Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wine for the Thanklessness of Being a Mom

As I recently wrote in my Mother's Day post, moms are often under-appreciated.

I remember my mother one time talking ruefully about the occasional thanklessness of being a mother. She talked about how, with a baby, as a full-time mom, she did everything for
that baby. Ate, breathed and slept that baby; fed the baby, changed it, held it, stayed up all night with it, etc.

And how one day, after putting in all that effort, the baby opened its little mouth to say its first word and what came out was... "Dada"

I am beginning to understand what she was talking about.

I spend pretty much all day one on one with the puppy; I wake up and give him breakfast, I take him for a walk, play ball with him in the backyard, clean up after him, and then do it all over again for lunch. The first few days he was living with us, I slept on the airbed in the office and took him out to pee and poop every three hours.

Not to mention how much time I spend thinking about him, worrying about him, even when I'm not with him.

My point is, I spend a lot of time and energy on him, and yet, when it comes down to it, at the end of the day who who gets all the kisses, all the biggest tail wags, all the uncontainable joy?

Yup, you got it: Dada.

When Steve comes home from work, Tuco throws him a ticker tape parade. He jumps up, he whimpers, he wags his tail so hard he can't remain upright, and he licks every available part of Steve he can find.

This is not to say that Steve does not do a lot with the puppy, too, because he does. He takes the puppy out to pee in the morning before work, and when he gets home from work he doesn't even have a second to sit and relax before he is consumed by puppy madness.

But still, I feel that, as Mom, I often get the short end of the stick.

The first time we gave Tuco a bath, Steve and I put him in the kitchen sink and Steve held on to him while I shampooed him and rinsed him off. When we were finished, I got a towel, wrapped Tuco in it and held him in my arms while drying him off.

Such love I gave him, such cooed words of praise. But did he give me any kisses? Oh no...he ignored me. He would only kiss Steve, only take treats from Steve, only let Steve pat him.

Why, I wondered? What had I done? Steve and I both gave him the fact Steve was the one forcibly restraining him in the sink, but did he hold that against Steve? Of course not! Somehow, the whole bath trauma was all my fault!

He kept giving me such looks of hurt and betrayal, looks which so clearly said "How could you? I trusted you? I thought you loved me." It was just unfair.

It was even worse when we sent him to daycare the first time. He came home and wouldn't come near me, even going so far as to run away from me when I approached (this picture is, in fact, of him hiding from me under our coffee table), again giving me looks and, with his big brown eyes, silently calling me a doody-head.

Once again, Steve was exempt from the blame. Daycare was clearly all Mama's fault, all Mama's idea. I can only imagine how he's going to look at me when we get him neutered. Those looks, I can guarantee, will be priceless.

My wine for Mommy Thanklessness is a 2006 Schramsberg Brut Rose. This Napa Valley bubbly is a vintage rose, so is only produced in particularly good years. This Brut Rose is predominantly made from Pinot Noir grapes, with Chardonnay rounding out the flavors and adding apple and spice notes to the cherry and strawberry that tickle your nose and dominate the palate.

It's lovely as an aperatif, with a meal, or savored with fruit and cheese on a hot summer day.

Plus it's pink, so not only is it yummy, it's also pretty. Which makes me feel a little better when my puppy is blaming me for the fact that his tail won't chase him back.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wine for the Puppy Menace

Let me start off by saying that I love our puppy. Really I do. After all, who could resist a puppy with such ridiculously big ears? But he is, a lot of the time now, an absolute frickin' nightmare.

He seems to be going through a phase where he has decided he is going to test us. A lot. And then eat. And then just go completely crazy for no apparent reason. And then poop (outside, thank God). And then sleep. And then go crazy again. And then eat my socks.

I think I can sum up how Steve and I are feeling during this phase by saying that at the moment we love him most when he is sleeping. And when he has just woken up. Then he is an absolute darling. He rolls over on his back for belly rubs, he licks our hands and gazes into our eyes lovingly...all the while planning his next path of destruction.

He has decided that when he is in the backyard, rather than playing with the ball or little plastic puppy pool, what he really finds most enjoyable is eating mulch, clumps of dirt, and rocks. Oh and grass of course, lots and lots of grass.

He then comes back into the house and makes various hacking and acking sounds, but clearly is oblivious to the fact that he could avoid these delightful moments by just skipping the dirt-rock-mulch-grass combo. When we try to explain this to him, however, he just looks at us like "what?" and then chews on his foot for a while.

He has also decided that I'm not allowed to talk on the phone, or, for that matter, to anyone but him, and when I do, he starts growling and pulling on his leash and jumping on me to get my attention.

Today, as I tried to talk to my sister on the phone, he grabbed a paper towel off the coffee table and then went tearing around the house with it while I tried to catch him and take it away. Let me tell you, that sucker is fast, and can wedge himself into spaces where he knows I can't grab him, and he was changing direction and scooting past me like lightning, leaving paper towel shreds in his wake.

When I finally put him in his crate and closed the door, he gazed at me with those innocent, soft brown eyes, sweet as can be, one last white paper-towel shred hanging from his tooth, wondering, I'm sure, why Mama was so red-faced and sweaty.

It's not all bad, of course. We had a delightful moment this morning when he was sitting on his mat in our living room. I was trying to get him to lie down, but he wouldn't. He just kept sitting there with a slightly odd look on his face.

All of a sudden, a fairly expressive toot emanated from his rear. He seemed quite surprised by the whole event, and turned around to stare straight at his bum-hole, as if to ask "Was that you?"

Indeed it was. And let me just say that before that toot my hair was curly. Now, not so much.

My wine for the puppy menace is a cocktail that I made up at the restaurant one night when two diners really wanted an apple martini, and then asked for me to make then something fruity and kind of sweet when told that we can't make apple martinis.

The descriptive name is a mandarin grapefruit cosmo, but in honor of this post I will now call it the Mandarin Menace.

Here is how you make it:

In a cocktail shaker combine:

3/4 ounce mandarin vodka
1/4 ounce grapefruit vodka
1/2 ounce cointreau
1/4 ounce Luxardo Maraschino cherry liqueur
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce cranberry or pomegranate juice
simple syrup to taste

add ice and stir. Strain into chilled martini glass.
Garnish with Maraschino cherry and a few drops of the red Maraschino juice.

It is fruity and refreshing, but watch out: it's got bite!