Friday, February 20, 2009

On life and dog....

Another gratuitous cone shot

I think it's so funny that when we got Milly, most people responded with a chuckle and a response to Mike of "Trying to put off the kids another year, eh?" This rankled me a bit, as anyone who knows me knows that I never thought I would have kids before I met Mike. In fact, on or around our 3-4 date, I told Mike that I didn't want to have kids. He responded with "Are you sure?" I said of course, and then he said that he didn't know if he could date anyone who didn't want kids. He implied that if I stayed steadfast on that point that we should just break up right then. I was so head over heels with the guy, I was thrown waaaaaay off. I replied with an unsure "well, I guess I could think about having kids. I guess it's not totally out of the question."

In some ways, Milly is kind of our training wheels for having kids in the future. For so long, neither Mike or myself had been responsible for anything but ourselves. I killed every houseplant I got, and we didn't even have so much as a goldfish. Anytime we talked about having kids I got all anxious, thinking "I can't even keep bamboo alive. How will I ever manage?" So in a way, we wanted to prove to ourselves that we could manage to keep another little being alive and happy. And then I stumbled across this on and fell in love:

Teeny little snout! Big floppy ears!

While I'm sure a baby is much harder than a dog (hello, we can LEAVE our dog in it's cage at home while we go out. Pretty sure you can't do that with a kid. Additionally, the dog has never woken us up in the middle of the night for multiple feedings), there are some valuable lessons I think we've been learning that will also apply to the kidlets later down the road:

  • Doling out punishments - It's good to see that Mike and I are on the same page. Howling gets a banishment to the hallway. Peeing on the couch gets a spanking and banishment. Jumping up gets a simple nose smack and "Off!" We talk about what bad things require what, and generally agree on all counts.
  • Alternating role of good cop/bad cop - We are getting good at this one. One furparent gets to be the heavy while the other comforts. But you gotta alternate to keep the furkid on it's toes!
  • Learning to watch/monitor another being whilst accomplishing other household activities and chores such as laundry, cooking, balancing checkbook. Milly can get into trouble so very fast it's insane. I swear the first couple weeks we had her, it was exhausting. I would try to do something else and all the sudden she would be off - gone in a brown streak to wreak terror upon the carpeted areas of our condo. I was so frustrated and tired, thinking I would never get anything done. Now I can keep one eyeball on the pup while baking a cake or doing almost anything else. And my ear is always listening to make sure she doesn't run upstairs.
  • Learning that it's normal to vacillate between the emotions of "oooh, little puppykins, I wuv you so much!" and "OMG DOG YOU ARE CRAZY AND YOU ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY!" I'll admit it. I've used my Mom's phrase "I love you, but I don't like you right now!" Although I've also used a phrase my mom never used: "Milly, you make Mommy want to have a big glass of RED WINE right now!"
  • Realizing guilt is a huge barrier to better furparenting. Our trainer told us this and it's so true. It doesn't matter how sad the dog looks (and boy howdy does that dog have down the Sad Dog face), you have to be firm and consistent in your training for the pup to learn anything. And sometimes you need some time to yourself regardless of whether the pup has been bored at home without you all day.... feeling guilt over being firm or having some 'me' time doesn't help anyone. And if you give in out of guilt, the pup doesn't learn anything.

I'm sure I've learned more, but those are the big ones. It's nice to know that I'm not as selfish as I had originally thought. And overall it's comforting to know that Mike and I can keep another being alive and cared for. And that when one of us has had it up to here that the other will invariably step in for a much-needed break. It's nice to know that overall we're a good team, and not just when we're playing flip-cup at the bar (which for the record, we are VERY good at as well).

Like anything that's worth it, she is a lot of work. But it's nice to come home to something that is SO EXCITED just because you are home. She greets us each evening with her whole body wagging, not just the tail. Nothing other than your presence causes her more joy (ok, maybe you and some cheese. that may be more joy). And it's hard to be in a bad mood around that much joy.

Happy Friday!


Mich said...

In your defense - keeping those dang bamboo things alive are harder than one might think.

I take comfort in knowing that you are learning some parenting lessons from dear little Milly - since we kinda skipped that whole practice part - I am going to pretend that your lessons are our own. Thanks for letting me borrow them!

Tabatha said...

I've used my Mom's phrase "I love you, but I don't like you right now!"

OH MY HECK....I so remember your mom saying that. I think she may have used something similar on me at one point or another!! haha