Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Glad we started with a puppy

Elsie has made HUGE milestones this last week when it comes to movement on her own. She's our little Leo the Late Bloomer (one of my favorite books) and as I've watched her learn to do her thing, I've realized that it's not me at all that is encouraging her to finally move. No matter how much I cheer. No matter how much I prod. No matter how much I push. No matter how much I beg. I can do anything under the sun but it's not me that got her to move. It's our dog.

As I've watched Sparky get Elsie to move (since I'm sure that was his goal) I've looked back and started to make mental note of how similar Elsie and Sparky are. Jeff bought me Sparky as a birthday gift in 2010. It was that movie scene scenario that every girl wants. Come home from work, husband has a gift behind his back, open it up and there is a sleeping puppy in the bag. Loved it! We didn't think we would be lucky enough to get pregnant right away, so we thought we would start with a puppy to get our feet wet with the whole parenting thing. People say it is similar, so we thought we'd give it a go. Now that we have Elsie, and we've experienced both we completely agree with the sentiment that puppies are great practice to having the baby. Here are the ways the two are similar:

1. Lack of sleep - When we got Sparky he was 5 weeks old and we wanted to crate train him. He woke up every 2 hours on the dot the first week and at least 4 times a night the second week and at least 2 times the next three. It felt like he was never going to sleep through the night! All I wanted was a good night's rest and Sparky had other plans.

Fast forward a year - Elsie. Need I say more on the lack of sleep? I thought I needed 8 hours of sleep to function. Nope, Elsie taught me I just need 4 solid hours. Luckily she was sleeping 6 hours straight at 4 weeks, and through the night at 8.
We did not pose this. Jeff put Elsie down and Sparky curled up next to her. He loved her from the beginning. Just wouldn't admit it.

2. Potty training - Sparky took a good solid 9 months to be completely potty trained. I hated cleaning up his accidents. But it was part of having a puppy. Teaching them how to go where appropriate.

Fast forward a year - Elsie obviously is still at least a year from being potty trained but oh how I love having the diapers. Never thought I'd be grateful for the diapers but after having a puppy, I'd much rather change the diaper than clean the carpet 5 times a day. However if Elsie takes 9 months to be completely potty trained I might cry.

Both Sparky and Elsie love to sit on my lap. It gets interesting as Elsie continues to grow and I am quickly running out of room for both. Doesn't mean Sparky won't try. 

3. Toys - Sparky loves to bring all his toys out at once and play with them, especially when I am trying to clean up. Because he is a dog I can't tell him to pick up so I am forced to.

Fast forward a year - Elsie loves toys and wants all of them at once. Her attention span can't last for more than 30 seconds before she is ready for something new. I  pick up after her every night when she goes to bed but the same mess happens every morning. At least it's a mess that hopefully someday she can help out with :)

Sparky wanting to play, Elsie thinking Sparky is crazy

4. Games - We taught Sparky how to play fetch and we use it to wear him out at night. Luckily he doesn't need it as much now, but it was a great lifesaver a year ago.

Fast forward a year - Elsie loves games - especially pass back. We hand her a toy, she hands it back. This will go on for easily 5 minutes. She tries to do it with people at church but they don't understand what she is doing so by the time I explain to them she has lost interest.

This was quite the common sight when I was nursing. Sparky wanted to play so he'd bring a sock for me to throw. Yes, his favorite toy is Jeff's sock. Not to destroy. Just to fetch.Weird dog, I know. 

5. Attention - Sparky loves attention. When we brought Elsie home we were told he will get jealous and we need to be careful. Lucky for us that was not the case. Elsie wasn't any fun for him so he left her alone. It wasn't until she was about 6 months and sitting up by herself that he started to pay attention to her. He ignored her but wanted all the attention on him when people came over to visit Elsie. He'd pounce all around just because he was excited someone new was over, didn't even phase him that Elsie was there all the time.

Fast forward a year - Elsie likes to see people that come over but takes a while to warm up to them. However when we have baby #2 (not for a long while) I can see Elsie loving a little sibling but wanting some attention for her as well.

Sparky has ruined many photos as he wants to try and be in them. This is not one he ruined, just one he decided to step in  

No I didn't put the boppy there. It was all Sparky experimenting with the baby stuff. This one was too funny not to post.  

I love having Sparky around as I figure the whole parenting thing out. He's helped Elsie out in ways I couldn't. Almost every night now I see Sparky and Elsie playing some sort of game together. Normally it is Sparky bringing a toy to Elsie and Elsie trying to grab the toy. This will go on for 10 minutes. Just the two of them. Sparky growling his happy growl and Elsie laughing hysterically. Or Sparky will have something across the room that Elsie wants, Elsie will crawl to him and laugh when he gets up and moves as he doesn't want to be bothered. Talk about having a best friend right from birth.

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