My hamper floweth over

The Keith Family News

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A quick antecdote

I have a post nearly finished about Jordan's experiences as a middle schooler, but I don't have the energy to finish it tonight (just can't figure out how to get my blog to play "Sunrise, Sunset". Just joking, sort of). There is new news about the whole pit bull thing, but I want a break from talking about that. And there's a whole rant about Pierce's school, but I'm not in the ranting mood. So I will tell a little story from dinner tonight.

Max is still in a highchair at dinner. We only have six chairs at the table, so it is mostly out of necessity. The highchair sits a little behind and to the side of the table, and tonight, as the older kids were recanting their days, Max kept leaning up to me and saying "What are they talking 'bout, mom?" So I took the tray off his highchair and pulled him up to the table. He was oh so very proud.

--I said "Okay, everybody, let's give Max a chance to tell us about his day."
--Through an ear to ear grin he giggled "I don't know."
--So I prodded him with a few questions I already knew the answers to: "Did you paint today?"
--"YEAH! They paint my arm! And hand!"
--"What colors?"
--"Ummm, brown! And geen!" "It's not funny, guys" (a little scowl here, because the older kids were giggling).
--"What did they make out of your arm and hand?"
--"A twee! A twee!"

It was very cute. He is officially a big boy now.

Alright. I'm off to get ready for tomorrow. We are all still adjusting to the new schedules, and we are all very grump from about 3:00 to 6:00. I'm hoping we fall into routine soon. Because I am beat, people. The walking dead. A zombie. Hopefully more tomorrow.....
Keithclan, 8:37 PM | link | 1 comments |

Saturday, August 18, 2007

An update on the update

Friday Pierce had all of his stitches taken out. They initially thought he would need steri-strips on his leg, but they had healed better than expected. He still has to take it easy for a few weeks, but he isn't feeling sore at all anymore. Incredibly itchy, but not sore.

I am always amazed at the speed at which children heal. Physically, I expected his recovery to take much longer. Unfortunately, I underestimated the psychological effect the experience would have.

We took Otis for a walk around the block Friday.Halfway around the block, we heard a dog barking in a nearby backyard. Pierce grabbed my hand. A few houses later, someone opened their back door to let their two dogs into their backyard. They ran towards the chain link fence barking, and Pierce was overcome with fear. I held him close, tried to reassure him, and as we continued walking, we encountered several more yards with dogs and it was hard for him to keep walking. I could feel his whole body trembling, his little heart beating so rapidly. Luckily, when we got to our house, there was a very thoughtful cookie bouquet waiting on our front porch. It was the perfect distraction from the unpleasant trip around the block.

My sensitive little guy is no stranger to phobias. For over a year, he was extremely afraid of black men. It was a paralyzing fear that was often a little embarrassing for us. He would hide behind us, trembling, and there was no denying what he was afraid of. He told me that two black men had climbed through his window and taken him away once, and even though his window is painted shut on the inside and all of his screens and storm windows were in tact, he could not believe that it was a nightmare.

Then there was the whole "clown coming into his bedroom at night" incident that turned out to be the result of an art project hanging in his room. And although some (Lizzee) may argue the rationality of a clown phobia, this is obviously different.

So, I would love to hear some opinions on therapy. Should I give him some time, see if it the fear fades on its own? Should we try pet therapy? Reenactment with toys? Primal screaming? He is sleeping in our bed, and won't go to sleep unless we are with him. I just want him to feel safe again.

Awaiting your input. Mom to many
Keithclan, 3:49 PM | link | 2 comments |

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Stir crazy

Even without Pierce's stitches, the ridiculous heat would have had us inside this week. And it's the week before school starts, so there's a lot of nervous excitement in the air. The Keith clan has completed a 300 piece puzzle, made a menagerie out of clay, several dozen Perler bead projects, watched an obscene amount of television, played every board game we own, 100+ games of Go fish and Uno, and done so much whining and bickering that I am most certain that the tick I have developed in my right eye will never go away.

Yesterday, the girls put together a little play about Otis. They made a graph with several different dog breeds on it, like pugs,collies, poodles, and "sh*t-sues".

I thought it was funny, but then again, for the most part of the day yesterday, I also thought it was Thursday.
Keithclan, 12:58 PM | link | 1 comments |

Monday, August 13, 2007

Quick update

Brooke: we were allowed to file the complaint. Which means that, in two weeks, my husband and I will both have to take off work (provided I am back at work) and take Pierce with us to court, knowing that at most t he guy will pay a thousand dollar fine. Although I feel the fine is ludicrously low, I feel it is important to have a record of the attack. There is a state rep. who is trying to pass a pit bull ban, and we are sending all the information and pictures to him as well.

