Sitting in the waiting room at our pediatrician’s office without either child, Gabriella and I chatted–something we rarely get to do without interruption in the middle of the day. Our doctor was running late for our doctor-patient conference which, of course, was a complete shock. Who ever heard of a doctor running late? Gabriella thumbed through the one cooking magazine she could find amidst the piles of mommy magazines distilling parenting advice into digestible paragraphs.
Gabriella: There’s a gaggle of gay boys at the train platform I see every morning.
Deborah: Have you made contact?
G: As a matter of fact, I chatted with a couple of them yesterday morning. David and David.
D: Are they together?
G: And one of them is a behavioral pediatrician. We talked about the boys for a bit, and he had some interesting thoughts.
D: Mmm hmm.
G: Yes. He asked if we had a dog.
Insert sound of record needle scratched off an LP.
D: We’re not getting a dog.
Dogs. I love them. I do. Dogs have been a part of my childhood since birth. In theory, I would like to have a dog. I want the boys to experience the unconditional love of a furry, friendly, happy friend….as long as the dog comes with its own dog-nanny.
Don’t roll your eyes and tell me that dogs are easy because I know from first-hand experience that there is nothing easy about caring for a dog. Forget about the day to day chores of walks and poop pick-up and imagine the not so day-to-day lives of dogs. Imagine the inevitable illnesses and piles of warm, vomit gagged up on carpets left for me to pick up. Imagine the aftermath when lovable pooch gets into the birthday cake we left sitting on the counter for just a second to answer the door. (Flashback to my sister’s 6th birthday and the half cake left standing.) Imagine the hip displacement, cataracts, arthritis or kidney disease. Imagine the Freshpet food that is so fresh that it must be refrigerated because we will be guilted into serving only the very best and most healthy food. Ew.
Pet people: But your dog will be a member of your family. You wouldn’t think about life without your children because they get sick occasionally and vomit on your rug, would you?
Not everyone wants to have a child, and that is perfectly fine by me. I don’t care what your reasons are. If you don’t want a child, you definitely shouldn’t have one. As a matter of fact, I applaud you for not caving into societal pressures to procreate. Kids are not accessories, and neither are dogs. And if I should not want a dog, I should not have a dog.
Gabriella: David says that dogs are really great for all kids because they reduce anxiety and increase social skills.
Deborah: Dogs increase anxiety in mothers–this mother, anyway.
Gabriella casually flipped through the cooking magazine: Can you believe all these adds for pharmaceuticals? Every single ad in this magazine is for a drug-a drug with 50 side effects, no less. Look, I don’t really want a dog either, but if having a dog benefits our children….
Deborah: Are you telling me that if I refuse to get a dog, I am denying my kids a well-adjusted childhood?
Gabriella: I’m going to ask the doctor what she thinks.
Deborah: You do that. You set me up, didn’t you? I bet you spoke with her earlier and prepped her for a conversation about dogs. You did, didn’t you? Didn’t you? Next you’re going to tell me that your mother came to you in a dream last night and told that you if we didn’t get a dog our children would be cursed for eternity. Listen here, Tevye, tell Fruma Rosa we are not getting a dog*.
Gabriella: Do you think I should serve stew on Saturday for our dinner party?
Deborah: Too casual.
Gabriella: Ok then. Are you upset now?
Deborah: No. I was just thinking that I should hang out with you more often. You give good blog.
*Fiddler on the Roof reference:
Happy Birthday, Nonna. We miss you.