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Parenthood: The Test Run

My husband and I were married in October of last year. From that point on, people continually ask us how we are liking adjusting to married life. We generally reply, “Good,” because that’s what people expect and it saves us a long, drawn-out explanation. The truth is, we do have a good marriage, but we had been living together for three years prior to saying, “I do.” We have already combined belongings, gotten used to annoying habits, negotiated cleaning duties, finances, and even remodeled our basement. We were an old married couple long before I had a ring on my finger. The only things we had to get used to were my new last name and our parents’ new outlook on sex. Immediately after the ceremony, the folks went from threats like, “Don’t you dare get pregnant!” to “When are you going to make me some grandbabies?” Everyone was essentially hounding us to hop in the sack and get busy. My husband and I began to threaten to charge $5 whenever the “B-word” came up. If we had actually followed through and collected on this, our future child would probably have at least their first year of college paid for. We should have done it and still may. For the baby, of course.

Jeff and I are in no position to have a kid right now. They are expensive and require a lot of time and energy. Jeff has a decent job, but he is working full time while completing his Masters’ Degree. I work retail while going to school full time. I’m one year away from my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and Media. Hopefully I can find a decent job after graduation. I guess we’re better off than a lot of young newlyweds, but we are never home and always exhausted. So, we decided to do what a lot of young couples do when faced with the big decision of future parenthood: We got a puppy.

Minion, our 5-month-old English Bulldog.

I’m pretty sure that an English Bulldog named Minion is not exactly the addition to the family that our parents where hoping for, but they seem to have embraced their new granddog with enthusiasm. My mom has even added his photo to the “grandkid wall” at work. My Mother-In-Law jokingly exclaims, “My new grandbaby is a bulldog!” to her friends.Think about it. A puppy is a great trial run in parenthood. After we first brought him home, Minion kept us up all night. Jeff and I argued about who’s turn it was to get up with the puppy and we both turned up to work exhausted in the morning. We eventually caved and let him share the bed with us. He peed the bed. He frequently interrupts our love life, drools everywhere, makes messes, breaks things, puts everything in his mouth, gets riled up at bedtime, and we are still trying to get the hang of potty training. Oh, the potty training! Jeff usually gets to be the fun parent, starting wild games of wrestling or tug-of-war with the “kids” while I get stuck with bath and vet duty along with the general wrangling of the little monster. Typical.

Dixie Dachshund, “the Oldest”

We also have sibling rivalry to contend with. Minion’s older sisters, our other two dogs, didn’t quite know what to make of their pesky little brother. Our oldest, Dixie the dachshund, actually took quite well to the new addition. She quickly showed him the ropes, teaching him how to use the communal water dish and keeping an eye on him in the back yard. She has also become engaged in helping us with our potty training efforts. She barks and becomes wildly excited when she needs to go out. Minion has caught onto the barking act, but I’m not fully convinced that he knows why he’s doing it yet. Hopefully he will make the connection soon. Dixie and Minion follow me around the house like a pair of ducklings. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to go to the bathroom by myself. I found the situation extremely annoying at first, but am slowly getting used to my ever-present companions. I am tripping over them much less now.

Disco, “the Queen”

Disco, our German Shepherd/Husky mix, is a daddy’s girl and the reigning queen of the household. She most certainly does not approve of the chubby little wrecking ball bounding through the house. I like to think of her as our teenager. She’s cute. She knows it. She loves affection, but you will love her on her ownterms. She listens when she feels like it and has her daddy wrapped around her little paw. When we brought home our little bundle of joy, she essentially did a dog version of a teenage girl tantrum. If she could roll her eyes, stomp her foot and sigh heavily before storming off to her room, she would have. Instead she just stormed off to her room, laid in her chair and gazed morosely out the window. She refused to come out for a few days. We’ve been slowly improving on the brother/sister relationship though. Disco can stand to be in the same room as Minion now. There is much less overall growling and snarling going on. I think Disco is starting to realize that she hasn’t lost her queendom, she has just gained a really pesky subject.

Jeff and I have managed to build a home and a family that suit our lifestyle right now. I’m not saying that we will never have babies of our own, but we are young and there is plenty of time for that. With three dogs in the house, life is anything but boring. We always have chew toys scattered all over the floor and our sofa cushions are in a constant state of disarray. Minion is afraid of thunderstorms, but everything’s okay as long as he can sleep nestled between Mom and Dad. Our furry entourage follows us everywhere the public permits, but their favorite destination is Grandma’s house. I can’t imagine life without my babies and although they drive me insane, I love them with all of my heart. I’m fairly certain the feeling’s mutual. So family and friends, you’re just going to have to get used to the image of me bouncing a bulldog in my lap. He’s a pretty damn cute baby if you give him a chance.


About melaniekoraleski

Hello everyone! I am a graphic artist/makeup-artist-in-training/bookworm from Omaha, NE. I write about whatever happens to be floating around in my brain at the moment. Stop by my blog and take a look around. Cheers!

12 responses »

  1. Found you on Truth and Cake and am LOVING this post!! Minion is adorable! How could a grandparent not love that face?!?

    • Thank you for stopping by! I’m loving Truth and Cake. Rian had a brilliant idea and I’m finding this a lot of fun. The grandparents have learned to accept a bulldog for a grandson and now spoil all of our dogs like they were actual grandkids. It’s really cute. I’m looking forward to reading more from your blog too! 🙂

  2. Lovely post! I found you through Truth and Cake, and chuckled all the way through your post! I can manage six kids, but the thought of three dogs send me into a cold sweat!

    • Thank you! Wow, six kids! You’re a very brave woman. Hats off to you! My “kids” are a handful, but I don’t know if I could do what you do. I’m the oldest of four kids. Our house was crazy all the time, but we all had a great time growing up together.

  3. Though I have neither the space for a child or a dog at the moment, I think this is a very good idea of how to prepare for the big baby commitment.

    • Yeah, we’ve learned a lot about each other since we brought Minion home. He needs a lot of time and attention and we were used to our other dogs mostly doing their own thing. He was a much bigger shock on our lifestyle than we expected. I’ve always thought that you could tell a lot about a person’s parenting style from the way they handle their dogs.

  4. I have two kids now, but when people used to ask my husband and I that question, I started saying, “When are YOU going to have (another) baby?” That shut them up pretty quickly, but I like your charging $5 idea.

  5. Your dogs are gorgeous! I, too, opted for a puppy before a baby. Although, a dog is nothing near what it’s like to raise a child or brings you no where near the reward, it teaches you quite a few things in the parenting realm. When you’re ready for a baby, you’ll know.

    • Thank you! Someday…eventually…in the distant future, I know we’ll be ready for actual parenthood. I can tell that my husband is going to be a great daddy from the way he melts over the puppy and cares for him. It’s really sweet.

  6. Mr. Whine and I are also in no position to comfortably allow union of sperm and egg. But you do make me want a canine (or two…or three…). Perhaps I should have Mr. Whine (not a huge fur fan) read this post!

    • Have him read it! Then do some research, there are some dog breeds out there that are easy on allergies and don’t shed. It’s important to choose a furry baby that will fit your lifestyle. Dogs are wonderful. I can’t imagine my life without them.


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