Tuesday, August 17, 2010

the puppy love blues

He only looks innocent...

At this moment, many of my close friends, casual friends, former colleagues, old college buddies, Facebook acquaintances, and first cousins are having babies. That probably seems like a lot of babies, and it is. It is a veritable baby boom in these parts, and for the most part I'm okay with that. Yes, I'm seeing my friends a bit less, as both pregnancy and child-rearing are time consuming pursuits, but I'm okay with sharing. In fact, I may even be an attendant at one friend's home birth, which is pretty exciting. I'm interested in experiencing the process of child birth, but only from a comfortable distance. 

You see, I like children. I love the kids I know - they are often funny, entertaining, sweet, and better company than most adults. But just because I like kids, admire my friends who choose to become parents, and will gladly offer babysitting services when the time comes, I don't particularly want children of my own. I have some personal reasons for this decision, but I think it's weird that while you're expected to have a list of excuses for why you don't want your own children, no one questions you when you decide to become a parent. I don't want to say that I'd rather have a career, or the freedom to travel, or claim environmental reasons, because I know that I could still write a book, travel as much as I want, and save the world, even with a kid tagging along. I just don't feel like having one. Will I change my mind one day? Will my biological clock start an incessant ticking? Will the idea of pregnancy, parenthood, progeny, be more palatable as I grow older? Your guess is as good as mine. All I know is how I feel right now, and right now I just don't see myself ever becoming a mother. 

Which is an awkward way of segueing into the latest puppy drama, because in my world, dogs = children, and Calvin is turning out to be a problem child. You see, he has not yet learned that he's not, in fact, top dog. He is actually the lowest ranking member of our family, but try telling him that. I dare you. I don't remember Seamus being this strong-willed, this prone to crazy fits of jumping, barking and biting. It's kind of like that kid you see throwing a tantrum in the cereal aisle of the grocery store, except with really sharp teeth. I know he's capable of learning, obeying, and controlling himself. He has moments of pure sweetness, of doing exactly what I ask. But then, he gets in mood and goes on a tear, and Seamus is too passive to tell the puppy what's what, and then I find myself pulling Calvin into a corner, saying NO too loudly, too shrilly, and feeling like a failure of a dog parent. 

On the bright side, he is only four months old. We've had him for just three and a half weeks. We start obedience training next Tuesday. Puppy-hood is a stage, and the shortest part of a good dog's life. Hope is on the way. I just wish it would get here a little faster.


  1. Rough childhood = easy teenage years. At least, that's what we're hoping with Liam. Maybe the same applies to dogs?

  2. I like that. Maybe he's getting it all out of his system now? I will cross my fingers for both of us! We keep telling ourselves, at least he has personality. Maybe not the one we'd like, but he's got it! :)

  3. I was too intimidated to take on a puppy (for the same reason I am none to interested in tackling human parenting oddly) so that's why we opted for a sprite two-year-old Boston Terrier.

    I agree with your thoughts on parenthood, and for the most part transition each new birth peacefully and with admiration and true happiness for the people involved. Some people though, wow, can get annoying and all-knowing, and I have a harder time. I haven't been harassed too badly about the empty state of my own uterus, but my reasons are always going to be my own. I'll approach it when and IF I ever feel the desire. It's certainly not a mandate for my own happiness.

  4. Ohhh puppies. They can definitely be weapons of mass destruction! Little hellion tornadoes with teeth that like to chew everything and bladders that don't know when to quit. I PROMISE you that he will mellow it, it might take some time, but he will and it will be SO worth it.

    We got (one of our 3 dogs) Jack when he was 10 months old. We found him wandering down the side of the road, totally wild. He was ready to LOVE but he had no concept that he was 70lbs and that we were the boss, and that our house wasn't a giant chew toy litter box. It took a while, about a year, and now he is GOOD. Really good. We didn't even do obedience training, just taught him to mind his manners at home, and he caught on and is now peachy keen. It wasn't even hard, it just took patience.

    I don't want kids at this point in my life, either. In fact, I can't envision myself ever wanting them. I'm open to the fact that might change, but it hasn't so far so who knows. But you are right, when people here that it just blows their mind. "WHY!?!?" they ask me. I just look at them, and shrug. No one asks them WHY they have kids, why should anyone ask me WHY I don't!?!

