One of the first decisions we made as a couple shacking up was what to do with our first combined tax return. Although we were not married yet, we decided to pool our $600 in combined refund bucks and make a purchase together. As a couple. Weren't we cute?
So, what would you choose as your first significant purchase as an engaged couple? This might be shocking to some of you, but Hubs and I did not have the same first choice. He said, "Big screen t.v." as I yelled, "A dog!" And so the standoff began.
Because we were mature rational people, we each laid out the pros and cons of our choice. "A dog is a great choice. It will get us out of the house. We can take him for walks, to the dog park and to dog beach. We'll exercise more and meet lots of new people. It's a great investment of our money." As if you didn't already know, these were my well-thought-out arguments for getting a dog. Clearly I had done my research and was focusing on the betterment of us as human beings and a couple.
"A big screen t.v. is cool." And that was his argument.
9 weeks later we brought home Brodie. Guess we now know why it's important to prepare an argument don't we, counselor?
I'd like to have a picture of Brodie to show you but I can't find any right now so I will use a generic picture of a black lab. Please note that he was like a bajillion times cuter.
|Yup, cuter than this little nugget of cuteness!|
Over time, I realized that my love for the dog had grown to an astronomical level. I felt a bit like the Grinch because my heart grew three sizes EVERY DAY that I owned that puppy.
|My heart. Every day. I had an abnormally large chest by the time he died at age 13.|
One night as I was lying in bed staring lovingly into his chocolate puppy eyes I had an epiphany! Not only was Brodie going to keep us healthy and help us make new Doggy Owner friends, he was going to prepare us for parenthood. Now keep in mind that by now Hubs and I were married and although he definitely wanted kids, I was still
plotting planning to wow him with our awesome life that he'd fail to realize we never had any. But just in case my great plan evil plan that no woman should ever have when getting married didn't work out, I was going to learn to be a fantastic mother with a perfect child long before there was talk of removing the goalie.
Like many of my friends, both past and present, I truly believed that having a dog was exactly like having a kid. Here's why:
Why having a puppy is like having a kid:
1. Puppies and babies wake up at all hours of the night.
2. Puppies and babies require constant supervision.
3. Puppies and babies have issues with poop and pee that require my intervention and assistance.
4. Puppies and babies have a crapton of stuff.
5. Puppies and babies fall asleep on long car rides.
6. Puppies and babies sometimes cry on short car rides and barf in the car.
7. Puppies and babies require food and water on a consistent basis.
8. Puppies and babies must receive regular medical attention including shots and check ups in addition to any unforeseen emergencies.
9. Puppies and babies like toys.
10. Puppies and babies like to go out.
The list could go on and on but you get my point. Simply put Puppies = Babies. And I am an awesome Puppy Mom = I will be an awesome Baby Mom.
And then I had a baby. After approximately 4 weeks of parenting I realized that Puppy does not in fact = Baby for one simple reason:
I can not legally put my baby in a plastic crate with a blanket, a toy stuffed with peanut butter and a bowl of water and then leave the house for 3-6 hours. And believe me, I Googled it.
But we survived Puppyhood with grace and everyone still breathing, so I was confident the same would happen with Parenthood. And although the list of Things To Discuss With Mom During Parent Weekend at Therapy is fairly lengthy, we are all still alive and happy so far. And whenever I hear my sweet young friends talk about how getting a puppy is the best way to prep their significant other for the changes that will occur once The Baby arrives, I just smile kindly and nod. They'll find out soon enough.
I do have to admit, though, that there are some definite similarities to being a Doggy Mom and a Kid Mom, just as there were a few crossovers between Puppy Mom and Baby Mom. (See above list.) These similarities were glaringly obvious to me today when I took Spike my 102 pound Kid, I mean Dog, to the local dog park.
Any mom who has been to the park will know exactly what I'm talking about. First of all you've got several types of parents. There are the Helicopter Parents who follow their kid/dog everywhere. They don't give them any space whatsoever, they just hover over them as they play in the sand or sniff someone's crotch. (Just so we're clear: sand = kid; crotch = dog. Hopefully) Then there are the Totally Distracted Clueless Parents. These parents are chatting with friends or typing away on their smart phones or possibly reading Facebook while their kid/dog is humping all the other kids or throwing sand. (Again, for the purpose of clarification: humping = dog; sand = kid) Next we have the Judgey In Denial Parents. These parents see everything that is going on. The crotch sniffing, the humping, the sand throwing and they can not believe the nerve of "some parents" who allow their children to behave like that because she would never allow her child/dog to do those things! Look a little closer lady, it IS your dog starting all the trouble. Shocking, but true.
Today I sat in the lovely, partially shaded bamboo chair and watched my Spikey pee on every square inch of that park, while I also watched these Parents interact with their own Pups. There was crotch sniffing, humping, peeing, chasing, barking, wrestling and even a bit of fighting as I rested in the warm sun watching my dog happily flit from shrub to shrub. And for a moment I thought I was at the local park I frequented with my kids when they were young and we passed the days on swings and slides and grassy spots under the tree. And I couldn't help but think to myself, that maybe getting a dog IS a great way to prepare for a child to come into your life. You will certainly lose sleep and have more contact with pee and poop than you ever imagined possible. Even when you're just running to the store, you'll have more stuff in your car than the day you moved home from college. Your stuff will be destroyed, you'll spend an astronomical amount of money at the doctor's office due to some silly mishap and you will want to pretend you can't hear them when they bark or yell over and over and over to get your attention. True, you can't leave the kid alone but you can use a gate to keep them in another room, right?
And more importantly, your heart will also grow 3 sizes and you'll never look at love the same way. And to know that kind of love, I'd take a 3 a.m. wake up call any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Puppy does not = Baby. But they're both pretty awesome snugglers.
That's just my normal.
*All title credits go to Ally Robertson who is the coolest, prettiest, sassiest cousin a girl could ever gain by marrying a pretty awesome guy;) Thanks Ally for helping a girl out when she was title-less;)*