Toddlers, teenagers and puppies are so similar at times that the only thing separating them is whether they are covered in fur and if have you look up or down to talk with them. As it happens, I am still able to look straight ahead to talk with my teenager but she is quickly over taking me and soon I will have to look up at her to tell her off. I think the step I bought at Ikea will become useful then although I am not sure how scary I will be if I first have to drag the step over to her and then say: Tidy your room now!
So here are what I think puppies, toddlers and teens have in common:
1. All of us gaze down at the quiet, sleeping toddlers, puppies and teenagers after a long day of trying to contain them and think: Oh my, isn’t this the most beautiful creature ever created. And then we sneak out of the room as quietly as we can so as not to wake them up for fear of losing that feeling!
2. They are LOUD! Toddlers throw tantrums, puppies bark and teenagers throw tantrums….
3. Neither toddlers, teenagers nor puppies respond well to a raised voice. If you want cooperation then positive reinforcement is the only way forward. Some people call it bribery but these people probably write books about behaviour instead of having to manage it 24 hours a day.
4. All of them want you to ‘leave them alone’ but all of them constantly demand your attention… go figure.
5. They teach you how to be patient and then they give you lots of opportunities to practice!
6. For some reason all of them have an ongoing war with the walls and doors in the house! My teenager daily tests the strength of the door hinges by slamming them shut so hard the entire house shakes. She has also adorned her newly painted bedroom wall with ridiculous amounts of blue tac (prestic for you South Africans reading) and doubled sided tape to hold up the photos of strange looking boys in bands people over the age of 15 have never heard of! Toddlers love helping us decorate our walls with their crayons! Paper is boring when you are 2 isn’t it? Walls are much easier to use when practicing how to hold a pen correctly. And puppies? Well, I have a friend whose puppy ate a hole into the living room wall. I don’t think I need say more about puppies and furniture….
7. Toddlers, puppies and teenagers will eat through every morsel of food in your house whilst you aren’t watching because you are too busy trying to clean the walls before a child and dog free friend comes to visit! And then they will whinge at you all day about being hungry until you go and empty your purse for more!
8. On the subject of food: have you ever tried to eat something a toddler or puppy can’t have without them noticing? It is impossible- they can sniff out the crisps from upstairs! I think their brains are wired to hear packets open but not hear their name being called! And teenagers will happily point out the fact that you said you were on diet but you are now eating crisps. Can’t stick to your diet mum? Grrrrrrr yes I can and these are baked low calorie crisps so they don’t count!
9. All three are obsessed with their body parts…..
10. Do you remember the days when you could pretend that everything was not falling apart when it really was? For example, you and your partner could spend the whole drive to the party yelling at each other, still throwing little snide comments at each other as you walk towards the front door but as soon as the door is opened you have an enormous ‘all is wonderful’ smile on your face? Liar liar pants on fire! But as soon as you try and pretend that life is great when it isn’t, your puppy, toddler and teen fix that. If you had a toddler in the car on the way to the party they would announce loudly that ‘mummy called daddy a bad name in the car’ as soon as your friend opens the door. And your teenager would most likely do the same but in more detail. They say dogs can feel your emotions, knowing when you are stressed or upset. They can and will behave as if the world is ending! My dog would follow me around whining and refuse to listen when we were out if I was stressed!
11. Toddlers don’t need help from anyone, they can do it ‘by mine self’. Puppies can walk just fine off the lead that’s why they pull you along, they don’t need help staying off the road and teenagers know you are stupid because what has your life experience from the ‘olden days’ got to do with them anyway?
12. But most of all toddlers, teenagers and puppies make our lives happier and more colourful! We would be so very bored without them!