I don’t know who first decided to domesticate dogs, but I’m willing to bet they didn’t have a toddler.
The husband and I adopted our first when we were in college. It was when we became “Mom” and “Dad”, and it certainly made us grow up. With Patton, our over-friendly 90 lb. Boxer, I got a crash course in “it’s not all about me.”
Patton was the first to pee on me, vomit on me (I think), and his was the first mountain of poop I cleaned from nearly every surface of our home. I discovered how easily one could become embarrassed because of the actions of another, but also found that my heart could love in a whole new way, like it never had before. I realized that if it came to it, I would do whatever it took to protect my precious one, a feeling that has only grown since we welcomed our little human.
Why we got Pace, our Westie, I’ll never know. I said it was to entertain Patton, and while she has, I’ve questioned her membership in our family on more than one occasion. From being three years-old and still managing to urinate on something of value once a week to snacking on her own poo, she hasn’t been the best role model for our toddler.
When I was pregnant I remember thinking “There is no way I’ll love anyone like I love those pooches.” And I was right. Somehow, I love our squishy human more.
We made it through the first year without notable incidence, but as our baby became a toddler, things got real. The tail and ear pulling – it all happened. The fur children have been patient without little prince, for the most part. And even for the times they’ve snapped at him, they earn their keep with the post-mealtime clean up.
The other day, as our beautiful boy uttered his first sentence – “poop, eat!” – many things ran through my head. First, “I hope this is because he watched the dogs eat their own creations.” Then, “Or maybe it’s because he saw Patton swipe his poop out of his diaper during a change this week.” To, “OH GOD – Please don’t let it be because he ate his own feces!” You now see why the first thought was the best possible choice.
I then realized, this is what makes the life of a parent of a toddler and fur children. This and the fact that our son prefers to eat his food (on a plate, most of the time) on the floor while propped on all fours.; or that his latest anatomical discovery was followed by forcibly pulling his fur brother’s. That’s better than the first time I caught him just before he attached to his brother’s “nipple” (hint: not his nipple).
If we knew what it would be like, would our wrinkle-free selves have adopted that happy-go-lucky Boxer and cantankerous Westie a few years back? Probably not, but I’m sure happy to have the cuddles and laughs.