Piccolo and Piglet had always had fights, and I had always been able to separate them. I almost lost a few fingers but that’s motherhood I expected to loose an organ or an appendage at some stage. When it got worse we summoned the dog trainer, they were walked in a pack three times a week and in the worst case scenario they went off to boarding school for a few days to blow of steam. All of this seemed to diffuse the madness, which is sibling rivalry. When we added the half dog/ half human child Eva to the brood, the fights grew worse for awhile but got better again as we all got accustomed to our new life. I was worried that when Eva learned to walk that her relationship with the dogs would change and things would go wrong, but that milestone came and went and by one and a half I was sure we were in the clear. But when Eva developed an affinity for ham, and bacon it signaled the beginning of the end.
In the space of six tortuous months our house became a ridiculous circus like obstacle course of gates and barriers and bizarre rituals which had to be adhered to exactly and in sequential order or else hell would break loose and the dogs would tear each other limb from limb. Eva would cry “Boy’s fight, Boy’s fight.” One of us would be taking a dog to the vet or boarding school, the other trying to explain to Eva why one dog brother tried to kill the other dog brother. I would have happily carried on with this madness, after all I had been doing it to a lesser extent for ten years rather than face what I had to do last week. But it all came to a head one Saturday evening in December, when the two dogs followed me into Eva’s room while daddy was bathing Eva. I saw them facing off and knew it was going to be a bad fight. After it erupted Daddy had to take Eva out of the bath and lock her in the bathroom, dripping wet in a towel, the equivalent of locking her in a closet, which I had done before to protect her from the mayhem.
It took us several minutes to get them apart and at the end of it there was blood spattered all over us and up and down the staircase. If anyone had come over we would have had a hard time explaining why there was so much blood over the stairs and one child locked up, and another missing because I had taken the injured dog over to my parent’s house to recuperate. When I returned Chris said essentially “It’s me or the dog.” This had to end. After ten and a half years I had to find a new home for Piglet. In the eight weeks between the fight and Piglet’s relocation, his brother Piccolo stayed with my parents, where he howled and marked his spot and generally drove them crazy. Unsurprisingly they did not volunteer to adopt Piccolo or Piglet. We came to the decision to rehome Piglet and keep Piccolo because Piglet was the aggressor. Our dog walker who is sweet on Piglet agreed to adopt him after her oldest dog passed away and so Piglet’s fate was set. In the meantime I had been interviewing potential adopters, handing out flyers, calling people for advice and losing my body weight in tears all with consternation and back handed encouragement from family members.
Eva has been taking Piglet’s relocation much better than mommy. Now instead of saying “The Boys had a fight,” Eva says, “ Piglet went to live with Reza.” And when I ask her, “ Do you love Piccolo?” She says “No, I love Piglet.” And I say, “I love Piglet too,” and then I tell her, “we did our best for him,” and I try to believe it myself.
Eva is developing fears now and she plays a game where all the tiles on our floor are where the “Sharps” live and she runs away from the “sharps” and climbs up on my feet for higher ground. At night when I read stories to her in bed, she looks at her animal book and gets scared of the lion and the leopard pictures and snuggles into my chest and I tell her “Don’t worry I will protect you and keep you safe. “ I then feel horrible and think to myself, I hope I am not lying to her like I lied to Piglet who thought I would be his mommy forever.
When I shed a tear, my own mother says, “ Good God Luci, grow up, you should have followed my advice and put the dog down, good riddance that’s what I say.” I just think to myself, I wonder if they established the social services department in the 1970s because my mother moved into town. I should be thankful I made it out of 1984.
My recent underemployment has allowed me to look into my genealogy in order to complete a picture book and family tree for Eva. It turns out I come from a long line of derelict mothers, in fact, one actually sold a child into slavery.
I know you are dying to know what side of my family that derelict mother was on…. Drum role….. yes indeed, that derelict mother is found on my own mother’s side, the same mother that suggested I kill Piglet. I am hoping Eva improves our genetic line and can live out her entire life without having to admit that she gave away a child, or got forbid sold or killed one, because now I have to admit I left a very sweet only sometimes vicious miniature dachshund named Piglet on a very nice lady’s doorstep in St. David’s.