Big happenings this weekend around these parts. Or, big to us: Coco finally went down the stairs by herself.

It’s only five steps, off the back screen door, and Monkey zooms down them, of course, often launching himself off on the third one, skipping the bottom two altogether. But because Coco is still a puppy (she’s about three and a half months old now) she’s still kind of short, and only weighs about twelve pounds, if that. Lately, though, you could tell she WANTED to go down the stairs alone, that the fact that we had to scoop her up and carry her while Monkey shot ahead was cramping her style. So we started putting her on the last step, then the next one up, which she handled fine. But if you just opened the door, she froze. She’d creep to the edge, look down the steps, then up and me, and bark before scooting backwards, as if she’d changed her mind, she wasn’t interested in going outside anymore.

I did my best. I’d go down the stairs and shout up encouragement, the kind of thing that I’d want to hear if I was facing something I was scared of, but knew I’d have to do eventually. “You can do it!” I’d yell. “Be brave! Be strong!” She did not look either, and after awhile, I’d start worrying what the neighbors were thinking and just go up and get her. “It’s okay,” I’d reassure her, as I plopped her down on a lower step. “You’ll get it when you’re ready. These things take time.” Because it’s really true: you can psych yourself up, but you can also psych yourself out. It’s not easy to just move forward when whatever you’re facing scares you to pieces, and sometimes a lot of lead up is not helpful. It’s like with writing. I’m always terrified when I start a book—and while I’m writing one, and after it’s finished, you get the point—but the bigger deal I make of it, the harder it is. “Today, I will begin my book,” I think, and and then I just sit there, staring at the cursor. I am learning, lately, that sometimes you have to just sneak up on stuff, surprise the world unaware. And in doing so, you also surprise yourself, often in the best way, and one you never would have imagined possible.

I think Coco agrees with this, because on Friday, after we got home from dinner, my husband took the dogs outside. He opened the door, Monkey ran down, and Coco…followed. Right down the steps, out into the yard, as if she’d been doing it all her life. It was huge. Now, she’s had a couple of setbacks since, moments I can tell she is nervous, when she pauses, and starts to back up. But more often than not, she just does it. Just like that. Nice.

Meanwhile, to wrap things up, a confession and a question. First, because I am so ashamed I have to get it off my chest: this weekend, I got sucked into the televised trainwreck that is Being Bobby Brown. I can’t even expound, I’m so embarrassed. If you watch this show, you know what I mean. And here I was all proud of myself for giving up The Surreal Life. This is worse, people. MUCH worse.

Now onto the question (whew!): because I am slack, I did not check the comments yesterday, and so of course missed the one someone posted about how there was supposed to be a story on Dateline that had something to do with YA Fiction. Apparently, they flashed the Keeping the Moon cover? Did anyone see this? Or any part of it? If you did, I’m dying to know details. Because I was probably…watching Being Bobby Brown. No! No, I was immersed in my dog triumphing over her fears. That sounds better, anyway. Right?

have a good day, everyone!
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