"Temporality is part of the truth" -- Chuck Klosterman

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sit, UBU, Sit. Good Dog.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a post about all of the things my baby wasn't able to do yet. The boy is rapidly approaching his first birthday, and I was noticing how the milestone schedule had slowed dramatically. Two weeks later, I sense the need to amend some of my declarations from before.

So here goes: He'll soon need braces, and he's comfortably cruising Colfax. Naturally, he's now reading at a sixth-grade level, while his athleticism is nothing short of Olympic. But that's not what I came here to say. What I've noticed lately is that my 11-month-old son is not much different from a highly intelligent puppy.

Full disclosure: I don't have pets. I don't want pets. In fact, part of the reason I opted to father a child this late in my life (I'm nearly 72, is what I tell my students when they ask; they often believe me) was so that I wouldn't get the hankering to care for a dog. So it's both ironic and satisfying to see that my child fulfills that role anyway.

Is it a child's toy? or a dog's?
First off, Xander has taken to the game of catch. He started with a soft soccer ball. Now he'll toss around any ball he can grasp and even some he can't, like this one big, blow-up soccer ball. (Don't worry. As soon as possible, I will learn him the correct way of managing the soccer ball: feet first.)

Now, I am aware a dog can't throw, but that's about where the differences end. When he misses a throw or the ball goes rolling away, Xander will gladly chase after it. He scrambles over legs and under furniture in order to fetch the ball and begin the game all over again.

Then, while the boy's down there, underneath the kitchen table, he'll discover the soft wafer he dropped last night or the stray Cheeto that slipped from my own grubby hands during lunch. It's a pleasant anytime snack for him that follows in the tradition of the canine vacuum cleaner. Don't judge my sanitation habits. When was the last time a dog owner swept under the dinner table?

It's not like I'd let him put just anything in his mouth. Pet owners have to make sure Mr. Muggles doesn't eat that pudding that will slide right through him and onto the rug. A severe, "No!" and he'll acquiesce. I, too, must discipline my son when he decides to explore the tastes of the dust bunnies and plastic wrappers around him. He also tends to head straight for the outlet when I've plugged in my laptop, and that requires a stern rebuff from Daddy. He first looks startled, then scared, then angry because he doesn't get his way, then, like the hound he is, he slinks back towards the forbidden zone until physical intervention is required.

And, no, I don't smack my child on the nose with a rolled magazine. (How many dog owners did I just offend?) I jut remove him from the premises. A quarter of an hour out on the patio in the cold gives him time to think about what he did.

Finally, I offer this evidence that the boy is more like a puppy than you'd expect:

He'll wear what you tell him to wear.


  1. This made me giggle, great post. Xander is such a cutie!

  2. So funny! I have kids and a dog, and I've often noticed the similarities. The scary part is when you start seeing similarities between the kid and the Guinea pig, the kid and the parakeet, the kid and the lizards...

  3. Awesome line "A quarter of an hour out on the patio in the cold gives him time to think about what he did." My dog Cooper can't handle the cold. Once it drops below 50 I have to carry him down the steps to go potty.

  4. oh, God, I think you're right. I'd never thought of small children like that, and I hate to admit it makes sense.

  5. My dog never brings the ball back so you got me on that one! :)

  6. Nice to see you've got a healthy perspective on this. I hate to think how you're going to potty train him.

    By the way, you look great for 72 (I wouldn't have put you a day over 65).

    Moody Writing
    The Funnily Enough

  7. Thanks Natalie.

    @ Julie: As I said, I don't believe in pets so I've never thought of the similarities between my son and the parakeet. Maybe when he starts to repeat everything he hears?

    @ James: Yeah, I don't have to carry Xander anywhere to go potty. He just goes where he feels like it. (I would have put potty training in the post, but that's a ways a way.)

    @ McKenzie: The problem is when you start seeing adults this way, too.

    @ Melissa: How do you play fetch, then? You're missing out.

    @ Moody: Potty training comes later. I can't even think about that right now. I've got to go change my Depends.

  8. Xander looks SO happy in the costume. Did you confiscate his Halloween candy, too?

  9. I had kids. Then I had dogs. Then more kids. Now, nothing but dogs.

    Should have stuck with the dogs. They are much easier to train. And they don't have thumbs so they can't just walk back in when you throw them outside.

  10. I also don't really like pets. If you're nearly 72, then I'm nearly a billionaire. Adverbs are so weak.

  11. I don't believe you're 72, not for a second. And I understand your not wanting pets. They're a lot of work.
    Your son is just getting cuter and cuter!

  12. So cute! Enjoy the "wearing what you tell him to" phase. My oldest son heads to school most days in shorts - the weather here is in the low 40's in the mornings! :)

  13. @ laughingmom: He did not enjoy his costume. And we didn't actually take him out trick or treating. That's another (short) story.

    @ darev: When does the dog leave home, though? Are you stuck with it forever?

    @ Michael: Sorry. I'm not really nearly 72. I'm sad for your non-billionaire status.

    Ditto to E.R. and Thanks for the Xander compliment.

    @ Stacy: Your son's got the right idea. I'd wear shorts most of the time if I could.

  14. I have to say, I totally get this. It's nice to see that Xander is learning how to respond to certain commands. He's promising to be a very good dog, er, boy.

    PS: Putting him outside on the patio for bad behavior? Genius! ;)

  15. @ Candice: He knows what No means, but he doesn't actually obey it very well yet.

  16. Even though my dogs won't ever leave the house and become doctors or web entrepreneurs, they still stay around for a lot shorter time than kids do. And they won't leave and then move back in and expect us to do their laundry either.


    But the great thing about kids is that they do eventually grow out of that puppy stage. Though that's where I see the advantage in being a dog owner: my mutts will never become a teenager and start refusing to bring me my slippers.

  18. Neither look happy at the choice of outfit.

  19. @ darev and Nicki: Is it wrong of me to long for the days when the kids are grown and out of the house? That's all Bill Cosby ever wanted on the Cosby Show, and he was vaunted as the greatest dad ever.

    @ Nubian: The boy was definitely not pleased to be a caterpillar.