Raising Puppy, not Baby
Can a Puppy Fix your Bio Clock?
Stereotypically speaking, there might be something wrong with me. I am nearing my 29th birthday, and I don’t have eight kids yet…I don’t even have one.
The best part: It’s not because I can’t have them, it’s because I don’t want them at this time. (I think I just heard every living woman in my family gasp a “Madre Santisma” as they reached for their Holy Water). I know…bad Latina…bad.
The thing is my clock doesn’t tick. I see babies being born left and right and instead of going “aww, que cute,” much to my Mami’s dismay, you hear me going “Ayy Dios, I bet that one cries a lot…eeek.”
And really if it weren’t for my Mami, who once pestered me once a month on the baby issue, I don’t think I would be in the furry predicament I am in right now.
Last year, my Mami, who according to my husband is in extreme denial of my mothering capabilities, gave me the “baby talk” of all baby talks…I mean she brought out fear and guilt. She cried because she said she had a premonition that I would die young.
“Y si eso pasaria, what would be left of you?…nada, no little Cynthia to remember you by …and how could you do that to me?” she cried.
When she saw that angle was losing its effect she brought out the fear.
“The longer you wait, the more probability, something could be wrong with the baby, I mean look at your hermanita, I was a 34-year-old vieja when I had her, and well do I have to say more?”
She said this as she pointed with her mouth towards my now 16-year-old sister, who was oblivious to the fact we were talking about her.
Now, there isn’t really anything wrong with my sister… clinically anyways, but it got me wondering if there was something wrong with me for not wanting a baby, and if perhaps it was just me psyching myself out with fear of not being able to deal with the pain and sacrifice of childbirth, and motherhood in general. Perhaps I just lacked faith in my abilities to be a good mother.
Bringing Home Puppy
On to my current predicament: So on October 27, 2010, in an effort to appease my mother’s need for a grandchild and to test out my mothering skills, I adopted a 1-½ pound bundle of four legs named Chaplin.
At first my Mami fought me on the idea, saying she didn’t think she could love an adopted grandchild as much as one that came from her own blood, but with time I knew she would be won over.
The problem has been that my biological clock could not be made to tick and since Chaplin arrived it has been made blatantly clear to everyone that perhaps I should just stick to my day job.
In other words I have raised a screwed up and spoiled puppy.
Sure, upon the arrival of my first born I was nothing but the doting mother; I even took two days of maternity leave to bond with my little princess. But really unless you are a mother with a whiny baby you have no idea what kind of hell I went through the first two weeks of her arrival.
Every two hours I had to disrupt my beauty sleep to soothe my baby’s whimpering, feed her because she was malnourished when I got her, and begin the annoying task of potty training the un-trainable. For the first two weeks I was a rock star.
But on the third week, and you have to understand I was a young mother suffering from postpartum depression (that’s what I’m calling it, because yes it makes me feel better that I ignored my bebita during the formative years of her life), I began to waiver on the new mommy bandwagon, and passed on the responsibilities to my husband. I mean, after all, he was the daddy, how dare he think he could just enjoy the puppy kisses and puppy breath without any puppy feeding?
So, yes I slept through her whimpering, and I can’t say I felt too guilty, I’m all for the puppy learning self-soothing (I learned this term from a parenting book, so don’t judge me).
The problem with self-soothing is that eventually, yes puppies stop whimpering, but they don’t potty train themselves. They instead learn how to be devious and find places to do their puppy business at night where you step on it during one of your midnight stumbles to do your human business.
The Trouble with Puppy…and Me
Now if I had mommy instincts I’m sure the correct thing would have been to discipline Chaplin, and crate her, but you have no idea how much easier it was to wipe off my foot and go back to sleep. Hence now, Chaplin would never think of defecating in our backyard… that would be rude and unclassy…. she instead holds it in for the spot right next to, not on, her training pad inside our house every day.
Now my Mami, who is now the doting grandmother, has had a talk with me about this meaning I am lacking “cojones” and need to be firm with her, and unless I want to be wiping her butt the rest of her doggy years, I need to be firm with Chaplin and teach her who is Top Dog around here. The problem is that whenever I do try to discipline her, she runs to Abuelita for protection, and that little booger gets me in trouble, with the ultimate Top Dogs — my Mami and Papi.
The truth is having a puppy has more than proved to me and my Mami that I am not ready for a real child. Just the other day, she wanted me to assure her the hubby and I were using protection, and asked if I had ever thought of getting my tubos tied.
I suppose as long as I keep enabling my puppy’s paper fetish with paper to keep her quiet at night…I’m not Mami material just yet.
The truth is — and I am woman enough to admit this — there are times I think of dropping off my baby at Abuelita’s house and taking off until she reaches adulthood. Which, by the way, might be sooner than later and reminds me I need to come up with a bird and the bees talk, because I am not ready to be a grandma just yet either.
Cynthia Martinez spends her days trying all the newest fad diets and nights shoving her face with pan dulce, because isn’t that what all good Latinas do? After leaving the world of labor relations to pursue her artistic passions, Cynthia can now be found writing over at Fat Girl Escapades.