Mid May. Bear’s birthday come and gone

Bear knows his place with Jelly

Bear knows his place with Jelly

And we didn’t do anything. Maggie kept asking how we were going to celebrate his birthday. She feels slighted. He is taking up precious resources that should be going to her. On top of that, he was consuming some of her precious belongings, things like shoes, books, and brushes. And then he could sniff out treats stashed away in her room: sleeves of crackers, gum, candy canes, and sodas. As convenient as it might be to have a dog let you know when your blood sugar is out of balance, the cost in Maggie’s eyes was well beyond the benefit.

Sitting with the team for a post-game talk

Sitting with the team for a post-game talk

So in Maggie’s eyes, Bear continues to be a bummer, taking over the pie chart of Winicki home resources. Before Bear the Maggie pie slice was near or beyond 50%. Remember her Bat Mitzvah was only a month before he came home with us. In the beginning Bear took up a lot of the time pie-chart with training and traveling to training. As time progressed Bear appeared to be taking over other resources as well. He got really sick and went to the pet-hospital for a week. He was featured in a newspaper article, taking over the ever elusive fame pie-chart. He even began encroaching on the topic-of-conversation pie-chart, with many people interested to know how Bear was doing.

A nap on the ride home.

A nap on the ride home.

With Bear dominating so many resource charts, it only made sense that such a milestone as turning one-year old would not pass without a significant festival, which would drain the party/celebration account away from children and finalize the dominance of Bear’s place in the home. So when Maggie would ask what we were doing for his birthday, we would respond with panic that we hadn’t heard back from the caterers, and that the bounce house was reserved but final payment needed to be made, and that the color scheme needed to be finalized before sending out the invitations. And though Maggie could sense we were joking, you could sense something in her that wasn’t quite sure if we were joking. A slight tilt of her head and a squint of the eyes tried to calculate how much, if any, of the response was true.

On his birthday.

On his birthday.

And as much as she may have wanted to have a big party (I’m certain she had plans to co-opt it as her own), she was somewhat relieved when May 2nd came and went without a DJ, Photo Booth, and caterer.

Life continues. Bear has good days, signaling when Maggie was low in the morning and energetically returning to me after calling for him. And he has bad days, sleeping on Dec while he is low and playing chase-me at the park. Bear continues to visit my classroom at least once a week. Several students breeze past me at the door to look behind the desk to see if Bear is visiting. During teacher appreciation week someone told me that they liked me, but they were REALLY happy about having Bear around. I can empathize with Maggie and that shrinking pie-chart.

Sidenote: Dec and I spent three days and two nights at Science camp with his 5th grade classmates. The instructor asked everyone to introduce themselves and say why they are awesome. Declan introduced himself and said that he was awesome because he has a service-dog.