Sunday, December 31, 2006

10...9...8...zzzzzz

What kind of people spend New Year's Eve renting a documentary and working a crossword puzzle?

No, wait. Don't answer that.

My God, we're lame. Even my parents are at a party tonight.

In our defense, we drove nearly 10 hours yesterday to get back to Madison, getting back rather late. Much as we would have liked to just fall into bed and sleep all night, the Danimal had other plans. At 11p.m., just after we got the car unpacked, he wanted to scoot all over the house, visiting his usual play places to make sure they were all there, pointing at everything to show us how pleased he was. He did go to bed eventually, but then he woke up so many times I think we all spent more total time awake then asleep, and then at 5a.m. he would have been up for good if I hadn't nursed him for about an hour on the couch. Is it any surprise we weren't feeling up to celebrating?

I suspect a lot of bloggers will be doing (or have done already) some sort of Year in Review, though they probably aren't pathetic enough to be doing it right now, as most of them living it up somewhere or other with champagne and cone hats and confetti. I can sum up my 2006 for you real quick: I spent the first six weeks of it in late-pregnancy misery, and everything after Daniel's birth is pretty much a post-partum blur of breastfeeding, diaper changes, the occasional performance, and learning to cope with that special kind of solitude that is motherhood.

I don't really do the "New Year's Resolution" thing, either, but I do have one major goal for 2007: finish my doctorate. Think I can do it?

Obviously, I'm too tired to be truly reflective or profound or even sentimental right now, so I'll leave you with a picture from this afternoon.

This is what happens when you leave the box of tissues within Daniel's reach:



Cheers, all, and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Happy Birthday To Me!

On this day, twenty-eight years ago, I entered the world red-faced, dark-haired, naked and loopy from some pain-killers they gave my mom. Some babies are born squalling; I was not.

28 isn't a grand mile-marker like 18, 21 or 30. I'm not sure I'm ready to believe I'm now in my LATE twenties, whereas until midnight last night I could truthfully say I'm in my MID twenties...but that doesn't really matter. I'm 28 and I look it. I have some gray hairs on my temples and when I smile there are little wrinkles around my mouth and eyes, and I can usually be seen carrying around a small, squirmy child. I figure I've earned every single one of those gray hairs and wrinkles anyway. If you'd asked me five years ago where I would be today, I'm sure I wouldn't have said "Still in grad school, and with a baby," but that doesn't mean I'm unhappy with my lot in life. Quite the opposite, in fact.

What wisdom do I have to share with you on this day? What have I learned in my nearly three decades on this earth?

1. Always, ALWAYS wear rubber gloves when working with raw jalapeno peppers. I wish I could say one-trial learning took care of this for me, but I've ended up soaking my burning hands in cold water after making the mistake at least half a dozen times.

2. One should not chase a rolling basketball down the hallway when the length of one's pants exceed the end of one's foot. I acquired this little nugget of wisdom just last night. Ask me how.

3. A "four clubs" answer to a "2 no-trump" jump-shift is asking for aces according to the Gerber convention. If you don't play bridge, never mind.

4. Potty humor is always, ALWAYS funny.

5. I don't care what the books say, not all babies sleep 2-3 hours every afternoon. Some babies (ahem) think 40 minutes is quite sufficient.

6. A polyester potholder, when placed on a hot burner, indeed burns, despite its purpose to resist heat. I learned this secondhand from my brother.

7. A cookbook, when placed on a hot burner, indeed burns...this one I learned on my own.

8. The Ravel trio isn't impossible to play, but it's damn near it.

9. Collaborating with singers can be either the most rewarding, or least rewarding musical experience as a pianist.

10. A nearly 11mo child understands the word "nurse," necessitating that it be spelled when one wants to discuss but does not want to engage in said act.

Friday, December 22, 2006

J.K. Rowling is SUCH a tease

She's released the name of the last Harry Potter book, but nothing else. You're killing me, J.K.!!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

This and That

Happy Winter Solstice, everyone! For the next six months, the days will be getting longer, which is a good thing, in my book. I hate early winter in Wisconsin, when it's cold, wet, and increasingly dark.

