Andrew and I are both dog people. Before getting married, we talked pretty seriously about getting a dog, but then we got engaged, were working full time (plus I was working another part time job), planning a wedding, driving across the country, getting married…you get the picture. It didn’t seem fair to get a dog if we couldn’t devote the time we both thought a dog deserved. “Maybe after we’re married,” we both said. Then I got pregnant.
Now that Griffin has been in our lives for over a year, we’ve been talking about how we’d love to have a dog someday. . .like when Griffin can take care of it. But we’ve also been thinking, “Who needs a dog when you have a baby?” The parallels are more than you might imagine. Griffin likes to:
unroll and shred the toilet paper
eat everything, especially non-food items
get into the recycling and garbage
go for walks
pee on the rug
run around in the backyard
lap up water from puddles
And yesterday, we discovered he loves the sprinkler! Check out the video:
Of course, a dog can’t say “Mama” or “Dada,” and a dog certainly won’t sit on your lap and listen to you read stories while he turns the pages. And even though Griffin likes to pull all the books off of the bookshelves and reorganize the tupperware all over the kitchen floor, we think he’s a keeper and better than any dog we could have imagined.
I’m discovering as I get older that perhaps I’m the kind of person who prefers the quiet. Those of you who know me well might be saying, “Duh, Sarah. Aren’t you the woman who has chosen to spend most of her summers in a tent in the woods? And hey, didn’t you live for an entire year in a state park?” So perhaps I’m a little slow on the uptake. I mean, really, I kind of think screaming should be reserved for when you’re being eaten by a bear. You’d think I would have figured out by now that I prefer quiet.
But seriously, sometimes these insights creep up on me and I realize, “Oooohhhhh, there are different people in the world. Those who like it noisy and those who like it quiet, and I like quiet!” So imagine my surprise when I said to myself, “I really should buy Griffin one of those fake phones that makes all kinds of noise when you push the buttons! And maybe it should be in Elmo’s voice! And be able to say Griffin’s name! That would be an awesome addition to my life!”
Yes, I’ll confess that I’ve often looked with disdain at those toys that light up, talk to you, and do all kinds of things that seem unnecessary. I believe the words, “The WORLD is stimulating enough! I will never buy something like that for my child! Kids don’t need all those bells and whistles!” have come out of my mouth on more than one occasion, definitely with an eye roll for dramatic effect. But need is the operative word here. Of course kids don’t NEED those things, but they sure do like ’em, and Griffin is definitely one of those kids who delights in things that go “whirrrrr!”
Sure, he’ll play with the beautiful stuffed animal I painstakingly made out of felt or the natural wooden blocks, but what he really, really loves is carrying our cordless phone around while pushing the buttons to hear the noise and watch it light up. We were ending up chasing him all over the house making sure he didn’t dial 911 or India, and finally I decided he needed a phone of his own.
I considered looking at the second-hand stores first, but frankly traipsing all over Oakland with Griffin in tow pursuing this one thing I may never find wasn’t too appealing. So I headed to Target as part of a greater errand run, and the choices were surprisingly limited (apparently the newest thing for kids is to have their own play laptop, so I guess I’m behind the times). It was either Elmo, Buzz Lightyear, or some obnoxious Japanese character I’ve never heard of. I had to forget my goal of purchasing things without television or Disney characters on them (I guess I’ve got a lot of issues), and let Griffin play with Elmo and Buzz in the cart to see which seemed the least disturbing. Surprisingly, Elmo won.
Admittedly, Elmo is pretty cute, and Griffin absolutely loves the phone. He carries it all around, puts it up to his ear and says, “Hay-lo!” He hasn’t touched our real phone since, and thankfully Elmo has an off switch for those times when we need just a little more quiet.