Monday, June 8, 2009

Accepting What Is

I greatly dislike puppies. Don't get me wrong, they are adorable and fun...when they belong to someone else. I love teaching puppy class because for one hour a week I can be surrounded by puppies and then they all go home to poop on someone else's floor and chew on someone else's stuff. I think I've mentioned before that I really like adolescent dogs because they're learning sponges with bladders that are good for at least a couple of hours and they can sleep through the night.

Part of my feeling comes from the fact Cousteau was such an awful puppy. Peeing, pooping, biting, chewing, barking, exploring all the wrong things, etc. But the light at the end of my dark, dark puppy tunnel was that every 4 weeks or so he would magically stop a bad habit. I came to revel in these milestones and looked forward to him getting older. Havana was a much better puppy, but I still enjoyed watching her get older and older, approaching the 12 month mark where she'd finally be "fun". (i.e. able to compete in flyball, do more in agility, go running, be old enough to be spayed, etc.) I had occasional pangs of the lost puppy, but otherwise I pretty much celebrated.

My feelings about human babies are completely the opposite. I would keep having human babies from now until I was no longer able to, if only my pregnancies were easier and my husband would agree. I rejoice in every new trick and milestone, but at the same time my heart tears a little because that means my baby is getting older and farther away from being my baby.

When Cousteau lost his first baby tooth, I partied like it was 1999. (Oh wait, it was...) He'd still probably mouth me too hard, but at least his new teeth wouldn't have that sharp point anymore. Sprout popped her first tooth and I mourned the loss her perfect, pink shiny gums. Yes, it means that she's ready for a wider variety of solid food, which means that she's no longer as dependent on me, but she's no longer so dependent on me. (Ambivalent much?)

In my quest to hold on to every little baby moment first Bug and now Sprout have had, I realize that I'm missing out on some of the joys of parenting. That's when I started to see the huge contrast between my feelings on puppies and on infants. And then it hit me - I need to see these changes (and we know I don't like change) in the same light for both puppies and babies. It is important for me to have big 1999-like celebrations for the every day little things my daughters grow up to do. Mourning yesterday isn't going to bring it back, but it will stop me from fully enjoying today.

Bring on those new sizes of clothing! On with the progression of vegetables and fruits! Let's hear it for sitting up and scooting! Ok, it's going to take some work, but at least now I have a model to follow.

And while I work on appreciating my babies' race through childhood, I find myself remembering the good things about Cousteau and Havana's puppyhoods like never before. I'll never love the fact that babies don't stay babies nearly long enough or that puppies are pooping, biting, chewing machines, but I have more balance now. And balance is good.

10 comments:

Abe Degnan said...

Nice writing and thoughts Jill. I've been through several puppies with my parents, but we got Jacques as an adolescent dog... man he was trouble until he got into his "20's". How funny, we have Jacques and you have Cousteau.

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