Daniel is doing quite well. The day after his surgery, he acted like nothing had happened, and was up playing as usual. In fact, for the last few days he's decided that any and all naps are optional. Oh, he's a clever one, that Daniel, because he'll snuggle up in my lap to nurse and act all sleepy, but then get all giggly and playful when I put him in the crib. I let this frustrate me until yesterday, when I said to myself, "To hell with it. If he doesn't want to sleep, I won't make him!" and I'll be damned if he didn't refuse to nap the whole day except for a 20-minute snooze in my lap when I was at my Wednesday knitting group (the other ladies there are too polite to call it "Stitch 'n Bitch").

Just look at the little imp:



(Here he is modelling a sweater I made for him. I started it when I was preg-o and finished it when he was a few weeks old. I guessed pretty well on the colors, huh?)

He's sleeping right now, which I consider a Festivus miracle.

School-wise, everything came to a screeching halt after my orals. I have had the best intentions for, oh, about two weeks now, to get working on a lecture recital, which I have to do next semester. I don't really have a topic narrowed down. All I know is that I want to look at contemporary American song, probably pick one poet to center around...vague enough? Unfortunately, our music library is closed (#$*%&!!!!) the entire winter break for construction (whyyyyyyyyy couldn't they wait until summer?!!??!), so unless I get there tomorrow, all research that can't be done online will have to wait. I have no one to blame but myself for this serious lack of motivation.

On Saturday we're leaving for Kentucky to spend Christmas with my family. Yay!! My parents have dial-up, though, so blogging will probably be sparse. Boo. Like y'all are going to be waiting on pins and needles for my next post anyway, right?

Friday, December 15, 2006

My Brave Little Boy

Let's start off with some eye candy:



Yes, it's another baby picture, but today he truly deserves the attention. Today Daniel had surgery to correct an undescended testicle (I'm sure when he's 13 he's going to be thrilled that I told the world about this.) The condition is not uncommon; it happens in 3-4% of baby boys, and of those, only about half make it down to the testes satchel (I have Borat to thank for this term) on their own. The surgery is very routine, low-risk, and doesn't take very long, so our rational selves were not worried about this. But when it comes time to deny your baby food for many hours before packing him off to the hospital so he can go under the knife, rationality isn't such a game player...especially when the surgery is delayed for two hours because of an unforeseen complication in the surgeon's first procedure of the day.

In fact, the anesthesiologist gave him some Tylenol mixed with something similar to Valium to help Daniel stay mellow in the long waiting period before his surgery. When he stopped fussing and started grinning and clapping his hands together rather clumsily, pupils dilated, I wondered how many parents are granted the privilege of seeing their kid high on [medically approved] drugs before the age of one year...not that I'm condoning it or anything...

Unpredictable delays and our anxieties aside, everything went smoothly and quickly. Evidently there are only a handful of pediatric urologists in the country, and we are lucky to have gotten one of the best. Daniel was certainly in able hands. The recovery went (is going) quite well, too. Babies are often disoriented, cranky and hungry when they wake up after surgery, but Daniel just sat in my lap and nursed and slept for about two hours in the recovery room. The nurse said he ought to win the Baby Of The Year Award. She probably says that to everyone, but we agreed with her all the same.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Madtown Mama's Sweet Rolls With Potatoes and Honey

I came up with these last night, and they're quite tasty, so I'm sharing the love with y'all. I have found that it's really easy to impress people by making homemade bread. They think it's difficult or complicated, though it's actually not. Bread-making isn't nearly as tricky as other baking, like cakes and pies, where precise measurements and mixing times significantly affect the outcome. Sometime I may even do a bread-making tutorial with pictures and everything, if there's interest (though I know there are bread-savvy folks - Steph and Joe among them! - who read this blog.)

(Note: This recipe makes at least 40 rolls. If you don't want that many, just halve the ingredients.)

Ingredients:
2-4 mashing potatoes, like yellow wax potatoes
3/4 c. milk
4 T. unsalted butter (1/2 of a stick)
1 t. salt
1 c. water
2 T. yeast
2 eggs
1/4-1/2 c. honey (depends on how sweet you like it!)
bread flour - I honestly don't know how much, maybe 4-6 cups

Instructions:
1. Cook the potatoes in boiling water 15-20 minutes, or until soft. Let them cool, then peel and mash them. You ought to have about 1 or 1.5 cups mashed. If you prefer no lumps, you can stick them in a blender with some of the water.

