Monday, November 25, 2013

My Dog, My Toddler

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:

Charlie, don't eat that.  Don't eat that!  Charlie, that was on the ground.  It was in the dirt.  You don't want to eat that.  Charlie!  Gross.  Out of your mouth!  Yuck.

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!

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  1. I totally get it. I'm guilty of constantly asking Fifty questions as if one day he is going to reply, "yes, I would love to go for a walk."

  2. Charlie is freaking adorable. Black labs are just so special - my particular favorite which I think I've shared here before, if that they seem to re-discover you daily. "Oh! You exist! I love you!". It's like the best thing ever.

    We have a fish and that little dude is way part of our family. I love hopping over to his tank and saying hello - he's always swimming up to greet us and does this little wag of this body that seriously reminds me of the way our families pup Gracie wriggles her whole body with happiness. Crazy what love and joy even the smallest of creatures can bring into our lives.

  3. Yes! This is absolutely something that we do. We first realized that our pets were like children on our first road trip with Susie. We had to pack her bed, scratching post, toys, food... etc... add another dog in there and, well... 40% of the things we brought in our car belonged to the animals!

  4. My boyfriend and I have a 9 month old puppy named Duke and we treat him as though he were our human baby! I'm constantly researching the best toys, best food, best groomers! A few weeks ago he chewed up and ate a piece of his rubber toy and we both stayed up with him that night rubbing his belly, keeping him warm, making sure he was okay. The next morning at the vet I was like a really obsessive mom asking non stop questions about my little fur ball! And don't get me started on the conversations I have with him on a daily basis! He must think I'm a freak! Duke makes an appearance in many of my blog posts if you'd like to follow along! Your dog is absolutely beautiful by the way!

  5. Aww! Charlie is adorable! And ah, the tennis ball. We have to practically pry it out of our dog Elliot's mouth every single time we take him out to do his business.

    -Shannon (

  6. Yes! I do this with my cats all the time. "Get off the counter! Play nice! Tyler, go play with your sister! Get that out of your mouth! It's time to go to sleep!" The list goes on and on. It's hilarious how much we treat them like people :)

  7. My golden retriever, Eli, bears the brunt of the toddler-appropriate comments. He's the silly goon of the duo and Rose is a bit more collected and aloof (and until the past couple years, less than cuddly!) Those two bring us so much laughter.

  8. true confession: I can't STAND "furbaby" or any of the associated words like "furmom" or "furchild" or "furmama." can't STAND them. plus, our family tree is really complicated. I guess I would be Charlie's mom, but he know that I'm taking about MY mom when I tell him to "go find Mommy" when we're at my parents' house, so...

    hehe :)

  9. dogs bring SO much joy - it's really amazing.

  10. haha "go play with your sister" LOVE THAT!

  11. ooh yeah. the first time Charlie ate an entire length of aluminum foil - my fault, I'd baked a pizza on it so OBVIOUSLY it was irresistible - I called the vet in a full panic. this is what happens!

  12. Charlie can't focus on peeing and holding a tennis ball at the same time. he's a dummy. haha!

  13. haha SO true. my dogs are like my annoying little children and I totally try to talk to/reason with them. even with my one dog who is deaf haha. I still talk to her like she is my kid. and they are totally my kids :)
    -- jackie @ jade and oak


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