Now before I start, I need to disclose the fact that I have shared my home with a male canine in the past, and now I share it with two small male humans. The more I think about this subject, the more I think they are basically one and the same.
I can’t remember the last time I got to eat everything on my plate without somebody begging or downright harassing me for my food.
On reflection, the dog was slightly less annoying as I could easily cope with a black labrador sprawled across my feet slobbering into my slippers, or sitting as close to me as possible and giving me the ole’ puppy dog eyes and occasional whine. He was also great for any spillages and dealt with any floor food in an efficient and timely manner.
My own offspring however can manipulate a situation or tag team me to get the required results, do not underestimate a 4 year old and 18 month old!! Stanley will ask for a drink to send me over to the sink, or James will start to climb out of his highchair knowing that I am weak against my maternal instincts and leave my plate unguarded for Stanley to steal from. They then have a system where they divvy up the goodies.
The food on my plate was undoubtedly more tasty than the biscuits languishing in the dogs bowl so I can understand the appeal from the dogs point of view.
Usually I have the exact same meal on my plate as the boys have on theirs which is why I struggle to comprehend the need to try mine. On the rare occasion we have something different it is usually because it’s spicy. Therefore, (and I’ll use a recent example) the stolen piece of chorizo will be mauled, licked, nibbled and slobbered on before being tossed back onto my plate unwanted.
The dog was completely unbiased, he would happily go for any food that was in the vacinity, the boys however seem to single me out. I’ve yet to see them take anything from Ben’s plate.
It’s basic knowledge that dogs need a lot of exercising to keep them fit and active. I have some lovely memories of peaceful walks in the countryside, early morning, dusk or just whenever the mood took us. Armed with just a pocket full of poo bags we were good to go!! We would get back in from our walks and relax, me with a cuppa and the dog curled up infront of the fire.
Absolutely nobody warned me how much energy boys have and how much exercising they need!!
My life has been taken over by boys stuff. To go for a walk the minimum amount of ‘equipment’ requires a rucksack or two. There’s drinks, snacks, more snacks, a random toy, puddlesuits, sunhats, suncream, a magnifying glass and then essentials like babywipes and nappies. The absolute worst kind of excursion might also involve a mode of transport such as a balance bike or scooter.
This will be discarded about a quarter of the route in, and for the remainder of the walk I’ll struggle to carry it along with everything else.
Magic happens around boys too, yep I’m being absolutely serious!! Say for example we’ve packed a picnic, and set off for a walk. The bag is heavy but will become lighter once we’ve eaten our picnic, right?
The boy magic always makes bags or pockets heavier. When you get home you will find that rocks, sticks, more rocks, a conker, a ring pull, a snail shell, and probably a few more rocks have magically appeared in your rucksack. These precious items must then be hoarded and NEVER thrown away. Some may reappear (it’s the magic, you see) as gifts on special occasions such as Mothers Day because they are so very very precious.
Our dog used to enjoy a good brush but mention a bath and it would be a different story. The only way we managed was to put him on his lead, tie him to something then use a strategic pincer manoeuvre armed with doggy shampoo and sponges.
It’s a similar story with the boys. They are both quite happy to lie on me and get their hair combed, ears cleaned, fingernails trimmed, and other essential maintenance. But, a bath? There will be protests, delaying tactics and sudden pangs of hunger or dehydration. There will be wrestling off of clothes and bare bottoms making a run for it to hide behind curtains.
BUT, this is where everything changes…once they are in the tub, with foamy bubbles, the correct amount of toys and the water at optimum temperature…they don’t want to get out!! They will persevere and wait it out until fingers and toes are wrinkled, they have succeeded in displacing most of the water onto the bathroom floor, and the remaining water is stone cold. Only THEN will they want to be removed.
When in the great outdoors dogs will take any given opportunity to cock their legs and mark their territory, leaving little hormonal messages for any other passing canine to sniff at.
Boys are exactly the same (and from what I’ve witnessed this follows through into adulthood too). They get great pleasure from wild wee’s, weeing up against trees, watering the grass and even trying it out between open car doors on a carpark. James, even though he’s still in nappies likes to produce as many wet ones as physically possible when we are without toilet/baby change facilities. I think he sees it as a bit of a challenge to keep me on my toes. Stanley meanwhile has recently mastered the art and pure unbridled joy of stand up wees….I’m just going to leave that there!
And my final comparison is that owning a dog guarantees you a warm welcome home….the wagging tail, the excited jumping up and then the weight of a furry head upon your lap.
Having boys, well it wins hands down!! The cry of ‘Mummmmmy’ as you open the door, the sound of little feet racing towards you and tiny hands grabbing at your legs. The sloppy kisses, the cuddles and the pure joy on their faces now that I’m home. Unconditional love. The weight of two sleepy little boys leaning against me and the chubby little hand curling around my fingers. The hot damp breath against my cheek as I watch them sleep on my chest.
During this pregnancy complete strangers have asked me if I’m hoping for a girl this time around…the honest answer is NO I have never even entertained the idea, but now I’m thinking it might just be a puppy.
All images are my own.