Let me tell you a story. It's a story about a little boy, almost three years old, who was heading out to the park with his mom and wanted to bring his favorite toy with him. His mom told him that he'd have to carry if it he wanted to bring it; she wasn't going to carry it for him. Full of enthusiasm, the little boy grabbed the toy and off they went. It was only a five minute walk to the park, but the little boy had dropped the toy seven times before they'd arrived. By the time they got back home from their outing, the toy had been in his mom's pocket for a full hour.
You might have guessed, but that story is not actually about a little boy - at least, it's not about a human child. It's about Charlie. I'm his mom, obviously, and the toy was a tennis ball that, somehow, always got dropped on an incline and ended up buried in a big pile of leaves that I'd then have to dig through.
Basically, Charlie is a toddler.
Look, I understand that dogs are not children. I really do. But I feel like I'll be pretty well prepared for having kids - or for having toddlers, at least - because of Charlie. I've done a lot of babysitting over the past fifteen years, and I've said almost everything I say to my dog to the younger children I've watched at one point or another. And my conversations with my wonderful dogwalker and my parents, when they have Charlie, are probably the same conversations I'll eventually have with my child's caretakers. (Who knew you could actually want updates on bowel movements? I've gotten really comfortable with asking if Charlie's had a good poop.) Anyway, here are some examples of the things I say to Charlie that I could be saying to any toddler:
What a big noise! Was that a truck, Charlie? It was a truck! It was a big truck. And it made a big noise! Were you scared? That's okay! It's just a truck. It's parking. We don't have to watch the truck park. Let's keep walking!
Look, Charlie, a puppy! Do you want to say hello to puppy? He's excited to see you! But gentle, Charlie. Gentle! He's littler than you, so be gentle. Good boy, Charlie! That's nice. You made a new friend!
It's alright, Charlie! It was just thunder. Don't worry, Charlie, it won't come get us. It's okay! Sit with me. Shhh. It's okay. It's just thunder. Come here, Charlie. It's okay. The thunder won't hurt us. Come here. Shhh. It's okay. It's just thunder.
It's sleep time, Charlie. No, Charlie, we're not going to play. No, you don't need more water. It's time to go to sleep. Lie down, close your eyes, and go to sleep. It's sleep time. Come on, I know you're tired. You did a lot of running around today! Let's go to sleep. Okay? Okay. That's good, sweet boy.
Does any of this sound familiar to you, dear readers? If you have a dog, I bet it does. Link up with us - I'd love to hear about your experiences with a pet as a family member! Emily and Sara and I are all focusing on how our dogs are preparing us for children, but you can take this topic in any direction. Have fun with it!