Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Long before I became a mom, starting even before I became Teh Wifey, I worked in childcare.  I was employed at churches, daycares, YMCAs, and eventually moved onto becoming a full time nanny.  There were so many observations and lessons that I learned while working with children that were not my own, so many of my ideals and theories on raising children were formed during those years.  There are a few that I developed then that I now have discovered I was just a naïve non parent but many remained with me. 

One idea has stuck with me more than a lot of them.  What I am about to say will actually upset some parents, in fact I made this comment to one of the parents I was a nanny for their young daughter and she was not amused.  Myself now being a parent though, can confirm this 100%- raising babies pretty much is like raising dogs. 

Ok for those who are offended that I just compared your special snowflake to a dog, take the following facts into consideration:

The biggest thing new parents (regardless if you have become a parent of a human child or fur child) complain about their new addition is the sleepless nights and lack of toilet training.  They say a puppy can go the same amount of hours between potty breaks as their age in months.  As with an infant, a puppy will wake you up every few hours for a potty or feeding break.  Also in the same fashion, middle of the night wakings are not a simple open the door, potty break, back in crate/bed sleep cycle (pick baby up, feed/diaper change, back in bassinette/bed).  It is more of a open door, puppy takes FOREVER to find the perfect spot then notices fun cricket and gets distracted, then takes another five minutes to find another perfect spot, put them back in the crate/bed but they won’t lie down because now they are ready to play!! (pick up screaming baby , baby fights you on changing diaper, kicking feet, refusing to eat because the light is more interesting, lay baby down but they want to be held longer/stare at your face/sleep in your arms)  Luckily, as with both puppies and babies, this phase really does fly by and the worst of it will be only a distant memory.


Also, have you ever noticed that when your dog is young, they seem to only want to play with things that are definitely not toys?  Same with Baby.  She could be a in a room full of Consumer Report’s best toys yet all she will want to play with is the electrical plugs, your cell phone (a toy one is NOT ok), or open and close the door on her tiny fingers.  Both babies and dogs will also look at you, right before they go for a non toy and watch your reaction to see if they will get in trouble.  When you give a stern “no”, they will sit and stare at that forbidden fruit, look up at you again and then lunge for it.  Of course this elicits the whole remove baby/puppy away from dangerous “toy” for them only to crawl right back over to it and repeat cycle again move. 

One of the sweetest comparisons between the two though are that babies don’t care about your social status, what you wear, what car you drive or what the square footage of your house is.  This won’t matter to your dogs either.  Both only care about what kind of love and attention you give, and that you give it often.  With babies, and just like a dog, all you have to do is look at them and make a funny face or smile and they get excited.  A simple pat on the head (or stroke across a babe’s hair) will comfort and relax them.  They seek out your approval and want to please you.  Both puppies and babies are the best cuddle partners, with the way they curl their bodies into yours.  

There are many other things that compare babies to dogs, chewing on everything or having to keep a leash on them in public-totally joking about this one…kinda.   I’ve heard that if a couple wants to practice parenting to get a dog, and I really do feel like that is true.  I think Shrek, our very sweet yet certifiably insane dog, really did prepare us for a baby in many ways.  So far, the adjustment from going from not having a (human) child has been much smoother than going from just the two of us to our fur baby.  Of course, Shrek will remain with the mindset of a three year old, so I’m not quite sure how we will do once we pass that age with Baby, but for now things are good.




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