Friday, March 12, 2010

Teaching a Young Baby New Tricks

I have a co-worker who is going to have a baby in a couple months. I was telling him to get used to the middle of the night wake-up calls and the lack of sleep and the regular handling of poop. I let him know that once they start moving you are going to be chasing them all over the place and you’re not going to be able to go away for a weekend as easily as you did before. I was basically reveling in a “I am a parent and I know more than you” moment.

“Oh, I know,” he said. “Remember, I got a puppy this past year.”

Okay, so dogs and baby’s are very different for a few reasons, including: 1) babies are human 2) dogs are housetrained within months, babies take years 3) dogs do not feed from the breast 4) putting a baby on a leash is socially unacceptable.

BUT, I did see some striking similarities. My co-worker DID spend quite a bit of time being woken up in the middle of the night by his new puppy, having to escort him outside and then try to get him back to sleep – not unlike waking up to feed or comfort a newborn. He did have an early wake-up call on mornings that he REALLY didn’t want to get out of bed. He has definitely handled his amount of poop and has spent months trying to keep his dog from chewing on things he isn’t allowed to chew on – like babies. It is a good start.

Right now, Olive is in the trick-learning stage (I think Freud put this as spanning the oral and anal stage) so it is hard not to compare her to a pet. If you put a dog and a 10-month old in a room, both have an equal chance of being told to roll over, sit down, give someone a kiss, or to not chew on that.

Leanne and I will sit with Olive for a half hour just rotating through her current tricks: waving, clapping her hands, playing peek-a-boo, stomping her feet, giving kisses, making various pop, click and raspberry sounds with her mouth. We have been trying to get her to blow kisses, but she mostly just laughs at us.

We’re hoping that eventually she can be like that kid who knows all the state capitals or that dog that catches Frisbees.

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