Having a toddler is a bit like having a feral dog. They’re cute and playful and sweetly loiter around under your feet all day but boy can they be rank. They have sticky paws, toddlers this is, dribble, snot and on occasion are known to sneeze cheese over folk (man on flight back from Faro I am eternally sorry this happened to you).
Until 2015 I’d never been mother to either a pup or a baby. I’d not grown up with dogs and to be honest, until Miss P was delivered to the foot-well of our car, I had absolutely no idea what to expect and no clue as to what I needed to do with her. I was going to have to completely wing it!
And so, 2015 arrived and so did a Pepper pup and then six months later a Samuel babe!
I remember those early days well, the days when I’d continuously wash my hands between any Pepper and Sam interaction, hiding antibac gel in every nook and cranny of the house so it could be easily accessed and liberally used, heaven forbid I transferred even the minutest germ from baby number one to baby number two! I remember P disconcertingly staring at me whilst I fed Sam, licking her chops, desperate to lick his face after a feed and how, in the space of two minutes, managed to bring all of her gross, half gnawed bones in from the garden and place them in some sort of pagan circle around a sleeping 10 day old Sam, as I went to let the midwife in…
Life was certainly interesting!
When we decided to bring the babies up together everyone thought we were completely mad but I always knew that if we had the baby first we wouldn’t end up getting the dog. I was continuously implored to re-think this ridiculous notion and told constantly how hard it was going to be. But did we listen? No! And were they right? Yes!
It was incredibly tough! I was exhausted! Sleeping when your baby sleeps for me would have meant having a doze whilst walking the dog and I’m not sure that would have ended well for any of us. Come rain or shine, sleep or no sleep, crying baby or gurgling bubba we were out stomping in the fields. Trying to find time to fit in nappy changes and weigh-ins, baby feeds and feeding myself became an impossible task what with a C-Section to heal from, a newborn to care for, a puppy to exercise and a husband out of the house for over 12 hours a day.
But we survived! I’d like to think I taught Wonder Woman a thing or two in those first few weeks! And what a Godsend Miss P was, and still is! She forced us to get out in to the fresh air, she enabled me to meet other people and it’s thanks to her that on some days I managed to have at least one spoken interaction with a fellow human being. She gave me sanity during times when the crying was non stop, I was completely frazzled and at the end of my tether. She was always there with a hug, a friendly lick and no judgement. She didn’t care if I’d not bathed or washed my hair for a week!
It’s been a real privilege watching them grow and become feral together. They jostle for balls and sticks, they chase each other, running around like crazy loons in the fresh air. They share food, well Pepper is half lab so that’s a slightly one-sided share, and I often find them crawling around on the floor together looking for mischief and bits of stuff they can put in their mouths, like dried out, few days old potato peelings, yep that happened, and probably will even more so since I’ve decided to give myself a break on the ole housework front! And they love each other! The antibac has been put away and these days I tend to think, well, what’s a lick between friends? Because that’s what they are! They’re going to grow up being the best of friends imaginable and all those early days of hard work will most definitely have been worth it.
So would I do it again? Hell yes! Before 2015 I might not have known the first thing about raising a dog or a child and yet it transpires that, in the end, there’s actually not that much difference, and we all just wing it together day by day!
In other, very exciting and humbling news, I’ve actually been nominated for a Blogger Recognition Award! More to come on that in my next post!