Monday, September 17, 2007

Mommy Monday: the Pup and the Babe

Last week I opened up the Mommy Monday request line, and I'm putting all of your great suggestions in the queue. First up: "I'd love to hear how Minnow and Princess Pup get along :)"

We weren't too worried about bringing home a baby to the Princess Pup, although we did study up on how to acclimate a dog to a baby, and we are careful that they are never in the same room alone together. But the Princess Pup has always loved little kids - they are just the right height to lick. Licking, especially the face, is the way that Princess Pup expresses her affection.

And lick is what Princess Pup likes to do to Minnow. Every time Minnow enters a room where the Pup is hanging out, she'll get up and give her a few kisses. Mostly Minnow puts up with it, although sometimes she turns away if the kisses get too slobbery. When Minnow has her pacifier in her mouth, Fish and I let the kisses go, but if the kisses are getting a bit French, we'll intervene. Basically, the pacifier (and hiding against Mommy) are Minnow's defense against the Pup.

For her part, Minnow likes to try to pet the Pup. We are trying to teach her to pet with an open hand and not just grab a hunk of fur. The Pup has learned to quickly scoot out of the way if Minnow starts to get grabby. I actually wish she'd stick around a little more so that I'd have more opportunities to demonstrate proper petting technique with Minnow. So the Pup's defense against Minnow's grabbiness is her greater mobility. We've also been enforcing a couple of "no petting" zones around Princess Pup's bed and her food bowl while eating. Even though the Pup is the sweetest dog imaginable, we don't want to push our luck.

We had a problem for a while when Minnow would fall asleep on the car ride home from daycare. When Fish would carry her into the house still asleep, Princess Pup would come bounding up with kisses and a very jingly collar. We quickly learned to put the dog out back and take off her collar before bringing Minnow up to her bedroom to continue her nap.

The Princess Pup's greatest pleasure (besides sleeping on our bed) is going for walks - and we pick our neighborhoods in large part based on the dog-friendliness. Minnow has been on dog walks with us since she was two weeks old, and now, even when she is fussy at home, she'll calm right down in the stroller and silently stare at the trees, grass, people, and dogs for a half-hour or more on walks.

The funniest interaction between Minnow and the Princess Pup occurs around the water bowl. Minnow has decided that the water bowl is a great toy, and now that she has the concept of object permanence, she'll suddenly, spontaneously stop whatever she is doing and scoot across the house toward the water bowl. If she gets there unchecked, she proceeds to splash merrily in it, soaking the floor and herself. Meanwhile, Princess Pup hovers nearby hoping to sneak in for a drink of water without getting splashed.

Princess Pup is not so young (she's nine) and it'll be interesting (and maybe a little sad) to watch the relationship between dog and child evolve as they each get older. I wonder whether Pup will continue to be so patient with Minnow, and whether Minnow will have memories of an active Pup or just an old dog. Cognitively, too, it'll interesting to watch Minnow approach and even overtake Princess Pup in skills like understanding vocabulary. I've always argued that having a dog is like having a perpetual toddler (they need help making meals but not eating, going to the bathroom but not holding it in, communicating their desires but not understanding your commands). I wonder what the relationship between child and dog will be when they're equivalent to two toddlers cognitively and a toddler and a grandparent energy-wise.

But for now, they keep my hands full and each other entertained. What more could I ask for?


Writer Chica said...

Thank you. That was a lovely read.

One big difference between toddler and dog is the tantrums. Princess Pup just won't quite prepare you for those :)

Amy said...

My son loves to splash in our dog's water dish too! Its absolutely his favorite thing to do. I wonder why they like it so much??

ScienceMama said...

If only my dog was so patient with my daughter! My Pup is mostly just jealous and will literally step on my daughter to get between us and her!

inkstar said...

I know this is a really old post, but I just stumbled across it and really enjoyed. Thank you! :)

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