2. Heat the milk and butter together until the butter is almost melted. Don't let the milk boil unless you like milk skin. (ew)

3. Mix the milk/butter mixture with the mashed potatoes and salt. Sprinkle the yeast on top, mix, and cover until it's nice and frothy, anywhere from 10-30 minutes.

4. Add the water, honey and eggs to the potato mixture and beat until smooth, about 1 minute.

5. Start adding flour. At first, just go ahead and dump in a cup or two, but once the mixture is less "liquidy" and more "doughy" you should add just a few tablespoons in at a time. This part takes a while. When it's too hard to stir with a wooden spoon or stiff spatula, get in there with your bare hands to knead it. This just involves turning it over and over, working it like a massage artist on a mission, punching, folding, whatever floats your boat. This is the fun part, and takes anywhere from 10-20 minutes.

6. When the dough is not sticky anymore, but still soft, cover with a wet towel and let it rise until it's doubled in size.

7. When it's doubled in size, punch it down and let it rise until doubled again.

8. Grease a couple of big cookie sheets. To make the rolls, pull off pieces of dough about the size of golf balls and place on the cookie sheets 1.5-2" apart. Let rise again (20 minutes?)

9.Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until golden on top.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Wrong Number

You know how sometimes people call your home and it's a wrong number, and usually it's because your current number closely resembles a now-defunct pizza place or something?

Well, I just had my second conversation that went something like this:

Ring, ring.

me: Hello?

male voice: uh...Who is this?

me: Suze. Who are you trying to call?

male voice:
I'm looking for the Pagan Men's Alliance? (confused, seeing as how he is obviously talking to a female)

me: I'm sorry, you must have the wrong number. What number did they give you?

male voice: (repeats my home phone number, digit for digit)

me:
Sorry, man. Can't help you.

Curiouser and curiouser.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Naptime Victory

It's no secret that we've been having some Serious Sleep Issues here. Daniel has yet to sleep through the night, he almost never naps more than 30 or 40 minutes at a time, and the cumulative effect of all this makes for one frazzled Suze. I thought my only options were 1) nurse him back to sleep every time he woke up, or 2) plunk him in the crib and leave him to cry it out all night long. Option 1 was clearly running me down and I wasn't about to do Option 2.

A little over a week ago, I had had it. I was tired, frustrated, and most of all discouraged that things weren't improving. I was in a horrible mood and I was being absolutely beastly to Stuart and Daniel. Understand that I am blessed with an even temperament and am rarely in a truly bad mood. But when it happens, hoo boy. Stay out of my way. So anyway, after some stomping around and slamming doors and generally immature behavior, I left the house to run some errands and clear my head.

In my hour or so out of the house and away from my problems, I also broke down and bought a baby book: The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems. Despite the obnoxious title, it had two things going for it, namely 1) I've heard that it works, and 2) Dr. Sears didn't write it.

According to the author, we've fallen prey to Accidental Parenting (I hate her terminology, by the way), wherein parents do all the wrong things without realizing it's hindering their child's ability to sleep on his own. Things like rocking and nursing him all the way to sleep before putting him in his crib. Things like letting him nurse every time he wakes up during the night. Ooooops. Of course, if you've got a child who's 10 months old already with these problems, it will take a while to fix them because - tsk tsk!! - you should have nipped it in the bud when he was four months old.

This is why I hate reading baby books. They make me feel guilty and kind of stupid.

In any case, the sleep method is absurdly simple. For a child Daniel's age, you have a routine for naps and bedtime to help him wind down...in our case, we already had the routine. It was (is) the actual sleeping that was the problem...and when he's ready to sleep, you put him in the crib. Of course, unless he's totally konked out, he'll cry and get up. So you put him down. He'll get up again. You put him down. Lather, rinse, repeat until he's too tired to get up again and falls asleep. Same at night time. When he wakes up, don't pick him up, but put him down, whisper soothingly, put him down, put him down, put him down, yada yada yada...until he falls back asleep.

