When I moved to the Seattle area with six kids, my youngest was an adorable toddler with dandelion fluff hair.
I expected the typical comments about her age, cuteness, and overall awesomeness when I took her out in public. After all, she was the top student in the Gifted and Talented Pre-school Program at PJ Academy, our homeschool. I thought talent scouts would be stopping me left and right with offers for modeling contracts. I was in the big city, now, ya’ know.
I realized people weren’t as fond of children as they were in the Midwest. I realized people were very fond of dogs.
- Seattle has more dog treat bakeries per capita than any other US city.
- Seattle has 45% more dogs than children.
- Seattle has 11 dog parks.
But it wasn’t until I dog-sat for a neighbor that I saw how deep dog-love runs in the blood of my PNW neighbors. Otis is a nice dog, well-behaved and well-trained, but poor guy is past his bloom. Slightly overweight in the middle, he waddles and has more gray hair than I do. He’s a mutt without papers or pedigree, isn’t too big or too small, doesn’t have long hair or short hair, and has no distinct color or markings. He’s the perfect family dog.
When I took my adorable toddler and the dog for a walk, dog- lovers stopped many times to pet Otis and talk to him in their doggy voice. One lady even let Otis lick her face. I was almost worried about her dog-napping, she was so enthralled with his gray-bearded face and rheumy eyes. When you aren’t dog-crazy, watching someone sweet-talk a dog is like watching an engaged couple when you aren’t in love.
As I looked from my adorable white-haired child to this middle-aged dog, to me there was no contest who deserved attention.
It wasn’t the dog.
I felt I had to justify why in the world Seattle I had children, let alone six of them, so began this list in my self-defense. I’m not opposed to dogs, I just decided if I was going to have anything else in my house with disgusting body fluids, it might as well be someone who could visit me in the nursing home.
Why I Had KIDS, Not DOGS
- My kids don’t lick friends or strangers.
- My kids don’t introduce themselves to a stranger by smelling them, especially in embarrassing places. (One toddler accidentally punched someone somewhere embarrassing, but with no witnesses, was it really that embarrassing?)
- My kids don’t pee on the neighbors’ car tires. (One peed in someone’s front lawn at a garage sale while I was busy hunting for treasures. I almost died of mortification, but lived to blog about it.)
- My kids don’t poop in my yard, the neighbor’s yard, on the carpeting or anywhere else in the house. (I guess one pooped on my sidewalk once, but only once.)
- My kids don’t bark during the night and wake the neighbors up. (My yelling at the kids during the daytime has been heard a few times, but I can assure you, my kids have never caused the neighbors to lose sleep. Well, at least when I was home.)
- My kids haven’t thrown-up in the neighbors yard, then gone back to eat it the next day. (EEWWW! I still am traumatized by this childhood spectacle by the neighbor’s dog, Goldie. You wonder why I don’t have a dog?)
- My kids don’t rub their bare bums on my carpet.
- My kids don’t pee on my flowers or leave little round circles of dead grass in my lawn. (I think there were a few peeing incidents during poddy training, ya’ know, little boys naturally think a tree is a toilet. But, the trees are fine, thanks for asking. That’s another thing PNW’ers love.)
- My kids don’t lick my face after drinking out of the toilet. (They’ve all played in the toilet, and I’m pretty sure several drank out of the toilet, but they didn’t lick me afterwards.)
The list is a little graphic, but true. And after I’ve convinced myself I’ve done the right thing in having children, not dogs, I remind myself of the great future I expect with my six, lovely children.
- My kids will visit me in the nursing home.
- My kids will bury me.
- My kids will push my wheelchair.
- My kids will give me more grandchildren.
- My kids will sell my treasures at a garage sale when I’m dead.
- My kids will change my diapers.
- My kids will all get dogs of their own.
Not necessarily in that order.
And if any of my kids actually read what I expect from them, they may be writing their own blog post.
“Why I Traded My Parents in for Dogs.”