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Um are we at the dog park?

by Our Little Pickle on January 18, 2010 · 3 comments

Everly and I belong to a playgroup that evolved from our prenatal class at Mothering Touch. All of the families were clients of midwives and because of that I think we were a pretty like minded group of gals. All Spring, Summer and Winter this group of women and their babies have been meeting up to walk, munch, chat and play. Something weird happend to our babies over the Winter break though- they became toddlers. No more babies laying on the ground immobile and keeping to themselves! Everly was one of the busiest ones of the group and while watching her play/bully/wreak general havoc I felt an odd sense of deyja vu, like I had been in this situation before. The moment passed and I continued my wrangling of the “danger ranger” (called this because she has a knack for finding dangerous situations/items immediately upon entering a space).

When Everly’s dad got home from work that night I started telling him how our little girl behaved at playgroup that day. I was embarrassed to admit that the behaviour she showed was not entirely pro-social. Yes I know that at this stage of the game they really don’t know what they are doing and are not capable of being malicious, but as a parent you don’t want to see your child hurt another child or cause them to cry. Of course, in true dad fashion he thought her behaviour was hilarious and puffed up his chest, why are dads proud of stuff like that? I told him that it wasn’t funny and that it is a bit embarrassing for me, I told him that it was like being at the dog park with our family dog Cairo- BAM it hit me, that’s why I had the feeling of deyja vu, I had been in that situation before… with my dog. Later that night this got me to thinking about how similar toddler playgroups and dog parks actually are…

Some breeds more lively than others. We all know that babies (like dogs) have different personalities making some more naturally busy than others, I think if Everly were a dog she would be a Jack Russell Terrier. When you get a group of different breeds together- entertainment follows (see next point).

Fights break out. You never know when it is going to happen. One minute they are playing nice and the next someone is pouncing on someone else and crying inevitably follows. Just like in the dog park parents are left as the “owner” of the attacker or the victim. When you are the owner of the attacker you feel terrible (I know this first hand), you apologize profusely and say things like, I just don’t know what got into her. When you are the “owner” of the victim, you try to act like you aren’t pissed but you are a little bit (haven’t been here yet but I can read body language). The owner of the victim usually says something like, oh these things happen, they don’t know any better, they are just doing what babies (dogs) do.

Cleaning up poop. Ah yes, the poop, this one really makes it clear who is in charge. Sometimes I think that dogs and babies know that it is a dirty task that we must do and I think they like watching us do it, I think they think it’s funny and they make fun of us to their baby/dog friends. They are like, “oh you should have seen her today, she gagged when she had to clean me up, I felt like saying to her, mom, you shouldn’t feed me those pears, they do it every time, gawd, parents!” and then they all slap their chubby baby knees and giggle.

Bribing with treats to do tricks or behave themselves. When our babies or dogs learn a new skill we are always so proud to show it off. How often have you seen a child being bribed to talk or clap with the promise of a tasty toddler Poof Star, or a dog being bribed to “roll over” with the promise of a scrap of bacon. Said promises of yummy are also utilized to encourage “good” behaviours. Do you ever think that dogs and babies of parents who do this, misbehave on purpose just so that they can get the treat? I know that if I got a treat to behave after I misbehaved, I would be misbehavin’ all the live long day!

Grooming. Most of us can’t stand the smell of wet dog or the sight of our baby with a snotty nose. Grooming is always entertaining to watch as the groomed does not appreciate what the groomer is doing it one bit. Dog or baby, it doesn’t matter; they twist their bodies away and make howling noises. The act as though we are trying to wipe away their very souls. I am not sure why babies and dogs have such an aversion to being clean? It is a skill to be able to quickly and efficiently clean up your dog or baby, one that comes with lots of time and practice.

Discussion of dog’s/baby’s looks. This always happens at any get together with babies or dogs. You comment on how beautiful another person’s dog is or how baby has her mothers eyelashes (thank you very much). Now this one I am hoping doesn’t cross over too much, because I don’t want to hear that our dog has his mom’s nose, lol.

Loss of boundaries. Dogs sniff each other’s bums and lick each other pretty much anywhere the other dog will let them, I am here to tell you that so do babies. Ugh. Of course, we as parents and owners who have developed a sense of that is so freaking gross, discourage until we are out of breath. But you know, I think that as long as no one is getting hurt by any seriously inappropriate behaviour and there will be no long term psychological damage why not? We let Everly suck on her friend’s feet, oh the parent police are coming for us!

Dogs and Babies, can you handle the cuteness when the two join forces?!

{ 1 trackback }

Dog Park = Toddler Play Group « Our Little Pickle
January 18, 2010 at 12:41 pm

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Alison January 19, 2010 at 1:25 pm

this made me laugh out loud! GREAT post!!!!

Our Little Pickle January 26, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Thanks Alison- glad you enjoyed it 🙂

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