How Our Puppy is Preparing us for Parenthood

Paul is a planner.  He’s a little bit of a freak about it.  Like before we even got pregnant, in his mind he had already constructed our future child’s lemonade stand.  And before he had proposed, we had already picked out dog names and planned to get our first dog when our youngest child turned three.

Me?  I’m not so much a planner.  I often drive to school in the morning and think, “What should I teach today?”

And sometimes I can even be a plan-destroyer.  I decided I couldn’t wait all those years for a dog and searched the internet until I found the perfect chocolate lab puppy that would be ready for us to take home the day after Christmas.  We paid our deposit and then I got pregnant.  Now we’ll have a giant puppy right when our first born arrives.  So much for our original plans.Snapseed-3

(Can you handle this cuteness?!?  Paul would probably want you to know that he is burning his Seahawk gear and has already purchased Rams swag. We finally have a home team!)

Teddy came home with us on December 26, and I quickly discovered that having a puppy when you are a kid is very different from having a puppy when you are an adult.  The puppy experience is drastically different when you are the one in charge- the one responsible for all the poop and discipline.

Even though I wanted to strangle him this morning after he destroyed Paul’s headphones and then pooped on the carpet, Teddy is so stinking cute that I can never stay mad at him for long.  When I talk to my friends who are moms about our adorable little terror, they laugh and tell me about their adorable little terrors and how this is perfect practice for parenthood.  I’ve never had kids (duh), so I don’t know how accurate this list is, but based on my conversations with my mom friends here are

10 ways Teddy is preparing us for parenthoodSnapseed-2

1. We have to deal with someone else’s poop.

Poop is just plain nasty.  Even when it comes out of your own butt.  But touching another’s poop?  There is something fundamentally wrong with this situation.

Early one morning when it was still dark out, Teddy whined to get out of his crate.  I let him outside and pet him, only to discover his fur felt strangely sticky because he had gone diarrhea during the night and rolled around in it.  You guys, the sun wasn’t even up yet and I had puppy poop all over my hands.

So. Very. Wrong.

I rolled up my sleeves and ran the bath, because sometimes you just do what you gotta do.  And bathing a poop-covered creature at 5 AM felt like something only a mother would do.

I know I’ll have to deal with baby poop in the middle of the night, but there is no way baby poop can smell as horrific as dog poop, right?  Please say right.

2. Paul and I have to compromise.

We were raised on different ends of the spectrum when it comes to dogs.  His dog stayed outside most of the time.  My dogs slept in my bed with me.  So we knew there were going to be issues.  We’ve compromised and let Teddy in the house when we’re home, but not on the furniture.

We are realizing that the way you were raised seems like the norm, like the best and only way things should be done, so I’m sure there will be thousands of times we have to compromise when it comes to raising children.  For instance, Paul likes tuna in his mac n cheese because that’s how his mom made it.



Double Ew.

I informed him our children will only have that meal if he makes it and I am not home.

See?  Compromise.

3. We no longer can sleep in. 

Somehow my mom ears have already developed and I hear Teddy wake up when he’s across the house with the door closed.  He’s never slept past 7 AM, which means I, in turn, will never sleep past 7 AM.  Ever again.  It’s a little depressing so I try not to think about it.

Paul, on the other hand, can sleep through a tornado.  Probably even a sharknado.  I’m glad I discovered this cute little quirk of his now, so I won’t be expecting any help from him until the sun is up.  Thankfully, I am turning into a morning person and don’t mind cuddling my puppy in the backyard while the sun rises.

However, when I’m trying to cuddle Teddy AND a baby at 6 AM, things could get dicey.

4. We are in charge of someone else’s sleep schedule.

Since I get up with Teddy in the morning, Paul puts him to bed.  We never read PuppyWise, but we’ve got this sleep thing pretty much figured out.  The first night, Paul whistled a lullaby to calm down our poor pup since he was in an unfamiliar place.  Now Paul can whistle that tune from anywhere in the house and Teddy will walk to his crate and put himself to sleep.

Kids should be able to do this at 3 months as well, yeah?

5. All hell breaks loose the hour before dinner. 

Paul gets home at 6 and from 5-6, Teddy is a complete nightmare.  He attacks me and everything in the house and needs attention every single moment.  Almost every day I find myself yelling, “STOP DRIVING ME CRAZY!” I call it the “hour of rascal” and in telling my mom friends about it, I discovered this is not just a puppy thing.

I was talking to Jenny during the hour of rascal and while she heard me wrestling with Teddy and telling him to stop biting my head, I heard tears on her side of the line and, “Mom. Mom. Mom.  Mooooooom!”  She informed me that she calls 5-6 PM the “witching hour”- the hour before dinner when everyone and everything falls apart.

At what age can you start locking your kids in the backyard during this hour?  Teddy doesn’t seem to mind.

6. We are learning how to discipline.  

Paul is in the alpha dog in our house.  We all know it.  Teddy seems to think that he and I, on the other hand, are on the same level. This is why he’s an angel for Paul but jumps all over me and only eats my shoes. Paul coaches me on how to be firm but he still catches me saying in a quiet voice, “Ouch Teddy, please don’t bite me.  That really hurts.”

Hopefully Paul doesn’t plan on pinning our children to the ground and yanking them by their neck skin.  And hopefully I learn to be more consistent in setting boundaries and saying “no.”

Kids won’t bite me though, will they?  Or chew my shoes?