  5. @Jessica - A two year old dog would have been nice. At least he'll be two eventually! And thanks for the nice words about the baby part. I was a little nervous hitting publish, which is just silly.

    @Voracious Vegan - Thanks for sharing that story! It makes me feel every more hopeful!

  6. If we can, in fact, compare dogs to children (I'm a firm believer that they're very much the same) it hurts my heart to tell you that I was a "problem child" and problem teen :/ Only when I became an "adult" did I become more tolerable. I feel sure that's not exactly what you want to hear, but that's reality. And I'm fairly certain that you and I will be able to compare notes when Baby Kate gets here. I see her being my Calvin. Wyatt has been a Seamus from Day One and continues to be just about the best behaved kid I've ever known. Surely I can't get that lucky twice?

    And regarding the pregnancy/motherhood issue, I'd like to say that I appreciate your position. Lots of people out there think that having children is just essential. To me, it was. But that's a little like you assuming everyone in the world should be a vegan or a dog lover. Right? And people would say that was silly. And I gotta say, pregnancy is about the least desirable state I can think of to be in. I know all would also not agree on that, but for me, it's very near torture. I'm a huge fan of the finished product, but could do without all the other. Different strokes...

  7. The solution to your problem (?) is simple. Have a tubal ligation, or have your significant other get a vasectomy. When someone asks you why you're not having children, simply tell them you're not physiologically capable. And, since you're pretty adamant about not procreating, it's a win-win.

  8. I don't believe you. Clearly, this puppy is perfectly behaved.

    Since we're trading stories, my coworker potty-trained his daughter while potty-training his dog. It took a while to convince her [human daughter] to use the toilet, but she got really good at notifying her parents when it was time to go. Yes, true story.

  9. Oh man he is sooooo cute.

    I know exactly what you mean about the dogs/kids thing. I don't have kids either and I'm not sure that I want any, but whenever my friends with kids talk about, say, trying to get them to sleep through the night or stop whining, I have a really hard time not saying, "well, with my dog, when he whines...." Not sure that would go over well!

    But he will definitely grow out of the bad behavior soon, I'm sure. And after a while you won't even remember how tough it was.

  10. He may be a problem child, but he's a darn gorgeous one! And I've long since harboured resentment at the idea that it's anything other than perfectly reasonable for a woman not to want to have children. Thanks for being another shining example of women doing whatever they damn well please and refusing to let society make them feel like arse about it. You rock! x

  11. @cmm - Thanks for understanding about the baby thing! Yes, dogs, veganism and pregnancy are not for everyone. Though I never would have guessed that you disliked being pregnant! You make it look easy and adorable!

    @Anon - I think I was pretty clear that while I don't want children now I'm not completely ruling it out in the future. My point was that I dislike the assumption that everyone with ovaries will eventually produce a child. Not so, for many reasons, and being able or unable to is barely the tip of the iceberg.

    @Jen - Calvin is pretty good about going outside. That, and sleeping through the night in the kitchen. I guess it could be much worse!

    @Kate - I don't remember any of Seamus' growing pains, so maybe you're right!

    @Monster Girl - Thank you! You are too kind. Glad to be of service! ;)

  12. That's all part of the ridge back in him. Gosh, his face looks SO much like Bowser's! Do his ears do funny things?

  13. @Erica - no funny ear things yet, though he likes to give Seamus an ear massage. Seamus actually enjoys that.

    Will you be in town this weekend? Bowser and Calvin NEED to meet!

  14. I have to say, I'm almost glad I am dealing with the pregnancy from hell and not the terrible toddler years right now, as that is surely what Calvin is. But I do (vaguely) remember Molly's puppyhood. She has always been a sweet, sweet and lovely companion, but my God was SHE BAD! She didn't really chew up taboo items or even get into stuff, but she would break windows (from excitement!), use her tail as a weapon of mass destruction, and not act very sportsmanlike at puppy kindergarten. These things seem minor, but they turned me into a screeching harpy for sure, at times. Hang in there! When my baby starts teething, you can console me. :)

    By the way, the Anonymous commenters are getting very bold. I think if you instruct someone to alter their physiology, you should at least offer a first name out of courtesy. Now get a boob job! ;)

  15. @Mary - these puppy stories will be fun to tell later in life, perhaps at Calvin's wedding. Har, har.

    And you're right - my Anonymous commenters are in a class by themselves!