Motherhood // Trial by Dog
My ovaries are screaming to procreate once more. One final time.
My heart is fluttering with the thought of growing a baby in my tummy. Of birthing it. Of holding it and smelling it’s new baby smell. Of nurturing it. The pride. The love. The tiny hands and feet.
My head is remembering how I didn’t sleep for more than two hours at a time for 10 whole months. How the youngest screamed all day, every day, for six months. How the influx of hormones affects my mental health; reminding me of how I’m only just starting to feel balanced again.
Who will win? My ovaries and heart, or my head? Well, I think we all know the answer to that one…
This weekend, I volunteered our services to dog sit while some friends went away. We’ve been talking about getting a dog for a while now; both children would benefit from a pet in the house, and it might help quell my desire for a third child (ha!).
I’m also a firm believer in pets as therapy, and I know that we’d all feel better from twice-daily walks and dog cuddles.
So Harvey arrived on Friday to stay for the weekend. Harvey is a springador – a springer spaniel and labrador cross – and probably a bit bigger than we would like our own dog to be. He was, understandably, very excited when he first arrived, and H-Bear took it upon himself to play ball with Harvey almost immediately.
I smiled, watching my son play with the dog and thought: “This is what it’s all about – look at that bond developing already.”
However, within 20 minutes of Harvey’s owner leaving, I was chasing him around the garden trying to prise children’s toy number 5 out of his mouth… Meanwhile, little did I know it, but H-Bear had scaled the sofa in our family room. He proceeded to fall off it with a huge bang onto the wooden floor. Giving up on the dog, I ran to his aid, and found him with a mouth full of blood, a wonky tooth and, to cap it all off, he’d fallen on a wasp and squished it. Frantically trying to stem the blood flow, I looked at the clock and realised I had to leave for the school run in five minutes…
I tried every possible avenue of communication to get hold of Nick to see whether he could pick Busby up. No luck.
The dog wasn’t allowed to come on the school run as he had a poorly paw, so I also had to attempt to put the cone of shame on him. He decided he didn’t want to come back inside from his toy graveyard (aka the garden), until he saw that H-Bear’s face was covered in blood… which he then tried to lick off.
By this point I was wondering why on earth I’d decided this would be a good idea, and that a third child would be infinitely easier to deal with. It was like I’d agreed to have another toddler to stay – just a toddler that was three times the size of my own toddler, and, unlike H-Bear, this one would actually eat the toys he put in his mouth…
I made it to school with time to spare, and frantically walked home with an acquired preschooler, wondering what sort of state the living room would be in when we got back… Thankfully he had only knocked over a lamp and I wasn’t welcomed back with fallen bookcases!
The evening was better; I took him for a walk around our nearest green space, and he sniffed and wagged the whole way.
The night wasn’t ideal; Nick ended up sleeping on the sofa downstairs with him because he wouldn’t stop barking. Nick did this both nights… Nick is not sold on the dog idea.
Saturday was wonderful. We went for a dog walk in the morning – with both kids in wellies, exploring the woods. We had tea and cake when we came back, and it was my idyllic vision of how I envisaged our life in Yorkshire. I worked in the afternoon, and Harvey came and lay underneath my workspace while I edited photos.
My heart swelled.
Sunday saw a return to chaos. Nick was tired after two nights on the sofa with the dog. Busby was tired after a full-on week, and then the excitement of the dog. H-Bear was tired after walking further than he’s walked in his life, and the constant playtime with Harvey. And I was a bit stressed with impending deadlines. Tired + stress + dog that eats everything (including the foam off carseat handles) = a grumpy family.
In someways we were quite happy to hand him back on Sunday evening. Nick has never had a dog before, so I think it was a bit of a shock to him – and Harvey definitely tipped the nice balance we’ve got going at the moment in our family. He’s always said he wants a big dog, but I think that opinion has been changed this weekend!
I think Busby was also quite thankful to see him go, as all of the toys have remained safely away this weekend, and she’s been desperate to get her tea set out for a picnic! I do think she had a good time with Harvey though – he’s just a bit bigger than my mum’s dog whom she’s used to.
H-Bear hasn’t liked sharing my attention this weekend, but he’s had a fantastic time with Harvey, and I think he will miss him.
I will definitely miss him. Yes, he ate everything, he jumped up everywhere and he wouldn’t listen, but I loved having an animal around. He gave good cuddles. He kept me busy. He gave me a reason to get out and have fresh air. And I honestly think he’s done my mental health a lot of good (although Nick is probably questioning my sanity at this statement because the weekend was UTTER CHAOS… but fun!).
So, dog or baby? Baby or dog?
Can I have both?!