Wednesday, August 11, 2010

DOG vs. BABY

Like many twenty-something females, I have started to get an increasing biological-clock urge to begin procreating. I’ve always known that I want to have children, preferably several (or many), but this time of life seems to pull that desire right to the forefront. Babies and pregnant women are all around me – three of my friends had babies this summer, and a couple more are due before the end of the year. It also seems like there have been more baby-centric ads on the intertubes and televisions lately, but that could just be a result of my trolling baby-name websites for fun (please tell me I’m not the only twenty-something female that does this).

It should also be noted that in every Facebooked baby photo and Gerber ad, you never see/hear the piercing wails, poop, and sleep deprivation that come along with every adorable bundle of joy and cuteness. You just see THE CUTENESS!!! So what do you do? YOU WANT ONE.

However, like many twenty-something females, I have a male counterpart who is not so easily swayed by THE CUTENESS. Whenever we see an adorable baby on the bus, I look at the Husband with Puss-in-Boots eyes, and he responds with a Shrek shrug and a grimace. Not that he doesn’t also find them adorable; he does, but he seems to have a sixth sense in looking at babies – a sense that is constantly attuned to the sleepless nights and poop-filled mornings lurking behind the giggles and onesies. And deep down, I know that the Husband does want an adorable baby in a couple of years, and that I should probably break my addiction to school before attempting motherhood.

Fortunately, my deep-rooted maternal instincts have always managed to manifest in socially acceptable ways: taking care of younger siblings, baby-sitting, being a dorm RA, etc. Having outgrown those options, and not wanting to introduce a new dimension of creeptastic oddity into my marriage by getting a Reborn Doll or something, I suggested to the Husband that we consider getting a pet after moving into the new house. He was amenable to this (especially since it might mean less Puss-in-Boots stare-downs at eight in the morning), and through a truly serendipitous set of circumstances that deserve their own blog post, we found ourselves with a sweet, lovable 18-month old Huskador* named Riley, two days after we moved into the new house.

(*A Huskador is a Husky-Labrador mix; at least, that is the proper name according to Google. Riley has white-blond fur and blue eyes!)

We are now about ten days past that point, and I’ve spent the interim evaluating our decision. Again, Riley deserves his own blog post, and he shall get it in due time, but this post is really about Dog versus Baby. How do they stack up against each other, in terms of introduction into the life of a twenty-something? I’ve compiled the following list in order to compare:

EASE OF CARE
Dog: feeding, cleaning up after him/her, occasional grooming, limited training, taking for walks.
Baby: feeding, cleaning up after him/her, constant grooming, extensive training, teaching to walk.
DOG 1, BABY 0

NOISE LEVEL
Dog: may bark at people, other dogs, squirrels, leaves, garbage trucks, and occasionally at nothing at all.  Also may howl, growl, or snarl at any of same.
Baby: may scream and cry for a cornucopia of reasons.  Also, WILL bang on any object that makes a loud noise as soon as gross motor skills permit.
DOG 2, BABY 0

EASE OF ACQUISITION:
Dog: you go to the pet store/shelter/website and pick one.  Sure, there is some personality matching involved, and a vet visit to get the shots and a snip-snap, but you basically can say, "Do you know what I want?  A DOG," and it probably won't be that life-sucking to find one.
Baby: pick your poison: nine months of life-force-draining as you incubate a brand-new human, or many months/years of paperwork, trips, and interviews to adopt an infant or child.  However you choose to become a parent, it is NEVER easy.  Worth it? Yes.  More difficult than obtaining Unobtainium? Yes.
DOG 3, BABY 0

(wow, looking like we made the right call so far!  GO TEAM DOG!)

DESTRUCTION CAPABILITIES
Dog: immediate and immense.  Among teeth, claws, and bodily waste, Dog's capabilities to physically decimate house and home begin as soon as it bounds through your doorway.  Or through your door itself, depending on the dog.
Baby: eventually, capacity for destruction may surpass that of Dog, but at least until Baby learns to walk, damage is generally limited to clothing and linens.
DOG 3, BABY 1

