The other day a friend of mine told me that she understands the craziness of my life because she just got two new puppies, and it is NUTS at her house. At first I just stared at her in disbelief, then I laughed hysterically. But it got me thinking…this isn’t the first time I’ve heard people liken having puppies or dogs to having children. I’m fairly sure I even made the comparison myself, before having the girls. Because until you have kids, you have NO idea. You just don’t know what crazy is. And to prove this to you, here are some ways that dogs and children differ.
1. Puppies come to you at around 8 weeks of age, fully weaned, running, and ready to play. Babies..not so much. Ignoring the entire pregnancy and birthing process, babies take a year to start eating real food and walking. That’s a year of late-night feedings, and a year of carrying your baby around everywhere you go. No just snapping on a leash and hitting the road.
2. Puppies potty train within weeks of coming home. Toddlers, on the other hand, can take years. YEARS of dirty diapers, of poopslosions, of peeing in your face, of peeing on your couch, of pooping in your lap. You get the picture. Cleaning up your puppy’s messes has NOTHING on cleaning up after a toddler who has discovered that poop is just like finger paint that you make yourself.
3. You are allowed, in fact encouraged, to train your puppy to sleep through the night by locking him in a small crate. Try that with your kids, and you’ll find out if orange really is the new black.
4. You can call your dog a asshole and not feel guilty about it. You also don’t have to worry about your dog repeating those words in front of other people. Actually, I wish my dog would start cursing. Then at least I could make some money off the little jerk.
5. You can have a dog and still have a life. Need to go to the grocery store? Pop Fido in his cozy little crate, grab your wallet, and be on your way. Same with going out with your friends on a Friday night. Not with kids. Junior has to go with you everywhere. No crates for babies. Going to the grocery store with a baby is more like an Antarctic expedition. You need the carrier, blankets, toys, snacks, lists, coupons (because now that you have kids, you have a LOT less money), diapers, wipes, and….. you get the point. As for going out on a Friday…unless you can shell out for a sitter, your ass is staying home. Sitters don’t make a couple bucks an hour like they did when we were young, either. We’re talking $10 an hour in most places. Good luck with that.
6. Babies cost more. I don’t care how many toys, treats, beds, clothes, or organic dog food bags you buy for your dog, it has nothing on a baby. And toddlers? Helloooo growth spurts, goodbyyye money. They will eat you out of house and home. And they aren’t satisfied with eating the same dry kibble every day, either. Once they get off of breast milk or formula, they will eat everything. I swear they can taste how expensive something is, too, and they will decide that the thing they want more than anything is the most expensive food in the house. Don’t even get me started on the cost of daycare, preschool, or activities. I’m going to need a second mortgage to pay for gymnastics.
7. Babies take up more space. Before we had kids, we lived in a 20’x20′ apartment with two dogs, two cat, and two snakes. We had plenty of room. It was great. Then the girls were born, and we realized that this just wasn’t going to work anymore. So we bought a house. Holy crap. Talk about expensive.
8. Dogs love you unconditionally. No matter what I do, my dog loves me. If I have to go somewhere, he is waiting for me at the door, tail wagging and tongue lolling out the side of his mouth, just happy as can be. If I don’t have time to rub his belly, he forgives me and lays at my feet until I can give him a quick pat. I can call him any name under the sun, and he will just keep licking my face. My girls, on the other hand, are a bit less forgiving. Now, I know they love me, and that the always will, but they are almost four, so… If I go somewhere without them: tantrum. If I don’t drop everything I’m doing to pay 100% attention to them: tantrum. If I give them the wrong color cup: tantrum. You get the picture. I know its not that they don’t love me. I’m not an idiot. But they sure have crazy ways of showing it at this age. Dogs, on the other hand, are much simpler in their emotions.
9. Dogs don’t care about Barney. Or Strawberry Shortcake. They don’t cry if I want to watch Master Chef instead of one more episode of Daniel Tiger. Foster (my dog) just cares that he gets to snuggle up to me on the couch a little longer.
10. Dogs are quieter, even when they are barking. Until you have experienced the ear-shattering sound of a toddler who hasn’t gotten their own way, you have NO idea what noise is.
Let me say again that I love my kids and my dog, even though there are times I wish I could lock all three of them in the crate. But they are different. Very different.