Elena: As far as a civil suit goes, we haven't decided yet. Of course he needs to pay (we think Pierce deserves at least several million for the promising career as an underwear model that will now never come to be) but we just don't know if it will be worth it. If the man owns his home, his homeowners insurance may cover a lawsuit, if not, well, it's the whole blood from a turnip thing. It really irks me to think that he could profit from the sale of the puppies. There is however a petition going around the neighborhood requesting his puppies be euthanized. I don't know if it will help, but it's nice to know I'm not alone in feeling that they should be.
I don't know if I've mentioned it, but this guy lives a few blocks away from our grade school.

I am having very mixed emotions. I am incredibly thankful that God was watching out for my son, which he so obviously was. I know how much worse it could have been. When I close my eyes, I am haunted not only by visions of what happened, but what could have happened as well. I felt and do feel some guilt for not being right there, but after reading other stories of attacks, I know that even if I had been outside watching, it wouldn't have made much of a difference. And if we had all been outside, and Max had been riding his scooter on the sidewalk (his favorite outdoor pass time) ...

I do feel blessed. I am incredibly grateful. I have my son, who will probably be unchanged minus the scars that will be covered by clothing. But I am also very angry. I am shocked and appalled that the laws are so lenient. Someone's hands can be categorized as lethal weapons, yet you can train dogs to be killing machines, let them loose in a neighborhood full of children with no consequence other than a small fine. Pedophiles can't live close to a school, dealing drugs near a school carries stiffer fines, but, you want to have slew a killer dogs a few blocks away from one? Nothing to stop you there. All the accounts of the attacks I have read are the same. The owners of the dogs are shocked that they would attack someone; they were always so sweet and gentle. Yeah, when most people are looking for a family pet, they immediately think pit bull. Give me a break!

Pierce is doing okay, he has had a lot of visitors, and I am incredibly touched by outreach we have received. He's goes to the doctor tomorrow, he has been running a low grade fever and is complaining of headaches. Hopefully nothing is infected. He is such an amazing kid, such a trooper.
Keithclan, 11:37 PM | link | 5 comments |

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Animal rights activist, apparently, not so much.

I will warn you now that There are disturbing pictures at the bottom of this post.

Yesterday was a happy day for my almost seven year old fish of a son. He was picked up around 11:00, went swimming with his friend at a club, had lunch, and went swimming again in his friend's backyard pool. He came home about 4:00. We left about 5:00 to go swimming at a friend of the family's. We came home about 6:45.

My husband was already home. Ashton went outside to walk the dog, and Pierce went with her.

Ashton came back inside, and Pierce stayed outside to ride his bike on the sidewalk in front of our house.

I remember hearing him come in the door. "I was bit by a dog" he was saying fairly calmly, though fear and shock were obviously present in his voice.

There were puncture marks on his arm, right under his sleeve. We knew there would be a trip to the emergency room, but my husband went to look for the dogs.

"There were two of them. They bit me a lot. They bit me a lot."

Then I saw the blood on his swim trunks. When I raised them, I saw that there were chunks of flesh, pieces of my son, missing.

I yelled to my husband that they had to leave now. He told me that he saw the dogs heading towards our park, only a block away.

I called 911 with a description of the dogs and dropped the other kids off at a friends.

We are lucky. We are blessed.

His wounds though many, and deep, are on his arms, legs, back, and bottom. Not on his face, not on his torso.

We didn't hear him call out as the dogs attacked. He told us he was trying to stay calm, that he knew if he panicked, it would be worse.

Across the street, several men were working on a roof. One jumped off the roof and beat the dogs off with a stick as they were dragging my son to the road.

It took over eighty stitches and several hours for his thirteen lacerations to be closed. My brave little man barely cried.

The officer from animal control came to take my statement at the hospital. They had both dogs (thanks to our neighbor who hunted them down) and they were both going to be euthanized immediately. Then I am told about how the poor owner turned the dogs over immediately, he was just given the dogs a few weeks ago by a friend and had no idea they were capable of such a thing. And I was told how one of the dogs had very recently given birth to ten puppies that, although the owner was going to try to bottle feed, would probably not make it. I was told this in a very "isn't that sad" tone.

I was told how the dogs seemed very "sweet" and went straight to the officer when he called them.

I was asked what my son was doing when they attacked him. I was asked in a very accusatory tone.

I was told they were both pit bulls.

I was told that I could file a complaint, but that the most the owner would receive would be a $500 fine per dog, and that my son would "be dragged into court to testify".

He recommended that I sign a paper saying I would not file this complaint, it just wasn't wort it. I signed.

I was in a bit of shock myself. They had just started to sew up my son. He was lying naked on a table, covered in Betadine, while two doctors went to work on repairing his many injuries.

Today, after reading a bit about pit bull attacks, I changed my mind. I called animal control, and they said I had already signed the paper. Why would I change my mind? When I brought up the fact that this owner had ten puppies still in his care, I was told "ma'am, those puppies didn't do this to your child." I was asked to have sympathy for the owner, whose dogs had been euthanized, and whose heads had been put in a box and mailed to a lab to be tested for rabies. Not that he meant to minimize my sons injuries in any way. I mentioned, okay, just short of yelled, That my son had numerous holes in his body, that the dogs had to be beaten off of him, and was told that a call would be made to the officer who handled the case.