TRANSPORTABILITY
Dog: loves to ride in the car, but can't sit in it worth a darn.  Also, there are many places that Dog cannot go: supermarkets, restaurants, airplanes, movie theaters, offices, churches... and if you're planning on going anywhere for longer than a day, Dog needs to be boarded.
Baby: car seat is a hassle, but Baby can go just about anywhere.  Additionally, for places that do not appreciate Baby's healthy lungs (and resultant Banshee-shrieks), there are often nurseries and babysitters available.
DOG 3, BABY 2

CUTENESS
Dog: they don't call them "puppy-dog eyes" for nothing...
Baby: but really, this is no contest.  What's cuter than a baby?  TWO babies, that's what.  The only real way to make something cuter than a baby is to add another baby. (Don't tell TLC, or they'll roll out a new show called "Baby Math" or something.  Actually, I'm going to go reserve that domain now... just in case.)
DOG 3, BABY 3

(hmm, Team Dog is losing steam.  What's a good tie-breaker?)

NET USEFULNESS
Dog: watches for burglars.  Keeps you in shape with early morning walks.  Makes an immediate, excellent, faithful companion.  However, has to be let out for "business time" every so often.
Baby: immediate usefulness per se is limited, other than maternity leave and being invited by strangers to please cut in front of them at the supermarket.  However, long-term applications are endless and include: sense of purpose, feelings of pride toward your spawn, and reassurance that somebody will hopefully, eventually take care of YOU.
DOG 3, BABY 4

Well, shoot!  By this incredibly scientific inquiry, it seems that the Husband and I should have gone with Baby rather than Dog!  I feel like I just played Deal or No Deal to the last case and ended up with 75,000 dollars instead of the million that was in the other case.  I'm still mildly ecstatic, because it is 75,000 dollars, after all; but I could have had a MILLION!

Oh, well.  I know we will get there eventually.  In a few years, we will unite the forces of both Dog AND Baby, and we will be UNSTOPPABLE!  Until then, I'll just keep trolling baby-name websites and drooling over Gerber commercials.  And the Husband will just have to get used to this.

3 comments:

  1. Lovely post! I, too, am a twenty-something, though fortunately for my husband, my biological clock is still just creeping along. I attribute this in part to our similar solution, namely Jasmine, our cat/surrogate-child. (My mother has dubbed her her "grand-kitty")

    So I would like to briefly revisit your analysis but including a third option:

    Ease of care:
    Cat - feeding (we have an automatic dispenser so she doesn't wake us), cleaning up after him/her (husband empties litter box weekly), self-grooming, need for exercise fulfilled by laser pointer.
    Dog 0, Baby 0, Cat 1

    Noise Level:
    She meows like crazy when we get home, but there's only so much noise she can make.
    Dog 0, Baby 0, Cat 2

    Ease of Acquisition:
    Equivalent to a dog, if not easier, so I'd give it to them both. Ours was born on my friend's farm.
    Dog 1, Baby 0, Cat 3

    Destructive Capabilities:
    While there's plenty of people with shredded furniture--which we avoid with a scratching post--you have to admit that a dog and baby can do worse.
    Dog 1, Baby 0, Cat 3

    Transportability:
    When traveling, our cat either rides along in the pet carrier or stays home with a neighbor that looks in on her daily.
    Dog 1, Baby 0, Cat 4

    Cuteness:
    Personally I think cats are the cutest, at least as kittens. I would like to cite your own Puss-in-Boots picture. But all can be cute in their own way, and all are designed, at least in a young stage, to elicit an overwhelming "awwwww, I want to nuture this thing to death!" feeling.
    Dog 1, Baby 1, Cat 5

    Net Usefulness:
    I'll admit the cat's failing in this category. She's here to entertain us and act as our surrogate-child, a low-maintenance companion we can afford to care for at the current busy level. And so I'll agree with your long-term projected view of Babies being useful.
    Dog 1, Baby 2, Cat 5

    Hmm, somehow my own analysis has shown cats to be the superior creature! Of course, we don't currently have the time necessary to devote to a baby, much less a dog (and we don't have a nice house =P). So I could see some sample biases here.

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  2. You forgot one other important category--COST. Here, dogs and babies lose again. :D Cats, FTW!

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  3. Kim and KXM, fantastic counter-analyses! I'm thinking of doing some more "versus" match-ups, so I will look forward to hearing more of your assessments! I DO want to get a cat as well (and name it Nicholas Nickleby), but the Husband isn't keen on introducing another being to our house until the three of us settle in. And I agree. Sigh. Darn you, maturity!!!

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