Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Be Careful What You Wish For...

I hate puppies. Really. They're great when they belong to someone else and I can pet them and watch them play and then they go somewhere else, but I'd rather not have a puppy in my home. Ironically, last summer I brought a puppy into my home. While I prefer a completely untrained, full grown adolescent dog any day of the week, I knew I wanted a performance pet and I stood a better chance of getting that with a puppy than a rescue dog. Don't get me wrong, rescued dogs can be awesome performers, but for a variety of reasons, I got a collie puppy. I don't regret getting her, I just wish she'd been born an adolescent and skip the whole puppy thing.

Puppies are some of the most adorable things on this planet, for the first 5 months or so. Then they start to look like adults and act like teenagers with sharp teeth. They still tend to pee on everything, may not be sleeping through the night yet, and have the attention span of a gnat with ADHD.

While my Havana was adorable, she was also all of the above. She'd pee on the floor and I'd say "I can't wait until you're 7 or 8 months and have a big enough bladder to hold it better." She'd go into the show ring and wiggle around and I'd say "I wish you were older already so you'd be less wiggly for the judge." The little beastie still chews on inappropriate things and I say "I can't wait for you to be two when you're more likely to stop that sort of thing." The list goes on and on.

Havana is a year now and much of her annoying puppiness is gone. She still has some problems - like the chewing - that are on going, but at least she's got a bigger bladder and a longer attention span. I don't miss her puppy days at all. If I do, I look at her pictures, remember how cute she was, but also how sharp her teeth were and how much she barked and my puppy pangs are gone. She is a wonderful dog because of her puppyhood and I'm grateful for it, but I'm also grateful those days are a minority compared to the long life I hope we'll have together.

In contrast, I have loved just about every minute of BabyBug's life so far. Even when she gets into tantrums or is sick, I keep telling myself that this won't last forever. And when she is older and gets angry or frustrated, those tantrums are probably going to look pretty good. And she may not want to cuddle with me on the couch when she's sick, so I try to look for the good in the bad times.

I recently caught myself saying "I can't wait for you to be able to really talk." I instantly took it back. I can wait. It's just so much fun hearing her pick the words to formulate her thoughts. Yesterday she realized my husband wasn't in his office and she thought about it for a little bit and said "Bye bye...Daddy. Bye bye." It was neat, much neater than if she was able to say right off the bat "Daddy's not in his office right now. Where did he go?" Those days will come soon enough. These days of exploring language are just so short.

Thinking back, I had to make myself slow down and enjoy her current moments several times. Yes, I couldn't wait for her to roll over, but then she didn't want to nap curled up in my arms on the couch. I wished that she could walk so I didn't have to break my back carrying her all of the time - but then she wouldn't do her funky little Frankenbaby crawl, so I stopped wishing. I knew enough not to wish her into walking too fast after that - after all, then nothing in the house would be sacred! (And it's not...) I was excited for her to eat solid food, but I didn't push it too fast because I was finally enjoying nursing her.

It's ironic that someone who is trying desperately to hold onto every moment of my child's babyhood would wish my dog's puppyhood away so quickly. I'm not sure why it is, but there you go. Whether it's a puppy or a baby, be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it! And if you do, who knows what you'll be giving up in return for the new horizons.