Lately I find myself comparing two major life decisions: getting a puppy versus having a baby.
Now before you go and get your panties in a bundle over the 'b' word, I'll go ahead and clarify: no, I'm not pregnant. And---as a side note---I think it's awful how any major 'exciting news' for a semi-newlywed-sans-child is automatically assumed to mean 'I'm knocked up!'. I admit that I assume the same thing about fellow non-parents-who-might-be-getting-pregnant-soon folks, and for that I do apologize. I guess it comes with the territory but it really sucks when you're like, "Guess what?" and someone is all, "You're pregnant?", and you're all, "Um, no--sorry to disappoint. I was just excited about asparagus being on sale this week. Nevermind." Perhaps I'm paranoid, no?
So anyway, where were we? Oh yes, puppies and infants [avoiding the 'b' word successfully here]. Because I'm a psycho Type A control freak, I feel most in control of my life when I plan the hell out of it. For instance, I cannot relate to those couples who say, "Whatever happens happens, we'll just float long life without a list/spreadsheet/care in the world and see where life takes us." No, no, no, my friends. I need many lists and timelines and pretty color-coded excel sheets or I might become certifiably insane [might be there already, huh?]. Deciding to have a kid is no different: I need a timeline, a game plan, and a check list. Which is exactly what I called upon when deciding to get a new puppy. Do you see a theme here?
So when Nate and I discuss having children, I find myself comparing this decision with The Great Henry Debate of 2005. You see, throughout college I always said I would buy myself a puppy as soon as I graduated and had a real job/place of my own. I don't think Nate ever took my threat seriously until I began researching the crap out of dog breeds. And oh yes, there were lists involved.
Initially, Nate was not fond of me getting a puppy because he thought it would be too much responsibility, it would hold us down from traveling, it would cost a lot, and his biggest [secret] fear was that I'd want to spend more time with the puppy than I would with him. We talked it to death and eventually I got my baby puppy. And guess who Henry has wrapped around his furry little paw more than anyone else in this house? Yep, hesitant little Nate is now utterly obsessed with Hankster. [I told you so, what?] :)
Looking back I think the fear of the unknown was a huge part of Nate's tentativeness. I mean, when you decide to get a puppy your entire world changes and neither one of us really KNEW what that would be like.
Well guess what? Neither one of us really KNOWS what it will be like to have a kid but if we're honest, we know it will completely change our lives. We are in that weird limbo stage where one day we think we are ready for a baby and the next we feel perfectly content with having free time and being child-free. Is anyone else in this same stage right now? I understand that these things cannot always be controlled and it's not something we can just snap our fingers and out pops a baby, and of course that thought frightens me. I have read way too many infertility blogs to think that making babies is easy. Because I'm neurotic I worry that when we are ready it might not happen for a long time after and my 28th birthday that is sneaking up in a matter of weeks just makes me feel like my eggs are shriveling up. Completely dramatic, I know. And heavy and depressing so let's move onto more about puppies instead [and no, I don't want one of those right now either. At least not today].
We were going over our potential baby timeline the other night and I had an epiphany: we were nervous about getting a puppy for the same reasons and look how that turned out. We survived, didn't we? Sure it was hard at times and I can't say that I want to go through that again any time soon, but oh--the memories.
Hold on, new mothers. Are you breathing fire yet? Don't hurl stones at your computer screens or curse my name in vain. I am fully aware that comparing a newborn child to a canine family addition isn't the most accurate. I realize that one decision is a little more important than the other considering it's a precious human life and all. But humor me for just one second as you read my list, okay? It's all in good fun I promise. A little sarcasm never hurt anyone:)
Compare: ways that getting a new puppy and having a baby are similar
1. Both demand your attention, and thus a huge amount of your life will begin to center around this addition. You'll need constant reminders to keep your marriage/relationship a priority or else the new object of your affection will suck it dry.
2. If you are ill/tired/cranky, too bad! You still have to care for this little bundle of joy. In fact, they will both wake you up in the middle of the night just for the heck of it to test your breaking point. Hope you don't like to sleep very much, right?
3. You must remember to feed them, and pay for their food. Yes, you'll need to be responsible like that and at least pretend to be an adult [gulp].
4. Both of them make horrendous messes/can be stanky. You'll have to dispose of it without gagging. But I will say this: a nasty pile of dog crap ain't got nothing on a fully loaded diaper. More on this below...
5. Neither are temporary, so once the novelty wears off you better settle in for the long haul. If you get bored easily remember these additions can't get pushed to the back of a closet like yesterday's hottest blouse.
6. Both are so freaking cute it makes your innards quiver. It also forces people like me to take entirely too many pictures on any given day.
7. Both can be the best thing since sliced bread. And I love me some carbs.
Contrast: ways that getting a new puppy and having a baby are a wee bit different.
1. You can leave a puppy alone for at LEAST 4-5 hours at a time, depending on bladder size. I do not suggest leaving an infant alone for this long unless you have a strong desire to do jailtime. I think I'll pass on that one, okay?
2. A puppy might wimper a little bit at night but I'm pretty sure a newborn's bloodcurdling scream is way worse. And rubbing a baby's belly probably won't get him to stop crying, but I could be wrong on this.
3. Babies poop their pants, puppies poop outside [or perhaps inside but really---it's not like it's held up against their body for any period of time, so the baby still wins this bullet point. Poop needs to exit the system and not adhere itself to the host, which is why babies get the short end of the stick, IMO].
4. Puppies love to play fetch and are generally interactive and fun. From what I've seen with newborns, they aren't excatly 'entertaining' unless you count staring at their freaking adorable cheeks for hours on end to be your idea of endless fun.
5. It seems like babies need way more crap than puppies. I mean, have you seen some of these baby registries? I'm pretty sure I got some food, a toy, and a collar with a leash when we brought Henry home. But with a baby you might need a regular U-haul van to cart around all of their paraphernalia. Geesh, talk about high maintenance.
6. Babies grow into teenagers which seems like a real pain in the butt. Those teenagers will eventually go to college and since we will be paying off our own tuitions for many years, the thought of adding more to our tab is quite frightening. Puppy obedience school is pretty cheap in comparison, I suppose.
7. This trumps all the rest: you birth a human child. I'm told it isn't exactly fun to pop a living creature out of your nether regions and in fact, I bet you it hurts a lot. Call me a wimp but I think I'd take a room full of chewed-up furniture over pushing a 8 pounder from my girlie parts. Yep, not quite ready yet.
So there you have it, my essay comparing and contrasting two subjects that are both similar and different. Of course, since I've only aquired one of these objects [Hi Henry!] I suppose I'm just guessing at a lot of my points. Feel free to let me know any comparisons I've missed. I'm sure there are many:)