Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Five Ways My One Year Old is Like a Dog

What a baby and dog may look like.
It seems to me that there is something of a great divide between people who love children and people who love their animals as if they were children. As someone who has two dogs, a cat, and a human child, I simply don't understand this. Personally speaking, giving birth to a human did not diminish my love for my four-legged furballs, and having the fluffy ones around has not in any way interfered with the growth and development of my baby. It has recently occurred to me that a big part of this might be because in many ways, raising my child has been a lot like raising a dog. 

For instance: 

What a baby's face looks like after totally destroying your world.
1. They go to the bathroom whenever, wherever
Obviously you know about how babies use diapers. This is not really very different from a puppy who goes to the bathroom in his or her crate, or really anywhere in the house. The point being--as a pet parent or a human parent, you are going to see and smell some disgusting things. You will touch poop. This is just one of those little unpleasantries that is then rendered "worth it" by the joy brought to you by the adorable pup-baby.

2. They respond to commands
She clearly listened when I told her to please not knock over the TV
My child is one year old, and now responds to her name, "come," and "no." She has learned the basic commands that you first teach a puppy, and responds with about the same rate of success.  And part of the reason that we have been able to use these commands with her is because...

 3. They can be trained with positive reinforcement
When my baby does something she's not supposed to, she gets told no, and will not be held. When she does the right thing, she gets smiles, and cuddles, and usually a baby treat. Or we exclaim about how smart she is and clap our hands. This is exactly the same way to train a dog. If they misbehave, you ignore them. If they get something right,
you lavish them with affection so they will be motivated to
 behave correctly again. It is very effective.

Of course, this happens too.

4. They both beg for food
She's really got the Oliver Twist face down.
My little infant-cum-toddler has recently discovered the joys of solid food. And she can't get enough of it. So we, the parents, have to be very sneaky about eating in front of her. Because if she catches us eating something that she might like a bite of, she will stand in front of us and yell until we fill her mouth with something delicious. And then, should we make the mistake of giving her one bite, she will yell more, until she gets her fill. This is slightly different from the dogs' approach, which is to sit patiently at our feet until we have finished, and then eye our dirty plates with longing until we put them on the floor for them to "clean."

Broccoli hair is imminent!
5. They love getting dirty and hate getting clean
Have you ever heard someone talk about their dog and say how he loves running through mud, and jumping in lakes, but will whine and thrash around like a maniac when put in a tub of soapy water for the purpose of getting clean? Well, it is a fact that dogs will generally prefer mud to fluffy, clean fur. Similarly, my human child reacts very negatively to having her face and hair washed after eating. Yes, she has smeared about have of her food all over her body, and there are slightly mushy cheerios clinging to her arms and legs, but she would rather wallow in this mess than allow herself to be wiped clean. She howls, the turns her face away, she threatens my life. But, as with the dogs, mom's word is law, and all the little animals get clean in the end.

*Despite how it may appear in these pictures, my child does frequently wear clothing. It just gets dirty so quickly that we have to capture some nude moments in between costume changes.

What are your thoughts on raising children, furry or otherwise? 

1 comment:

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