Puppy Paranoia

I’ve already said that we were getting a puppy. And a week and a half ago, we did. Oh boy, did we. And he is 9 weeks of pure puppy mischief! Harper’s energy is boundless and already, he has a few tricks to pull. He’s even tried faking us out on his potty break. And he chews on everything. Even rocks (one of his favorites).

Having him in the house is stressful because the moment I look away, he’s chewing on the furniture or peeing on the carpet. In a way, he’s like a toddler, only less responsibility.

It’s been an eye-opening experience. I already shiver with fear about birthing kids into this world. Pregnancy alone can do such strange things to a woman’s body. And that’s before the kid comes out! Those first few nights when puppy kept us up or woke us up at odd hours were enough to convince me: I’m not ready, nor do I think I will ever be ready, to have kids.

But isn’t that how it is with everyone? No one’s ready for kids, but when the kid comes, you can’t imagine life without him or her (or so I hear from the parents out there). I haven’t reached that point yet, but this is also a dog, not a human. And thank God I can put him in his kennel to have a break from him. With kids, not so easy.

It seriously scares me that I don’t have what it takes to raise a child. I mean, I really love getting enough sleep. Trust me, I’m not a pleasant person to be around when I’m sleepy (or hungry for that matter).

I have newfound respect for all the parents out there, especially the single parents. I know I couldn’t do it alone. Just handling a puppy for a few hours is enough for me. But I think Harper will be good for my husband and me. It will get us out of the house and toughen us up.

The training part is hard, especially when he’s little. So for now, we’ll work on small pieces of training while playing with him. He’s a smart little guy and he’s learning fast. If only he would learn “down” when he gets so excited that he jumps on us. I just hope we can squash the bad habits before they become bad mannerisms.

We will do what we have to do to train a pup the right way. It will take some time and commitment to training. We have to learn how to communicate with him just as he needs to learn how to communicate with us. The real question is: Who is training who?

Our new puppy

Our new puppy, Harper

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Comparison, Shmarison

I’ve always thought that I don’t compare myself to others, but if I look closer, I realize that I do and I do it often. As a kid, adults told me not to compare my life to other people’s lives. But in the same breath, they told me that someone out there had it worse than me.

“Eat your vegetables, some kids don’t have food to eat.”

“Go to school, some kids don’t get the privilege to do so.”

“It could always be worse, you know.”

I think there’s some merit to that, but it’s overdone and not always used for a good purpose. It’s like telling your kids that it’s okay to compare yourself to others as long as it shows you in a better light (i.e. you’re more fortunate than that poor kid down the street). But it’s not okay if it shows you in a bad light, as in, “Stop comparing yourself to the most popular girl in class, you’re pretty in your own way.” What’s the difference? You’re comparing yourself nonetheless. What makes it right in one circumstance and not in another?

Of course it’s in that “good” context where it makes me feel better about my circumstances. And again, I think when people say it, they have good intentions. Sometimes we do need a reminder that we are very blessed. But we need to come clean. Should we or shouldn’t we compare ourselves to others?

I used to stay in the gray area.  I believed it wasn’t good to compare yourselves to others, but in certain circumstances it could be helpful. Now, I’m not so sure that’s the best way to look at things.

I just read “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky. It had insightful moments throughout, but this particular paragraph really sparked this post.

“I think that if I ever have kids, and they are upset, I won’t tell them that people are starving in China or anything like that because it wouldn’t change the fact that they were upset. And even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn’t really change the fact that you have what you have. Good and bad.”

I think it’s good to be aware of these things happening in the world, and also to use them to see your own life more clearly. But they don’t define your life.

Just because there are people starving in the world doesn’t mean you should feel guilty about eating a heaping plate of food. But you should be grateful for having such an abundance. Equally, you may know someone who lives in a mansion, but that doesn’t mean that your house is any less of a home. You have what you have.

More important than comparing ourselves to everyone else, I think we need to be grateful for what he have while always striving to be better. After all, we could all be better, no matter our circumstances. Balance. Life is always first and foremost about keeping everything in balance.

Now if I could just take my own advice…

Nostalgic 90’s

What would happen if we all went back to the 1990’s? I know, I know, every generation has their decade of nostalgia and for my generation, that is the 90’s. It was a time period where people were less afraid of their neighbors and the world seemed to be a more stable place. There was less worry, but then again, I was very young and there tends to be less worry when you’re young.

Still, when I was a kid, trick-or-treaters actually came into your house to get their candy. Even if you didn’t know each other. The thought of that today would send shivers down most people’s spines. From the parents’ perspective, there would be the threat of kidnapping or worse. From the homeowner’s perspective, robbery or worse. What has happened to us in the short 20 years since then?

I can think of many things, but the one event that seemed to spark this distrust: 9/11. Our sense of security was obliterated with that smoking building. We’re not as safe as we thought. Fear. It does strange things to people. It multiplies so easily. If only happiness was that contagious.

Another: the Internet. In the 90’s, it was still new to commercial use and less widespread. But now, our lives are no longer private and our personal information is sacred. Among many other factors, they combined to change our lives: A flaming attack on innocent people in NYC, identity theft from strangers, a mysterious new technology that connects the world. A dangerous world was brewing. And everything was about to change.

Now, technology is updated so often that even the Joneses are having a hard time keeping up. Trust me, I know them. The Internet has made our lives more efficient….and more plugged in. Cell phones are like lifelines for most people. Some of them panic at the thought of leaving the house without their phones.

But in the 90’s, that’s what we did. We faced the world head-on in our flashy-colored clothes. We weren’t afraid to be stranded without that line of communication. Car trouble at that time was hoping and praying for a good Samaritan as you stood by the side of the road with a smoking vehicle. And yes, that’s a bit scary, but there’s adventure in that. We lived precariously according to today’s standards, but we were alive in the risk.

What a wonderful decade. It was a time where people were invested in other people instead of being so drawn in to the device in their hand. Unless you had a Game Boy, of course.

I’ve been told that if you keep a piece of out-dated clothing long enough, eventually it will come back in style. I hope this is true of the 90’s. I hope we can recycle that feel-good rush of a life lived on the brightly colored edge.

So what do you think? What was your nostalgic era and why?

 

Photo credit: eyewashdesign: A. Golden / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)