When I was pregnant with K-Pants, a co-worker stopped by my cubicle.
- Her: Are you getting a dog to prepare for the baby?
- Me: No.
- Her: Don’t you want to see if you’ll be able to handle having a baby?
- Me: Then we’ll have a dog AND a baby.
Common advice says: Get a dog before having a baby to test your parent responsibility levels. But no one talks about the fact that once you get the dog it doesn’t go away. Here’s what happens:
Your four-week-old baby wants to be fed. The dog wants to be walked. You want a shower and some sleep, but you would settle for a bagel. Your husband/wife/lover is not around to help with the baby or the dog. Also, it’s raining. Now the dog is whining and scratching the door, and the baby is screaming because a) your milk let-down is too strong, b) you can’t get a bottle ready fast enough, or c) she has colic. The dog is so mad that the baby won’t go away that he pees on the floor and then eats a rock–a big rock. The dog’s whine is like a high-pitched dagger in your eardrums, and he needs to go to the vet. So you have to load the baby and her 40 pounds of gear, the dog, and the dog’s crate into your car and drive to the vet while everyone screams.
0“You’re exaggerating,” you say.
No, I’m not.
Couples saving dogs from the pound for the purposes of pre-parenting should be required to do a house visit with a family who has a dog and a baby.
Even if the new parents put on a brave face, Drisket (the part-Lab, part-Rottweiler, part-Weimaraner mix) will be barking like a madman in the backyard, peeing on the kitchen floor, or trying to hump the couch cushions again. And again. And…
Or maybe they’ll have drugged Drisket. New parents are crazy.
Given, the pro-dog-as-preparation-for-baby people have their reasons: Puppies and babies both make loud noises, can’t control their bowels, have regular feeding times, and need constant attention. Plus, dogs and babies require planning. You can’t just leave a dog or a baby at home for the weekend with a bowl of food and some water while you head to a quaint bed and breakfast. (Cat people, point for you.) And you can’t meet co-workers for drinks without figuring out who will take out the dog or pick up the baby from daycare. Life gets complicated. Fast.
Dogs and babies will do that to you.
So I say: Why bring it on early?
Enjoy your last baby-free months without a furry pseudo-baby.
I hear that some people like dogs.
Awesome! That is a fine reason to get a dog. You should get a dog because you want a dog.*
You should have a baby because you want a baby./
*Also, some dogs are really good with babies, and dogs eat all the food that your baby drops on the floor–although I always just let K-Pants eat off the floor so that solves that problem.
So if you’re looking at your future and thinking, I want to have kids someday, but I don’t know if I can handle all the changes (the not going out at night, the extra gear, the fact that my fun-stuff budget will become anorexic), then why not just babysit someone else’s kids for a week while their parents go on a much-needed vacation to Hawaii? We’re flexible on the timing, but I’m thinking April.