Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Puppy Love

We had a dog not too long ago. A beautiful schnauzer mix named Maggie that we adopted through a rescue organization in the Fraser Valley.  She was with us for only a week, but Maggie was without questions the best dog I've had the pleasure of knowing.

Unfortunately, Maggie's time in our family was all-too short; the American veterinarians who gave her a clean bill of health before her trip to Canada had grossly misjudged her age. They also failed to diagnose the cancer that was about to claim her life. She was in our family for just one week, but she made a big impact during her brief stay!

Little Man has always been a dog lover. On our walks together, he stops to say hi to every dog he sees. Usually it's the standard "Hi, Doggy!" complete with frantic, double armed wave and giggles galore. Lately he's been more specific: "Hi, yiddle (little) doggy!" "Hi big doggy!" "Hi black doggy!" "Hi silly doggy!" -- the latter used to describe any dog wearing a coat, sporting a fluffy tail, or whose facial features amuse our easily-delighted son.

Last week our friend adopted a 14 week old boxer. He also owns a three year old Chihuahua, whom we occasionally dog-sit for in our home. Little Man adores "Sancho" the tiny chihuahua, and was delighted when we told him we were going to meet the "new doggy" that lived with Sancho. So off we went to Sancho's house to meet the new puppy.

First off, the dog was adorable. Now, most puppies are cute, but there's something about the wrinkly forehead of a boxer, and the silly way they paw everything to death that really pulls at my heartstrings. I contemplated how I would escape the yard with my son AND the dog without the owner noticing, but realized quickly that our two bedroom apartment is no place to hide a dog that will quickly grow to be 60 or 70 pounds.

Little Man was rightfully confused. He's met plenty of puppies on our walks, but always from the safety and security of his stroller. He'd run around with enough adult dogs in parks or at friends houses to know that dogs are usually friendly, love to lick you, and sometimes bark "but that's OKAY!"

But a leashless puppy on level ground with our toddler? That was new territory. Little Mans' favourite game is "Chase me" so that's exactly what the puppy did. He chased our delighted son around and around and around and around the backyard until they both fell flat on their face from exhaustion.

Then the licking began. Little Man was flat on his back, and the puppy wasted no time: it was a full-on lick attack. His shoes. His hands. His ears, eyes, nose, mouth (yuck!!). Everywhere. All you could see was puppy and squirming toddler underneath.

He's such a polite boy. "No!!! No thanks!! No thank you puppy! Lick all done!!" When the visit finally ended, and I got my boy home, bathed, and tucked in bed, I asked him if he liked the new puppy: "No thank you, momma!" was his quick reply. "No licky puppy. I allllllllll done!"

Now I don't feel so bad about Maggie's untimely demise. Our boy knows what he wants, and it isn't puppy love.

He Grows, You Know

I got my son dressed this morning; size two t-shirt, size 24 months shortalls, size 2-3 years socks and size 7 spiderman (pardon me, "sider-wan") shoes for his big feet. We topped it off with one toddler sized Canucks ball cap to cover his chaotic curls.

I kissed his still-chubby baby cheeks and said "Look at you, what a big boy!" to which he promptly clapped his hands and replied. "I big boy! I poo in the toi-let!" (well, yes, that would be right, if you actually were toilet trained.)

I smiled back at the toothy-grinned toddler, who was so proud of his imaginary milestone. He scampered off singing about bodily functions to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star".

He's getting bigger, and I hate it. We're booking our flights to Disneyland next month (oh miracle of miracles, my husband actually agreed to join us!) and Little Man likes to tell everyone "I go Dinney-land". They all share in his joy, but no one can believe he's under two.

"Oh, too bad you didn't go last year, he could have sat on your lap." (Um, he's not 2 til the winter.)
"Oh, three is the perfect age for Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck! (Um, he's still one, thank you very much!)
"Oh, what fun! I went Disneyland as a pre-schooler, too. " (Um, he is NOT a pre-schooler! No, no, no!)
For the last time, he's a toddler, and just barely! He's not even two! He still drinks from a bottle. He still needs his snuggles. He still wears footed pajamas. He's not toilet trained. He only has twelve teeth. Sometimes Sesame Street is "too scary" and -- thank GOD -- he still has an afternoon nap.

He is not about to go off to school.
He does not get his own seat on the airplane.
He just barely reached the height requiring his car seat to be forward-facing.
He's still being followed by the infant development program at our local child centre.
At day care, he occupies an "infant" spot. We shop in the infant section of baby Gap (and I try my darnedest not to wander over to the Toddler Size, even though there are plenty of clothes that fit him in both sections...)

"He grows, you know." My husband reminded me the other day. I was trying to stuff our baby's bum into a too-small pair of swimming diapers. The size said "up to 30 pounds" and his little cheeks were escaping from the sides of the diaper. "It can't leak if there's no room for air or water to sneak in!" I argued.

"But he can't breathe if the diaper is a tourniquet." Fine. One point for daddy. Our son gets the next size in swim diapers.

But he's still a todder, darnit! I'm not ready for him to grow up so quickly. I'll keep enjoying the snuggling, bottle-drinking, airplane-seat sharing Little Man for as long as I can.