Thursday, May 23, 2013

Babies and Puppies

I have often heard that training a puppy is a lot like having an infant. I thought that seemed a little ridiculous. I mean... one is a baby dog and one is a baby human. Totally different species, totally different levels of intelligence at the adult level. So that clearly means that there had to be vast, cavernous differences between the babies of said species - right?


Then I had a baby.

I don't remember the exact moment in which I realized that there wasn't really THAT MUCH of a difference between baby humans and baby dogs - but there really isn't. Think about it? OK, don't want to think about it, eh? I'll just give you a few examples.

Will & our friends' dog Indee, who is no longer a puppy (but was once).

Feeding Time!

I nursed Will from the day he was born and in fact breastmilk is still a decent part of his diet. If a puppy is born and is kept with his mother... guess what? That puppy also has breastmilk. Not with Momma Doggy? Fed from a bottle for a bit, I believe. Just like a baby. As the baby gets older and is able to feed himself, the two start to diverge a bit. Baby will pinch things with his fingers to bring them to his mouth, eventually figure out how to use things like sippy cups and spoons while puppies eventually eat and drink from bowls without the use of opposable thumbs. But you know what... sometimes, when I hold a few Cheerios out in my hand for Will to take and eat - do you know how he eats them?

That's right. He bends over and eats them right out of my hand. Like a puppy with a Beggin' Strip.

Waste Removal & Disposal

While most puppies outgrow diapers sooner than human babies, there is one thing about the two that doesn't change until babies are potty trained. That thing is the disposal of the waste once it has happened. In my purse I carry a ziploc baggie filled with plastic bags JUST INCASE I am out somewhere in public and Will needs a diaper change. Much like the dog that poops in the park, when my kid needs a diaper change that dirty pee and poop catcher has to be wrapped in a bag prior to being thrown away. I guess it doesn't "have to", but it certainly is proper etiquette. No one wants to smell pee and poop when they walk in the loo.

Speaking of Which...

Let's not forget that puppies and babies both have to be trained to relieve themselves properly. Let's not forget that both processes often require some form of conditioning of the trainee to use their appropriate facility and to recognize their own body signals to know when to do so. And let's not forget the amount of patience on the part of the "parent" it takes in both instances... and in some cases, bribery with treats for either puppy or human baby. 

Moving Around

I know that this one does not apply to all kids because some skip it completely... but we cannot think about puppies and babies if we do not address the obvious: movement on all fours. Will is a late and long crawler - he started crawling around 9.5 months or so and has been crawling ever since (he's now 12.5 months). He's pulling up and cruising, but with walking not on his radar yet there is no denying that he is much like a puppy in this respect. Having said that, I'm pretty sure that in a race - provided there were no distractions for either party - a puppy would beat my kid if said puppy were in an all-out run. That will change once Will's a bi-ped.

Chomp Chomp Chomp...

If you had told me that I would need to somehow get my kid to stop chewing on my slippers... well, not that I would have laughed at you, but I certainly would have rolled my eyes. I can't tell you the number of times we've rearranged things so that Will isn't chewing on something he shouldn't be - including furniture. In fact, I think that it was during a game of tug-of-war with something that Will had clenched between his jaws that we first realized how incredibly similar babies and puppies really are. I think the only thing that he was missing was the intense growling that sometimes comes from a dog when you are playing that age-old tug-of-war game with them. 

I'm sure there are lots of other ways that puppies and babies are similar (that you can attach both to leashes comes to mind...), but I worry that if I go too far down that road it'll just end badly. So I'll wrap up my list here and invite you all to comment if you think of anything to add to the list... I'm interested to see what others have observed in this regard...

Or mostly I just want to make sure I'm not the only one who's made this observation.

Yes, that's it.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

First Year Mommy Lessons

It's amazing how quickly a year will fly by when you're not paying a truckload of attention. A little over a year ago, I had started to need to take sick time leading up to Will's birth due to various end-of-pregnancy ailments - not the least of which was a good case of double carpal tunnel and a sudden spike in blood pressure before my due date (5/4/12). A year ago tomorrow I spent the better part of 24 hours collecting my urine in a jug (weird things people need to keep in their fridge sometimes...) so that the lab could determine if the high blood pressure was affecting various things. Not that the collection mattered since they induced on my due date anyways and our awesome son Will was born 2 days later.

Sure I'm biased... but ain't he cute?

May 6, 2012? Best. Day. Ever.

At any rate, my first year as a mom has been quite the emotional learning experience. I was reflecting on some of these things this morning while Will was napping and I thought I would share them with you here. These are in no particular order and certainly not the only things I've learned... just some I thought worth sharing.

