Thursday, July 28, 2011

Kids are Like Dogs. Kind of.

I have a cranky kid on my hands today. It actually started yesterday afternoon as a general fussiness but it has compounded into full-blown crankiness this morning. Simple things get him going, like I handed him a piece of waffle when he wanted the other piece of waffle.  Silly Mama, what was I thinking. He has learned the Head Throw Back move of showing frustration, which shouldn't be a big problem in the high chair, but he's strong enough to lift the front legs of the chair, so I'm now terrified that if I'm not fast enough with the food he's going to throw the whole thing backward. When he's not strapped into the high chair, stroller, or carseat, the Head Throw is extra annoying because he can add injury to insult and then the real fun begins. He is napping soundly now, so it's time to pound out a post! Don't worry, he fell asleep naturally, he didn't pass out from smacking his head on the wall/floor/cabinets/window.

The post I started yesterday had nothing to do with Jack's crabby attitude, so excuse the lack of continuity here. 

Mike and I are always joking about the similarities between babies and dogs. We got Jet while I was pregnant, and it is absolutely not true that caring for a dog prepares people in any way for having a baby, but there are definitely certain times that we have realized, “Hey, this seems familiar.” Often after bringing up one of these comparisons, one of us has added, “But Jack is still not quite as smart as the dog.” He's getting there, and obviously he will surpass him sooner rather than later, but in the first year of life it is obvious that Jet possesses certain cognitive advantages. So without further ado...
Their friendship was fast and furious.

How My Kid and Dog are Alike (and how my dog is still smarter)
  1. They both earn celebrations and praise from Mike and I for their bowel movements. Hooray, poop! Jet, however, can control where and when these things happen. No expensive diapers necessary.
  2. Jack and Jet are both adept at some pretty good tricks: they can sit, lie down, roll over, and high five. But, Jet has him beat since he can do these things on command (Jack's only gotten there with the high five). Plus, Jet can play dead- “Bam! Dead dog!” - spin, dance, shake, go to his bed, etc.
  3. These two hungry boys will both eat anything. Wait, that's not quite true. Jet won't eat paper, plastic, electrical cords, or carrots that aren't dipped in ranch dressing.
  4. They move on all fours. On their back legs is doable, but they need to hold onto something. Generally, Jack's balance is questionable. This is certainly one area that Jet will lose his dominance soon when Jack learns to walk and looks less like a drunk old man when he moves around and more like a little boy.
  5. Jet and Jack need lots of sleep to function at their full potential. Here is the greatest gap. When Jet is tired, he will go the F to sleep. It doesn't matter what time it is, where he is. No one has to rock him, sing to him, turn on a noise machine, supply a pacifier and taggie blanket, lie him down at precisely the right second – not too awake and not too asleep – and sneak out of the room without a sound.** Nope, he just closes his eyes and checks out.

There have been many more, but these are currently my favorite five. Despite all of the ways Jet is easier to care for, he has his own idiosyncrasies as well. I'm sure my previously-documented neuroses have made him worse since we got him, too. He hates to be left alone. He is petrified of numerous things including but not limited to thunderstorms, the word “bath,” the vacuum, the dust buster, my blowdryer, fireworks, etc. He has a habit of sneaking up into our bed in the middle of the night. He has been known to sexually harass my in-laws' dog...

Over time, this list will be obsolete. Jack is making huge leaps and bounds every day, and in a few months when he starts walking, talking, and showing even more personality, it won't be as entertaining to compare the baby and the beast. Right now it's okay that Jack needs a diaper and Jet doesn't – this better not be true after another two years, for my sanity's sake. Considering how big Jack is now, I don't want him wearing diapers for too long or we will need to specially order them.

Illustrated here: the love of food.  They are staring Mike down while he eats a cheese stick.  
The excitement is clearly too much for Jack.
I'm finally at the end and it's about 11 hours later.  What a sad day he was having, but I think we might have solved the mystery.  Once Mike came home we were able to get a good look at his upper gum and it looks like those two top teeth might finally be getting ready to make an appearance- four months after the bottom two. So it was a long day but at least now I can rationalize the behavior, which always makes me feel better.  Slathered on some Orajel and put the stinker to bed.

** I know some of you are judging me right now. I compulsively read about how to “create” good, independent sleepers. But yes, I rock Jack to sleep. Yes, he uses a pacifier like they're going out of style. Yes, we have fallen victim to many difficult-to-break sleep associations like many other first-time parents. Hell, he was swaddled until he was seven months old. But he sleeps about 9.5-10 hours and can usually go back to sleep on his own if he wakes up during the night. I could fill another whole blog with the saga that has been naptime since the day Jack was born.

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