I’m pretty sure I’m suffering from puppy postpartum depression (“PPPD”). I just called Ad Man because I was lonely and feeling frustrated by doggy parenting and ended up crying on the phone like an effing lunatic. I’m now sitting at the coffee shop reflecting on my own madness while I sip tea and try to act like a normally functioning member of society.
I’ve come up with a few insights, but first, I’ll back up and give you some positive news. Birdie has been incredibly easy to crate-train and potty-train. Surely, I’ve just cursed myself and she’s home in her crate rolling around in a big pile of crap as we speak. But, thus far, the only accident she’s had was the time she was crying at the door shortly after a “productive” trip outside. I ignored her even when Smalls said, “Mommy, she does that when she has to go potty.” I answered, “She can’t possibly have to go out, she just went…” and stepped in a puddle of pee.
Here’s one of the problems though…Birdie has caught on and knows that if she whines by the door, I’ll quickly whisk her outside where she’ll indulge in her favorite activities: eating rocks, laying like a lump in the grass and flat out refusing to take anything even remotely resembling a walk. She’s the dog who cried “I have to pee!” and knows I’m no match for her. Seriously, she’s drunk with power.
Which reminds me of my friend M’s response when I told her that Birdie is actually younger than we thought. She said, “Oooohhh…you got yourself a smart dog. You’re screwed.” She expressed her sympathy and told me that bright dogs are great when they’re puppies because they take to training easily. However, they quickly outsmart you and learn sneaky ways to get what they want. Unfortunately, Birdie is on the fast-track to becoming the Maestro of Playing-Mom-Like-a-Fiddle.
Being outsmarted by a dog is just one of the frustrations that have been leading to my PPPD though. Add to that the utterly mind-numbing hours I spend in the yard trying to keep Birdie from eating stuff while I, in turn, am baking in the sun and acting as a delicious chew toy for every mosquito in the neighborhood. I could slather myself in pure DEET and those little fuckers would still be chasing me around the yard. I’ve read that they’re attracted to carbon dioxide and have seriously considered whether I’d rather be eaten by mosquitoes or just give up breathing altogether.
Anyway, as for the insights, I’ve realized that there are many ways in which my PPPD symptoms are reminiscent of the post-baby craziness I endured after the births of my human babies:
- I feel completely incompetent and unqualified for the job at hand.
- I have limited time for grooming, hence the reason my hairstyle has devolved into two looks I like to call “dirty-hair-in-stretchy headband” and “dirty-hair-in-baseball-cap.”
- I’m lonely from being limited to the house, yard and short jaunts to the grocery store. All of my friends are either working or busy with their own animal or human babies.
- The only breaks I have are when the “baby” is sleeping and, even then, I get nothing done around the house because I’m walking on eggshells trying not to wake her up.
- On a related note, if someone knocks loudly on the front door, there’s a distinct possibility I will stab them.
- Even if I could manage to have a conversation with another adult human being, the only topic on which I’d be able to speak with any authority is poop.
If I dig deeper though, I’m cognizant of the fact that Biggie and Smalls just went back to school and I’m left with many hours alone once more. The empty house strikes again. I hoped having a puppy would help with the loneliness, but I did not foresee how difficult and, well, not entertaining she would be. I feel like the child who is so excited to play with her new baby brother or sister only to be sorely disappointed when the infant turns out to be just a sleeping, pooping, lump.
My go-to coping mechanisms–exercise and writing–have become more challenging to schedule into my day. I don’t mean to complain. We all adore our new puppy and haven’t for a moment regretted getting her. I just need to vent and you, dearest readers, are the lucky recipients of my angst. Not to worry though, I’m working to get my new-puppy hormones back in check and will likely be back to my normal level of crazy sometime very soon. Hopefully, Birdie will also quickly learn how to take actual walks with me and stop literally biting the hand that feeds her. In the meantime, at least she’s providing me with lots of blog post material.