If you've ready any of my posts you know I am a big proponent of kids having pets. We are the current proud parents of an older dog and two geckos. As soon as my oldest gives up the training wheels we will be adding a fish for him. If he can hold out, by Christmas little bro has earned his much desired turtle. They lovingly care for their pets, and are learning great responsibility. What I was reminded of last night, however, is the benefits for us as parents having pets has given.
Dogs clean up dropped and spilled food. I don't know how people with young kids learning to feed themselves don't go bat shit crazy without a dog. I truly don't. By the time we're done eating and I'm cleaning up I barely have to wipe the floor. Sammi has done all the heavy lifting in that department. When it's dinner time she is never far from their seats, happy to assist with the clean up. My friends without dogs spend so much time cleaning the floors after their meals.
When the kids are nightmares (and let's be real, even good kids turn into hellions from time to time. Often switching back and forth throughout a single day many times) a pet is your one beacon of peace. She doesn't need a diaper change. Or potty trained. She doesn't talk back...usually. While she's bossy, she's much cuter when she is. (It's the big floppy ears. If kids had them I wouldn't get mad nearly as often) She doesn't complaing about the healthy things I prepared for dinner. She doesn't have to be reminded every. single. meal. to take her dishes to the counter.
Our pets do not need me every waking second of the day. They don't even WANT me that much. They don't knock on the door when I sit down to pee. They don't cry outside the door of the bathroom when I'm dressing. They don't have a sudden emergency in which they need my immediate presence and assistance the SECOND I am downstairs to do a task, only to have to go back upstairs again and find out the emergency is they NEEDED to tell me what just happened in their cartoon.
They are far more quiet. I never hear my husband yell at the pets to stop stomping upstairs, or to put their shoes in the shoe cubby, or to hang their coat.
Most importantly, when my blood pressure is rising and I'm passing the point of parental control and about to cross over into the anger stage that prevents me from effective parenting, my Sammi is there. She HATES yelling, so when I see her soft brown ears down and that look in her eyes, I immediately lower my voice. When I am so frustrated because they are so wound up they cannot get their young little selves under control to listen and follow instructions, I feel her soft fur under my fingertips, feel the pressure of her leaning her body into mine in comfort. I have to stop and pet her, reassure her. It's my Mommy time out place. After a moment or two of reassurance from her, I am able to take that deep breath and hit the Mommy reboot. Then I can deal with the kids effectively, so they learn, without simply blowing my top and making the situation worse.
After a long day, when they are finally in bed asleep, and all is quiet, she's there. She may need lifted onto the bed these days, but once there she's content to snuggle, to hog the bed and force us into positions a yoga fanatic could not mimic. We fuss over her, and give her the much deserved spoiling and affection too often we're too busy in the day to bestow as abundently as she deserves.
She watches over us by day. She supervises all activities. She greets me when I return home. She calms me when I'm angry. She reassures me when I'm sad. She brings laughter to our house every day. She adores my kids, and they in turn adore her. She is now 13. We will be lost when she is gone. She makes me a better mother.
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