Take My Dog, Please
Our New Baby
When we had our first child many years ago, I had no clue what the hell I was doing. I had always found babies to be somewhat frightening. You just never knew when that little bundle of joy might break out into loud wailing or leave a little gift in his or her diaper. Plus, I always had this nagging sensation that I wasn't holding the baby quite right, which might then contribute to the previously mentioned issues. Thankfully, I was never primarily responsible for any babies, so if a problem arose, I could just pass the child off to someone more qualified. I could then walk away, eventually go home to a babyless environment, and sleep without any interruptions. It wasn't that I disliked babies. I just didn't want to do the work involved with taking care of them.
When the babies finally came, I was actually surprised by how quickly I adapted. I eventually became fairly skilled at changing diapers, learned how to pack a baby bag, developed stroller folding skills, became an expert at playing with Disney princesses, and could hold our daughters in various positions without causing them any apparent harm. People who knew me mentioned on many occasions how surprised they were by my parenting skills. But I have never been anything close to the perfect parent, and while I became pretty good at the various tasks of baby care, there was always one underlying frustration during my two daughters' early years: the loss of any control over my time. Because babies and small children require almost constant attention, I found it very difficult to just sit down and do the various things that I had always taken for granted. So when we finally reached the point where both of them were going to school full time, it was liberating to have some blocks of time to do whatever I wanted or needed to do without distraction or interruption.
One thing I was able to do was write blog posts and eventually compile a book. But as my Hubpages account indicates, I have not been writing very much lately. And while I can cite a few excuses for this, a major one is that furball that you see in the picture above. My brother and sister-in-law decided to "bless" us with that little puppy for Christmas, and thus far, it has been like adding another baby to the household. Only this time, it was not with my consent. So I have found myself over much of this winter "break" playing a significant role in the care and training of our new family member, which mostly consists of taking her outside to pee and trying - often in vain - to stop her from chewing on everything.
I tried to stop this from happening. I made excellent arguments and predictions to plead my case, all of which have already started to play themselves out. But it was all to no avail, and that same feeling of losing control over my time has returned. And since things were already busy before the dog's arrival, this sudden change has pushed me closer to the edge. So there might not be many blog posts in my near future. Since there are so many things that I need and want to do, something has got to give. My only consolation, I guess, is that dogs age faster than humans, so I don't have to wait as long for the toddler stage to be over.
Things would be easier if I wasn't such a damn pushover. I am tempted when home alone to just put the dog into her little enclosure and pretend that she isn't there. It wasn't my idea, after all. But when she stares at me with those little eyes, or she starts with that high-pitched whimper, I can't help picking her up, taking her for a walk, or doing something to keep her entertained. The idea of a cooped up animal has always made me depressed, which is part of the reason I never wanted any pets. So if things continue to go as I predicted, the kids will become increasingly bored with the dog, and I will be the one left holding the bag (in some cases, literally).
These days, I find myself playing around with various scenarios to make the dog go away, none of which are very appealing. She is not a bad puppy, after all. She is just a typical puppy, a creature that I never wanted to reside full-time in my home. But it may already be too late, and the healthiest thing I can do is something I have never done very well: face up to reality and accept my fate. The kids are happy, after all, and even I have to admit that it's hard to stay angry at that little puppy dog face. Dogs have been sucking humans in for thousands of years, so why should I be any different?
The funny thing is that I often find myself missing the days when my kids were small. It was a hell of a lot of work, and life was often chaotic, but it was also filled with moments that were some of the best I will ever have. And there are no relationships that can compare with the ones I have with my kids. So as hard as it is to imagine now, maybe I will someday miss these days when our dog was a puppy. But I doubt it.