I’ve been so busy spring-cleaning and being a mommy lately that I have not had the time or energy to sit down and write a lengthy update on recent events. Nathan is taking his nap right now and the house is finally shaping up.
Dr. Phil Show:
So…we got invited to the Dr. Phil show. It is a long story, but basically C and I were debating back and forth about what to do with our dog, Haley, who has been known to snap at babies and children, including our son. He concluded his argument with, “You can ask anyone (about the debate) and I bet every single one of them would agree with me.”
About a week later, after I was contacted about being on the show, I AIM-ed C:
Me: Hey! You remember our dog debate and you suggested that I ask a couple of people about it? Well I think that asking “a couple” of people is not a very effective sample size….So how about asking a couple million people? We got invited to appear on the Dr. Phil show!!!
Me: Are you there?
[Let me just add that up until this point, I had no idea that a panic attack could ever be expressed over Instant messaging…]
C: uh…um…how about we…um…geeze jenn! That is live tv! Um…I guess we can…when is it?
…and so it went.
It was to be a show on parenting dilemmas, more specifically about mixing pet responsibilities and parenting ones. The producer emailed me and I was so excited. She said that she needed to call me about the show and I was literally shaking when I picked up the phone. As it turned out, she was absolutely delightful and I reminded myself that she is just a regular person with an interesting job, and we ended up chatting away like pals from school. She asked me to send in some pictures of us all and to make a short video of me asking Dr. Phil about our dilemma, which I promptly did. She informed us that they would fly us to Los Angeles for the taping the show the following week.
I asked her about how we would be presented on the show, since I have seen some of Dr. Phil shows portraying the guest in a rather unflattering, classless way. She said that we would be presented on a united front as parents who wanted to do the right think for our son’s safety while also being responsible dog owners and that we were not sure of the best choice to make. I was very happy about that because I would have downright refused to go on national TV under any other circumstances. I was sooo excited! I was hoping, and I told the producer this, that Dr. Phil could provide us with a top-notch dog training expert to work with us. I could use the opportunity to create awareness for the animal rescue I work for, Rescue Angles, Inc. Also, I could help promote responsible pet ownership because lots of our rescue dogs are from people who get a “cute puppy” without a thought about how the dog will fit into their families for the next 10-18 years of the dog’s life.
[Note to those who are thinking that I am a hypocrite and did just that, I assure you that I did not. I rescued Haley as an adult and she came to us as a frightened, abused dog. I never intended to keep her. We worked with her to get her somewhat socialized enough for whoever adopted her. We even got a second dog, Lil man, to replace her once she got adopted. We never had the critical period of a puppy’s life to properly socialize her to various situations and people, including infants, as we had with Lil Man. I did not realize that she had aggressive tendencies toward infants until a few years after we had her and she felt threatened/cornered by my infant niece and tried to bite her.]
So C came home that night and I went on to tell him about us being on the show. It turns out that we had a giganormous misunderstanding and that he did not want to be on the actual stage. My heart sank and I felt defeated….until I decided to give it one last shot. I emailed the producer and asked if he could not be on the stage with me and I would represent our interests. She said that she could certainly work with that and that the show is still on!
Again…I got sooo excited! I mentioned the successful intervention which saved the show for us to C. Again, another huge misunderstanding. C said that under no uncertain terms would he appear on TV. C shared with me that he has a dire form of stage fright, which I did not know about until the whole Dr. Phil event. By this point, I felt overly emotional due to so many extreme ups and yucky disappointing lows. I tried to come to terms with his stage fright while trying to get over the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for promoting responsible pet ownership, getting top-notch dog training to help us with a very legitimate concern, and not to mention an all-expenses paid trip to Los Angeles to meet the Dr. Phil. I guess I felt that he would (and really should) at least try to do this for me (and our son and dog), but I quickly realize that it just wasn’t going to happen.
Anyhow, I tried one last time to make adjustments to our guest appearance, this time just me and C not to be seen, but the producer said that it is not doable and that we are no longer invited.
I wish I could say that I was a wonderful wife and I just accepted it all without a fuss, but I didn’t. I spent a good week moping around and mourning the loss of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I can’t help but to wonder what it would have been like if we had gone. I felt angry, defeated, and newly hopeless about our situation and I (inwardly) channeled a lot of it toward him. I felt that if I had to overcome something uncomfortable for me in order for him to be able to do something that meant a lot to him, that I would do it in a heartbeat, albeit an adrenalin-induced rapidly beating one.
That was then.
Shortly thereafter, or at least at this point, I see that some mountains are just too high for some people to climb, and that I just have to trust his judgement on what he thinks he can or cannot do. Even if I am convinced that he can accomplish whatever he puts his mind to, the loving thing to do is to support him no matter what.
As it is, we still don’t know what to do about this dog of ours and the two of us are back on square 1 with this whole issue. I cannot go against his wishes and find another (childless) home for our dog, so I am just going to do my best to try to prevent Nathan from getting bitten for whatever reason. It goes completely against my maternal instincts, but I am going to embrace his optimism that things will be fine and pray that it will be true. Maybe (just maybe) my maternalism is clouding my judgement and that her previous aggression mishaps is just a fluke and I have nothing to worry about.
One lesson that I have learned from all of this is that of a whole new breed of parenting issues that never really occurred to me prior to this event. The lesson is that sometimes parents have to evaluate situations holistically and choose the lesser of the two evils for their child. That sometimes there is no clear right or wrong choice, that sometimes the answer falls square in the center of the Land of Grey. All that we can do is just try our best as parents, that we will certainly make mistakes, but also experiences many triumps all along our parenting journey.