He showed up at my door an hour later. He never meant to insinuate that I not file charges. HE had thought of filing the charges himself...Yada yada yada.

I believe that having a dog notorious for fatal and near fatal attacks and letting it roam free is the same as playing Russian roulette on a playground full of kids. I mean, there's only a one in six chance the gun will go off, and then what are the odds that bullet actually hits a kid?

I believe that, without the quick intervention of the man who witnessed the attack, they wouldn't have stopped until my son was dead.

I have no sympathy for the dogs, and less every minute for the owner.

There are other injuries, but mostly around his hiney, and I will spare him the embarrassment of posting those.

By the way, as to the question of what my son did to provoke the attack? He saw the dogs running towards him, barking at what he thought was each other, and tried to get out of their way and into our house.
Keithclan, 10:34 PM | link | 7 comments |

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Vacation part 2

I am waiting on photos from my sister of our vacation in Kansas City, but the few photos I have really sum up the trip. We did something fun every day; a movie, the zoo, Science City, a petting zoo. And almost every evening we walked to the park. One night, we went in spite of a very ominous sky and stayed to play in a downpour. I was thrilled to eat at two very yummy places that Oklahoma City (unfortunately) does not have- Chipotle and Dairy Queen.

But for the kids, the real excitement of the trip was the company. They had such a great time playing with their cousins. Every night, they fell asleep in a heap, and arose early the next day to resume the fun.

I was a little apprehensive about taking a split vacation, and although I wouldn't want to do it every time, it really worked out great for this summer.

Sidenote: Yes, that is my son, Max, in the pink princess bike helmet. If you think that's funny, you should see him in the shiny plastic high heels he likes so much.
Keithclan, 9:17 AM | link | 1 comments |

Friday, August 03, 2007

Vacation part 1

I have put this post off for a few days due to overwhelming frustration. I use photobucket to download my pictures, and planned on having a photo album from our vacation, because I know slideshows, particularly long slide shows, can be a tad on the tedious side. But I could not figure out how to get the album on my blog. So I decided to do a slideshow through Photobucket, and I put descriptions on all of the pictures. Only photobucket slideshows are only about 10 pictures long. So I went back to Slide to make a slideshow, and my captions for the pictures didn't show up. UGH!!

So, I will tell you that Chad and the girls had a great time! They took the train to Chicago, spent the day walking around Chicago, then went on to Buffalo. The train was not very comfy for sleeping, but they still had a great time. There was an observation room with large windows, the girls loved that, and they even met a few friends. They spent the day in Buffalo, admiring lake Erie, and then went on to grandmas.

They spent one day at Niagara Falls, one day at a beautiful state park, and on the way back, they went to the Lincoln Park zoo in Chicago. The rest of the time they spent exploring around grandma's, apparently there were several streams on the property.

Definitely destined to be an annual trip. Next time they may go through St. Louis instead.

The rest of the Keiths had a great vacation as well, I will post about that trip soon.

Can you believe summer is almost over? I don't think I'm quite ready to go back to our rigid school year routine. I am also not ready for the kids to all be a grade older, especially my sixth grader and first grader. Boy, it all goes so fast....

Keithclan, 9:58 AM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The end of a wonderful journey

We had a great vacation. We got home late Tuesday night, but I'm not ready to post about it just yet. I need to reflect on the end of the marvelous journey that has come to a bittersweet end, the Harry Potter series.

I discovered the books when my oldest was in second grade. She wanted to read the books, and with so much hype surrounding them, I wanted to read them first. I was hooked immediately.

Jordan loves reading, she is a real bookworm, and up to that point I had steered her towards books from my childhood. I had tried reading some of the newer children's books and was depressed to discover that many of them were written with poor vocabularies, underdeveloped characters, and superficial stories.

I have enjoyed reading them on a personal level, but more than that, I have enjoyed witnessing the elation that they bring to my daughter. Everyone from my parents' generation remembers where they were when Kennedy was assassinated, everyone in Oklahoma City remembers where they were when the Murrow bombing occurred (I was pregnant with Jordan at the time), and our children will have faint memories of the horror and sadness surounding 9-11, and unfortunately, I am sure there will be more horrorific and tragedy incidents that will mark time.

But to remember where you were in time for a positive experience, standing in line in front of whatever bookstore or event when these amazing books were released, that's priceless.

Thank you J.K. Rowlings, for the joy, the sadness, the frustration, the magical ride you have let us all experience. No pressure, but if you could go ahead and start on a new series that my second oldest will enjoy equally, preferably set in Egypt, and possibly featuring cats, I would be forever indebted, well, more than I already am.

Thanks again,
Mom to many

Keithclan, 3:04 PM | link | 2 comments |