It may seem ridiculous to call Bug my firstborn. But that's just to those of you who don't understand. Either you've never had a pet or just didn't give enough consideration to your current pet's needs...I don't know. For those of you who have/had a little doggie, (not one you can leave outside) you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. It's not easy. They're not like cats, all independent and self-cleaning. Unlike most dogs, you can't leave Bug outside. He'll literally freeze to death. Well, that or run away. And I'm not saying this because he's my first real pet. Nu-uh! I've had about 6 dogs before Bug ever came along. Both indoor and outdoor dogs. Trust me, Bug has tested my parenting skills in more ways than one.
How Bug has prepared us for parenthood:
1) He vomits. A lot. If he drinks too fast or too much...BLAH! If he eats something new...BLAH! If he didn't digest well...BLAH! If he gets distracted while chewing....BLAH! I've never used so much OxyClean for anything! And he gags all day long, as if he takes after me and my sensitive gag reflex. So weird.
2) Can't be left alone for long periods. When we first got Bug, we didn't know if he was potty trained or not. I was never successful with my previous dogs so I was hesitant to leave him alone in the house. Therefore, he spent hours on end in the bathroom, poor guy. Eventually, we did let him roam the house....but we never left him alone for more than 4 hours at a time, thinking his bladder would eventually burst. So, my errands and outings would revolve around Bug's schedule. And not just me, the whole family would converge everyday to discuss who would be home and at what time, to make sure there was always someone to take him out to pee.
3) Wakes me up a lot. I'm a very light sleeper, which should come in handy when Baby comes along. But I never thought the dog would wake up so often, and it's not because he's barking. We tried to get Bug to sleep in his own bed every night. At some point in the middle of the night, he leaps onto the bed and under the covers. Here's the thing. He doesn't stay under the covers. He gets hot eventually and walks backwards until his body is uncovered and his butt is in one of our faces, then walks on top of the comforter, and plops down onto his side and lets out a giant sigh. We call this his hot pose. Oh, but it doesn't end there. Eventually he gets cold and shimmies his way under the covers again. This process is repeated several times during the night. And I wake up for each glorious step. (BTW, P sleeps through most of this. Lucky duck.)
4) He takes advantage of grandma and grandpa. Here's a typical scenario: We take Bug out to pee and an hour later, he's hopping around asking to go out again. Now P and I know it's because he saw another dog or a lizard outside. So we don't take him out. After a few rounds of the take-me-out dance, he runs to grandma. Of course, she falls for it and reaches for his leash. Smartypants.
5) He's defiant. We know he hears us. We know he understands. We know he is capable of compliance. But if Bug doesn't want to...he's not going to. You can almost see him roll his eyes when you tell him to sit. Sometimes he looks away and around him as if he didn't hear you. You know the look, the-"Oh I'm sorry, did you say something?"-look. And sometimes he just gives you the stink eye and walks away. The nerve of this little dog!
6) He cries. This one is not so bad, thank goodness. He doesn't cry out loud like a real baby. It's more of a high-pitched whimper. Sometimes, he does it when we pick him up (he doesn't like that at all). Sometimes, it's because he wants to go out (whether to pee, poo or see the other dogs in the hood). Sometimes, he whimpers when we've already gone to bed and he hears grandma and grandpa have just come home from the restaurant (he likes to say hi to them before he hits the sack). For whatever reason, he cries. And just like a baby, they can't speak to tell you what they want, and you have to learn to read the differences.
7) He needs bundling up. I don't dress Bug up because it's funny or cute. This dog actually needs to be clothed or he'll shiver his head off. In fact, every source we could find has said that Miniature Pinschers need to stay warm. And they weren't joking. So Bug has a wardrobe full of sweaters and jackets. All of which he hates to wear. It's like having a doll...or a baby!!!
8) He likes to sit between mommy and daddy. This is the funniest. Whenever P and I are sitting around on the couch, Bug has to sit between us, just like a child. Although I don't know why human children do it exactly, I think I know why Bug does it. First, he wants the maximize the amount of body heat he can get. Again, he gets cold easily and being sandwiched between two people doesn't sound so bad. Second, this also maximizes his chances of getting some adoration. Always the opportunist. Lastly, I like to think it's because he loves us both and wants to be near us. I don't know if this is true...but I'm gonna think it anyway.
9) He's smarter than you think. You know what they say, kids these days are so smart. Well, Bug is too smart for us. He is the smartest dog I have ever had. We don't even mean to train him and he learns. Like the time he was barking at something outside...and I went to see what it was. It was a lizard that was sunbathing. And I said..."Oh it's a lizard, Bug. That's called a lizard." After that, if I say, "where are the lizards?" he runs to that window and looks for the lizard. If I say "squirrel," he goes to the back window where the squirrels hang out.. He really listens when you speak and tries to pick up on words he knows. You don't even have to be talking to him and he'll learn to associate certain words with places and actions. And because of this, the whole family has to watch what they say. LOL! I'm just glad he can't repeat what he hears.
And just like a real child, Bug'll do something cute and funny that helps us forget all the ways that he's made our day a little more crazy and us a little more tired. It's all worth it!! And it's only going to be 1000 times better with our real baby!! I can't wait!