Last week I wasn't totally convinced it was working. Three days in a row it took an hour of putting him down before he took a nap, which only lasted 30 minutes. Yes, an hour of standing by the crib making my child lie down. I was going nuts; I felt like I was held hostage (didn't I use that phrase in a previous post?) at the cribside. Fortunately, things are going much better at night. For one thing, Stuart and I could take turns, giving me a bit more rest. For another, almost every time Daniel wakes up, it takes just a couple minutes to get him back to sleep.

I confess that several, though not all, of Daniel's naps in the past few days have taken place in the car. This can be a case of "Accidental Parenting": relying on a prop like driving around to get your kid to sleep. But I didn't care, as I really needed to get out of the house.

The state of things now? Yesterday it took only 20 minutes to get him to sleep in the afternoon and this morning it took -- drum roll, please -- about 5 minutes. We still have a ways to go. He's not close to sleeping through the night, and he still doesn't sleep for more than 30 or 40 minutes at a time during the day. (That may never change; some kids are cat-nappers and there's nothing you can do about it.) But we have a Method, things are finally improving, and everyone's a little happier for it.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Eye-candy Friday: my kid again




Why more pictures of Daniel?

1. Because it beats telling you how I was held hostage all morning by the new nap routine. (Seriously. It's 12:30 and I just got dressed.)

2. Because if I went outside to take pictures of week-old snow, I would freeze my tail off and all you'd get is, well, pictures of week-old snow.

3. Because he is pretty cute, if I do say so myself.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Christmas meme

Jenn made me do it, I swear.

1. Eggnog or Hot Chocolate?
mmmmmm...hot chocolate...Penzey's mix is the best.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
I do the wrapping around here.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
I think lights on the house are a waste of energy. But I do like white lights on a tree.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No, that's corny.

5. When do you put your decorations up?
Erm, we don't. Well, the last two years my family came here for Christmas, so we did a little bit. The first time we got the last tree for sale in front of the corner butcher shop for $5. It was about three feet tall, and the hardware store was out of tree stands, so we bought a plastic paint bucket and filled it with gravel from the driveway. It was sooooo ghetto. Not as ghetto as last year when we just picked up an errant evergreen branch off the ground, stuck it in a vase, and hung a couple ornaments from it. This year with a Very Curious Explorer (cough cough Daniel ahem) in the house, it's just as well we don't have any decorations up.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
Is there a holiday dish that isn't dessert?

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:
Most Christmases from my childhood are all blurred together in my memory. We always, always drove to Kansas to see all our relatives, which I was always very excited about. One year the weather was so bad they closed the interstates and there was no room at the inn, so we had to stay in an armory. There weren't shepherds and wise men, but I do remember a little dog who had his own styrofoam bowl to pee in.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I don't think my parents ever led us to believe Santa was real. They still left cookies out for him, though.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
That's when we do our gift-opening, actually.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
See #5.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Loved it when we first moved to Wisconsin. Now totally over it.

12. Can you ice skate?
Barely.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
Last year my brother gave me a guitar, which was great. I wish I had more time to play it, though.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Fambly.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
My mom always makes kick-ass Christmas cookies, all kinds. I can't really choose a favorite.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Singing carols and drinking wine...preferably at the same time.

17. What tops your tree?
Enough with the tree questions!

18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving?
I suppose the Good answer to this one is giving. Can't say I mind the receiving part, though :)

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
Silent Night

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?
Yuck, but I eat them anyway.

21. Favorite Christmas movie?
Cheesy Christmas movies aren't my thing. I enjoyed "Love Actually," actually.

22. What do you leave for Santa?
Nothing. I guess we're not very hospitable.

Geez, this thing makes me look like a Scrooge. Ah, well. Maybe when Daniel's older we'll be more in the holiday spirit and do more holiday "things." We keep things low-key here. I know most people - women in particular, for some reason - get all in a tizzy about decorating and shopping and sending cards out and making cookies and knitting socks for everyone they know, and that just seems stressful to me. Hand me a glass of mulled wine and a book of carols to sing with some good company, and I'm a happy camper.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I spent at least half of the day standing next to Daniel's crib trying to get him to sleep. This is part of our new Method of sleep training. The jury's still out on whether the Baby Whisperer knows what the heck she's talking about. If today is any indication, she gets a big Thumbs Down.

