Saturday, January 21, 2012

On Raising a Baby

A guest post from Mommy
Some of the stages of raising a puppy bear obvious similarities to the stages of raising a human baby.  For months, we "moms" and "dads" divide our lives into one-, then two-, then three-hour increments according to the length of time that our little ones can go without peeing or eating or whining.  We leave the party early, if we even go at all; we get up in the middle of the night.  Teething is a pain, first baths are sweet, proofing the house is an ongoing chore, and so on.

It's some of the less obvious, silly similarities between these two types of "parenting" that I'd like to write about today.  See, we have snow on the ground this morning, and as I was putting on my heavier socks and layers of sweaters and big ugly boots in order to get my crying baby dog from this indoor side of the window to that outdoor one where all the fluffy white fun is waiting, I really felt the call of Mom Duty.

First, raising a puppy for these several months has been a lot like raising a baby because...

1.  Every season brings fresh joy and photo opportunities.

While puppies don't (usually) have a fashionable sundress in their first Summer and a new mini peacoat in their first Winter, they do share the wide-eyed wonder of a sweet child when they experience things like swimming and snow for the first time.

2.  Strangers often address a puppy first, just like they address a baby in a stroller, even though their statements and questions are mostly intended for momma's ears.

"You're just so adorable! How old are you?"  This is usually fine, when my response is met with eye contact and a pleasant conversation.  It's awkward, however, when a whole discussion about the dog happens without any real acknowledgement of me.. the owner.. the only other party available with the ability to speak..

3.  When babies sleep, parents really, really, really want to sleep.

I'm just 8 weeks old in this photo!
Even if you weren't the one awake with their middle-of-the-night needs.  On our first morning waking up with Margot, I took her outside at dawn.  Our first hours together the day before had been so exciting - a new state, a new family, a new big yard to explore - none of us had slept much.  When we came inside from our little morning walk, GoGo curled up at my feet on the softest spot in the recliner and fell fast asleep.  Needless to say, moments later, so did I.  She's a much larger and stronger puppy now, but I still want to fall asleep every time I see her peaceful face curled close to her paws.

4.  We all deal with cranky toddler moments.

A puppy just doesn't want to waste her time on sleep.  Why take a quick nap when you could keep yourself awake by stealing pens off of the coffee table, getting in trouble, and nipping the fingers that feed you?  A puppy, like a toddler, is wild most of the time, until finally, she drops exhausted into a hard sleep.  In between, there are lots of cranky, if-I-fall-asleep-I-might-miss-something moments.

As a reasonable adult, of course I realize some key differences here.  So, I also want to share with you some ways in which raising a puppy is nothing at all like raising a baby...

1.  Teething babies don't typically bite as hard or as often as daggar-toothed puppy dogs.

2.  Potty training happens a lot faster for smart puppies like litte miss Margot.

3.  When a human baby does something that it's not supposed to do, it is not generally considered to be in good taste to spray them in the face with a water bottle to get them to stop.  On the contrary, when a human baby does something nice, no one's first reaction is to feed them a little frozen broccoli to encourage similar behavior in the future.


  1. Fun comparisons, Sarah and so true. Ogey can't wait to play with GoGo again.

  2. What a great post! I am going through so much of this right now with my puppy Ginger!