You'll Find Creative Ways to Say "No"

As Will started to become more mobile and get into more and more things, I found myself saying the words "No, Will, please" more... and more... and more often. Right around the time this was starting to become my default statement it seemed like, I read something that while you're trying to help your child shape his world that you should come up with various new ways to redirect them to other things. So sure, I still say "No", but I've also found ways to get my point across in other ways. Words like "Please don't grab at your penis" (during diaper changes) and "Down, baby, poop is yucky" (when he's pulling up on the diaper pail) and "Move! Hot! Ouchies!" (obvious here) in firm tones have started to enter into my daily routine as well. I'm also starting to get great at saying "yes" instead of "no"; when Will's heading for something that's a "no", I'll find a "yes" then pick him up, move him over to it, and start getting excited about how great it is. ("Down, baby, poop is yucky... but look! It's a pan lid! It makes NOISE! AWESOME!")

Moving on...

Shopping Takes Longer

Going to the grocery store, for me, used to be a stress reliever. Seriously. I LOVE going to the grocery store. With Will, I still love going out to the stores to get errands done but I have found that it does take longer - and he's not even walking yet. I get stopped by old ladies and store clerks who want to goo-goo over my kid (I'm past the "don't touch him" phase, but I still wash his hands... still weird... I don't touch them randomly...). Random people who have kids and grandkids will ask what milestone he's at and then convey some story about their now adult children and when they did things. Sometimes a diaper change will need to take place in order to keep the Peanut happy. The reasons vary, but the truth of the matter is that I need to plan to add at least a 15-20 minute buffer any time I go out shopping now. I don't mind it, I still enjoy shopping, but it's just different now.

Dinner is an Olympic Sport

I love cooking. I love to get in the kitchen, take my time, create a meal with the ingredients in my fridge & pantry, and present the end results for consumption. These days, however, dinner needs to be planned out, paced out, and rarely has the time or space for creativity. I have a 60-90 minute window from the time that Steve gets home and we start Will's bedtime routine to get dinner on the table, feed Will (which can sometimes be an event in and of itself), get dinner off the table, and clean the kitchen. Oh, and sometimes I even get to hang out with the boys for a few minutes. I am blessed in that I have a husband who has recognized that dinner time has now become an Olympic event and has jumped into the process to help it run a bit smoother (he'll often clean up most of the kitchen while I finish feeding Will), but man oh man... Monday-Friday dinner is C-R-A-Z-Y most days.

That Kids' Song? You Have a Favorite Version...

I never realized that there was more than one version of some of the old kids' songs I sang in elementary school. Songs like "The Wheels on the Bus", "Down By the Bay", and even "The Alphabet Song". I have a Pandora account, and when I found out I was pregnant I set up a kids' station and started to shape it with various songs like the ones I just mentioned. Working full-time, I didn't pay a truckload of attention to it because really... when you're selling airplane parts it doesn't matter that when Mother Duck quacked that no little ducks came waddling back. However, now that I'm home I pay a lot more attention to the songs that come on while I sing along to them with - or I guess for at this point - Will. So yes, I am here to say that I have a favorite version of most kids' songs right now. I especially have a favorite version of "Five Little Monkeys" called "No More Monkeys" by Asheba. It's great. Seriously.

Now you can have it in your head for days! I love this version. Seriously. 

Being a Parent is Seriously Like Nothing Else Ever

If you're pregnant with your first child and you're reading this, you need to know that everyone who finds out you're pregnant is going to tell you that it is the best thing that will ever happen to you. They'll stress "No, seriously, it's awesome" like you don't believe them. I can assure you that it's not that they think that you don't believe them. The reason, I've discovered, for this additional emphasis on the awesomeness of being a parent is because it's virtually impossible to put into words how awesome it really is. Sure, there are days that can be incredibly frustrating and moments when you just want to crawl and hide. What I've learned, however, is that watching as this person - who did NOT EXIST before and that YOU NURTURED INSIDE YOUR BODY - grows and becomes more and more independent, more and more autonomous, and more and more a person unto themselves is the most rewarding, unspeakably amazing experience I've ever had. Being Will's Mommy has single-handedly clouded over most other experiences I've had. Being a parent alongside Steve while we raise this little person into - eventually, and faster than I'd prefer - into a little man is the single biggest blessing we've ever received.

There really is nothing else like it in the world.

I am wrapping this up as I hear his babbles come over the monitor as he wakes up from his second nap on the day. I'm going to go get him and spend some time with him like I do every afternoon when he wakes up. These are moments to cherish... I don't want to miss any.