But I didn't intend to write about my kid's sleep issues. One way or another, we'll get through this, even if I lose all my hair and gnash my teeth down to the gums in the process.

What I meant to write about, ironically, was the fact that despite all my gripe-y, negative posts of late, my life is all right. I did pass my prelims, after all. And my social life had a little pick-me-up on Sunday when my friend Rob came over for lunch and then took me to see "Stranger Than Fiction," which was, by the way, a very good film.

I don't write a whole lot about my life as a musician on this blog, and when I do, I tend to focus on my insecurities, why I'm unsure of myself, where (and if) my life is going professionally. Yesterday's post is a prime example of that.

The truth is, I know I'm on the right path, even if I don't know exactly where that path is leading right now. How do I know? Because I get excited thinking about people I plan to collaborate with in the future. Because whenever I hear a new piece I like, I think "I want to play that!" Because I'm more confident every time I perform. Because every time I perform, I enjoy it even more. Because my five students, who range from 3rd to 7th grade, all love to play music. Because, heaven help me on this one, when I was studying all my old music history notes, I was concocting hypothetical lesson plans on various topics.

I'm not naive. I know that finding a decent job, even in collaborative piano - which is one of the more marketable areas of music performance - is extremely difficult. I may or may not find a dream job someday. As long as we have a young child(ren) to take care of (eventually we'll have another, but considering how things are going right now...well, let's just say I'm in no hurry), that "someday" might be a while from now. As long as I can play music I love with people I love to work with, I'm OK with that.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Thinking

I had my oral exams today. It was strangely anti-climatic. They were fine; I passed. I expected to feel a big rush of relief or elation afterwards, but I didn't. I just drove home and changed poopy diaper #2 of the day. Now I suppose it's on to the next thing, and the next...and eventually I'll be done. And then what? It all feels a little existential right now.

Once I'm truly on my own as a musician - and that time is nigh - I'll really have to "say" something musically. I should be "saying" something now, actually, but I know I often still sound like a student. The three keyboard faculty on my committee (the only ones who made it to the oral exams, in fact) are all very dear to me. Each of them has had a tremendous influence on me as a pianist, a harpsichordist, and a teacher of music. What would I do without them constantly affirming and guiding me? I suddenly feel like a little bird who's afraid to jump out of its nest and learn to fly.

Are you rolling your eyes at that metaphor? Me, too, but it's still apt (apt!) so I'm leaving it there.

My harpsichord teacher and I were chatting afterwards. He said something to the effect of "Good luck with all the parenting and music-making!" He's the father of two grown sons, and like everyone else here, has been very supportive of me. I replied that too often, the parenting thing has to come first, because you don't have a choice about that. You can't just take a semester off from your child. "True," he said, "but the second thing is incredibly important, too. I think you have a lot to say as a musician, and I hope you keep working at it."

Really?

Maybe it's because I've been a student for so long, holding onto my teachers' advice like a security blanket, but I need to convince myself of this. I was never fantasically talented. I was never a wunderkind. I've never been able to make myself practice eight hours a day or obsess over technique (and it shows!) There have been times (many, many times) that I wonder why I do it at all, when there are so many people out there who are better than I am. Understand that I'm not beating myself down here; I'm just trying to be realistic.

There's a violinist here (Pam, you know who I'm talking about) who can grasp in a moment what it takes the rest of us weeks to learn. She's amazing. She soaks up repertoire like a sponge. She plays like a freaking goddess. She's about to finish her DMA and she's only 23 or 24 years old. There's a part of me that says if I'm not like that, then what's the point? What do I have to "say"?

Still mulling over this one, I suppose.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Another List

'Cause I'm a list floozy.

5 Things I Want But Don't Have:

1. A belt. Dude, my pants are falling down. I didn't notice this before I got pregnant, and I don't think I'm smaller than I used to be; my hips certainly ain't. That a certain little boy spends a lot of time hanging off the legs of my jeans could be a factor. That + gravity = droopy-pants-mama.

