OMG! I just read that there's a miniature poodle that lived to be 27 years old.
I can't decide if that's a good or bad thing as I watch one of the twins chase our dog, who has escaped out the back door.
Did I mention we got a dog for Christmas? No, I didn't listen to that commercial.
They are already three yards away and I'm cursing under my breath.
"Let's get a dog," they said.
"It'll be great," they said.
"We'll take care of it," they said.
Yeah, right! They, being children, I should have known better. I just couldn't get one more persuasive essay on why we needed a dog. There was no more space on the refrigerator.
I, of course, had reservations like any other sane person who has four kids. Do these people exist?
We ended up with a mini poodle. He's small enough for the kids to tote around, he doesn't shed and he rarely barks, so I think this makes him low maintenance.
However, he's a puppy and puppies are hard work. It's like having a new baby, and I said I was done with that. I can't go back!
Lucky for me, I understand that my sanity comes first and that sanity directly correlates with how much sleep I'm getting. This isn't my first rodeo. I had no problem putting him in his kennel (the luxury suite) for the night, putting the sound machine on and Febreezing the heck out of him. It was for the greater good.
All in all, the kids have been pretty good about walking him. All it takes is a couple threats and a reminder that saying, "It's not my turn" means it's immediately your turn.
I'm always on the late-night shift and usually early morning when I can beat the masses downstairs. Lately the mornings have been a struggle because someone is always waking me in the night and it's not the dog.
The rest is also on me, but it's not terrible.
The hard things I have found are:
* Walking him at night when it's Baltic. I'm freezing inside and the last thing I want to do is go outside.
* I can't eat sitting on the floor anymore, which strangely I do a lot.
* I can't take a bath without locking him up. He will find me and jump in. I'm not kidding, it happened.
* I can't leave laundry in a pile on the floor. He eats the socks. He also doesn't like it when I fold laundry, which is OK because I needed another reason to put it off.
* He chews on things, and so far he's ripped up a tiny bit of the floor, chewed on some of the wooden kitchen chairs and torn up a cheap rug.
Oh well, no use crying over spilled milk. Unless that milk is consumed by a dog and you have to handle the side effects.
But when we are on our walks, even the cold ones, we talk. I seem less crazy talking to myself when I have a dog.
We love our kids from day one, then we work tirelessly for them, helping them to feel loved and become successful individuals who can someday become better than us ... or at least not be jerks.
Dogs don't need as much work. They need walks. They need food. They need some attention from time to time. But our greatest hope for them is that they don't tear our house apart and that they learn to go to the bathroom outside.
So wait ... maybe they are the exactly the same as our children.
Here's to the next 27 years!
Jen Reekie was born and raised in Quincy and received a communications degree at the University of Kansas, which has come in quite handy as she communicates every day with four children who don't hear a word she says. This stay-at-home mom enjoys the challenge, though, and shares her experiences in this blog, "Mum's the Word." She welcomes your feedback, questions and stories about staying sane while raising kids.