“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” Charles Dickens must have had a puppy. 🙂
It’s been four weeks since W joined our family. It has been incredible. He has not slept through the night once since he arrived. That makes for a very sleep-deprived N and myself. We seem to be getting past it slowly – N, W, and myself. We have a certain rhythm going on these days. Not the idyllic “me and my perfect pet” type situation (yet), but a stable sort of rhythm. Which is huge in of itself (I mean, you should have seen us that first week – cleaning out doodoo all the time and clinically depressed).
Little N and I take him for a long walk at night just before bedtime. Little N spends a good chunk of time carrying him around when he won’t cooperate (although I think it’s because she loves to cradle him and cuddle with him). Little N’s step tracker show that we are routinely walking over 5K steps every day. Previously, I was mostly languishing in the “less than 3K steps – Sedentary” world, so this is pretty cool. The weighing scale is showing a decent weight loss for me (which is always nice on the tail of a calorie-filled vacation). Pants that haven’t fit in over a year are looking pretty good these days. Little N and I also talk so much about everything under the sun during our walks, which is such a pleasure for me. Hard to get quality time with a busy teen (who’s turning 16 next week!). Is it such a huge pleasure for little N too? Well. You’ll have to ask her, won’t you? 🙂
W seems to absolutely ADORE N. N is so super patient and kind with W, and shows him so much love. W’s little non-tail wags at express speed when N is in the room. He searches so desperately when N leaves the room, and cuddles up with N with such a confiding and peaceful air that even I find endearing.
Little A had been doing doctoral level research on puppies for at least seven months before we got W. So, she’s the one with all the information. She also has strong opinions on how he must be handled, which prompted little N to give little A several nicknames for bossing us around: Doggie Dictator, Animal Autocrat, and Furry Fascist. But seriously, thank God for little A’s research. Our first week with W would have been insane had little A not already made sure to stock up on basic supplies (and then some). W is so playful with little A, which is such a delight (and sometimes mildly alarming) to watch. The girls have been trying to train W to do tricks. Helps that he is very motivated by food. Super fun!
W seems moderately interested in Amma and myself. Amma doesn’t engage much with him, other than speaking to him in Tamil sometimes when she is in the kitchen (W is going to be bilingual!). And sometimes sharing outdoor time with him while walking.
I spend a LOT of time with W. But it’s more functional time than fun time. When he wakes me up at night, I clean up without making eye contact. Willing him to quietly go back to sleep and not think that I woke up to play with him. I don’t let him lick me (what’s a puppy to do, W despairs, I am sure) or nip at me (serious no, no). I am v. no-nonsense with him. I mean, I am already quite indulgent with my two munchkins, I just do not have the bandwidth to pamper one more. So, I interact with W in a sort of semi-professional way. Meanwhile, he seems to think that I am his Ayah. That I am there to clean up after him and walk around with him when it suits him. I don’t see the uncontrolled tail wagging that he reserves for N and the girls. We have a strange dynamic going on – W and me. Which suits me fine.
I am not proud of this and I am telling you (and you only). I have been catching myself snapping at people around me between 4 and 6 pm (hunger, tiredness, and sleep-deprivation all catching up to me by late afternoon). In the past few days, I have been making sure to have a cup of chai and a snack, and sit quietly by myself for a few minutes during that time. Works like a charm.
Most importantly, I find that W forces me to be in the moment. With all the additional work around a new puppy, I don’t find myself dilly-dallying around mundane tasks, churning over minor decisions, or worrying about things that I can’t control. I have always been pretty efficient and organized, but I am now operating with military-level precision. For the first time in a month, I am finding myself ahead of piled up work (hope this trend continues!). Our family dynamic seems to have changed somewhat, and we are somehow all closer, chatting and laughing (and bickering) more, bound more tightly together by W.
So. A month in. I am learning that there are lots of pros and cons to puppy ownership. I am not going to tell you that the pros outweigh the cons. Or vice versa. It’s all part of the package. And, in my own way, I am happy that we have this little package in our family at this time.
For now, that’s quite enough.