2. A dissertation topic. I wish I could just skip all the work of preliminary research and just know what to do for my final project. Then I could slam through it and be done by the end of the summer. Usually I enjoy that process of slogging through recordings and browsing articles and the like (NERD ALERT! NERD ALERT!), but this degree has dragged on long enough.

3. Enough yarn and time to make myself a sweater. It's getting downright cold up here, and I haven't made a sweater for myself since I was in high school. Unfortunately, I have several other things to finish first, I don't have enough of anything in my stash for an adult sweater, I don't want to purchase more yarn until I use up more of what I already have, and I don't have a lot of time to knit as it is, so this probably won't happen. I have a few warm and woolly sweaters, but they're all gigantic. Comfy? Yes. Attractive? Not so much. Come to think of it, "comfy and unattractive" describes most of my clothes now...

4. A camera phone. We already have a nice camera, so I know it's silly. But they're just so cool. What can I say? I'm a bit of a magpie.

5. A really good recipe for tamales. I've never made them, but I want to. Anyone care to share?

5 Things I Have But Don't Want:

1. Our can-opener. It's the hand-crank kind that makes your thumbs cramp and leaves a jagged edge around the rim. This can-opener doesn't even work unless you turn it at a bizarre angle. Despite receiving several tutorials from Stuart on The Proper Use of Our Craptastic Can-Opener, I am somehow incapable of using it properly and end up with lids I have to twist and force off at my own peril. One of these days we should really pony up the $10 to buy a new one.

2. The book 25 Things Every New Mother Should Know by Martha and William Sears. A very well-meaning person gave this to me at a baby shower about a year ago. Now, where do I start with this one? Let's see. Is it the part where Mrs. Sears lays on the guilt about mothers who go back to work? Is it the part where she suggests that a new mother, if she must work (heavy sigh) find a job in a daycare center so she can bring her baby with her? Is it the part where she suggests that fathers don't have as good parental instincts as mothers? Is it the part where Mr. (oh, sorry, Dr.) Sears chips in to say that one way fathers can be just so very helpful is to make sure the new mama has time to take a shower once in a while? Is it the part where they try and convince you that breastfeeding and co-sleeping until your kid is three or four or five is guaranteed to make your child secure and not at all emotionally manipulative? Give. Me. A. Freaking. Break.

3. Class notes from every music history course I've taken at UW. I should probably hang onto these in case I ever teach a music history course, which I hope to do someday. But it's soooo tempting to chuck them all into the recycling bin. Or burn them on a pyre.

4. Nursing bra pads. Sadly, even though I don't want these I have to keep them because nearly ten months after giving birth I'm still leaking. TMI? Deal.

5. A stack of Dilbert cartoon books that used to be bathroom reading material. Now that special place on the back of the toilet is reserved for The Onion.

5 Things I Don't Want and Don't Have:

1. Mom Jeans. You know what I'm talking about: those high-waisted fashion monstrosities with pleats in the front and tapered ankles that wouldn't even look good on Heidi Klum (probably). I already have a Mom Haircut and have mysteriously lost my ability to match colors (you should've seen the two greens I put together the other day...frightening) but even I know better than Mom Jeans.

2. A spinning wheel. A lot of knitters like to spin yarn. I've never even been tempted. I guess it's because I know it would take lots of time and money and clutter to get good enough to spin anything worth knitting with, and I'd rather just usethat time and money and clutter on yarn to knit something nice out of nice yarn. Because the knitting part? I'm pretty good at that.

3. A back yard play gym, the kind made out of plastic in primary colors. Click here to see a variety. I hate tacky plastic shit, and I hate it even more when it's cluttering up people's yards. If Daniel wants to go on the slide, we'll just walk to the park.

4. A bread machine. Because if you don't get in there with your bare hands, it doesn't count as homemade bread.

5. A dog. I'm just not a dog person. Daniel really likes dogs, though. He gets really excited and kicks his legs and grins whenever he sees a dog, or whenever we read him books that feature dogs (we have several) or whenever someone makes doggie noises, like "arf arf" or "woof!" or "aaaaaaaaooooooooooo!" This could be a problem.