7. We experienced the joys of potty training. 

And by “joys” I mean horrors.

My friend Amy was potty training her son the same time we were potty training Teddy.  She would sit in the bathroom with Jeremiah for 30 minutes and endure the stank of kid farts, while we would shiver in the backyard, waiting for Teddy to finally do his business.  While Amy was cleaning poopy undies, we were cleaning poopy carpets.  Amy would cheer every time Jeremiah went on the potty, and we would give Teddy treats and praise every time he went pee outside.

Though he still has an occasional accident, Teddy was basically trained after a few weeks.  I’m hoping it’s this easy with toddlers.

8. Our house is a disaster.

Our cute little house was always so tidy when it was just the two of us.  Now there are chunks of wood and rocks and bits of leaves scattered over every carpet and floor. There are rawhides and sticks strewn about every room and bits of chewed up toilet paper littering every hallway in the house.  Corners on our cabinets are gnawed off and our carpets are stained from pee puddles.  We thought we had “Teddy-proofed” the house before we brought him home.  How were we to know he would climb in the bathtub and chew on the drain? Nobody told us dogs can pull baseboards off the wall!

Teddy has taught us to hold loosely to our physical possessions.  But hopefully this baby won’t be so destructive.

9. We have become no machines.

And by that, I mean we say “no” all the time.  I would guess about 500 times a day.

Teddy pulls the entire roll of toilet paper off the roll. NO!

Teddy dashes outside when we open the front door.  NO!

Teddy tries to jump on the couch.  NO!

Teddy sneaks laundry from the hamper.  NO!

Teddy chews on the carpet, the couch, the cabinets. NO! NO! NO!

You get the idea. I remember when I was younger I used to think my dad was a “no” machine too.

Can Megan spend the night on Tuesday?


Can I spend the night at her house on Tuesday?


Can I have three scoops of ice cream?


My mom, on the other hand, was the “yes”  machine.  If you really needed a “yes,” you always went to Mom.  And if she responded with, “Ask your dad,” you knew she was actually saying “no.”

Now that I’m older, I see that my parents may have said “no” a lot, but they said “yes” to all the right things.

Yes, we will provide you with a childhood where you will feel safe and loved.

Yes, we will let you ditch school and go to Disneyland for your birthday.

Yes, we will send you to the Philippines so you can visit your grandparents and experience the world.

Yes, we will let you invite 20 screaming girls over for a slumber party.

Yes, we will let you sleep in some Sundays and have family church at home.

Yes, we will drive you to thousands of basketball practices and rebound for you in the backyard.

Yes, we will get you ANOTHER cat because your last one ran away.

Yes, we will buy you those cool new overalls so you feel like you fit in.

Yes, we will take you and your friends to the mall, to the movies, and to late-night tp adventures.

Yes, we will get you a car when you turn 16.

Yes, we will watch a movie with you on Friday night because all your friends are busy and you’re feeling forgotten.

Yes, we will help you pay for college so you can go to your dream school.

Yes, you can move back in with us after college because housing in California is crazy expensive.

Yes. Yes. Yes. To all the right things.

For some reason the “no’s” sounded a lot louder than the “yes’s” when I was little, but now I realize all those “no’s” were for a reason.  They were for my good.

My parents were drawing boundary lines with every “no” they said.  And once I knew my boundaries, I found a life full of freedom and full of “yes’s”.  So even though I am getting pretty stinking tired of saying, “NO!” every time Teddy opens the closet and finds my shoes or steals my dirty underwear from the hamper, my own parents taught me that we all need to hear a LOT of “no’s” so we know where the boundary lines are.

They taught me that good, loving parents must be willing to say “no” a thousand times so that they can say “yes” to the things that really matter. I’m learning to do that now with Teddy so I can set boundaries for my kids too.  And if I just can’t say “no” one more time, I can always tell them to ask their dad.

10. Our little guy is growing up so fast.

When people say this about their kids, I often think, “Actually, they look very similar to the last time I saw them.” But now I know what they mean.  Teddy seems to double in size nearly overnight.  He’s so cute and cuddly and I’m sure I’m super annoying with how much I gush over him.  I mean, the first night we brought him home, I sent my family this picture:IMG_4204

(Yep, that’s Teddy’s first poop in our house)

Isn’t that a parent’s job, though? Not to document when their children defecate in the house, but to be proud of them and see past their faults and get overly excited about every milestone in their lives.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have gone overboard with the Teddy pics.  Based on the number of pictures I’ve posted of our dog in the last month (19), I fear I may become that mom who posts WAY too many pictures of her kids.  You may want to consider unfollowing me come August 15…

And just so the last picture you think of isn’t Teddy’s poop, here’s the difference a month makes:IMG_4848

5 thoughts on “How Our Puppy is Preparing us for Parenthood

    1. katievandyk Post author

      Ahhh, Candace, that is such a sweet thing to say! Thank you! I wish Paul had gotten to meet you when we visited the Butler’s last summer…

  1. Megan

    You’re going to be a great mom Katie! I totally take pictures of Walker’s poops, they’re so huge for a 3 year old, I’ll be sure I send you the next amazing snake.
    PS. Can you spend the night Wednesday?

    1. katievandyk Post author

      Oh. My. Gosh!!!! Megan!!! You were not kidding!! I woke up to that text picture and almost puked. So so nasty! I am not prepared for that!

      PS- my dad said not on a school night


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