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Friday, February 10, 2012

Bringing up Le Petit Chien

I can’t promise a sense of theme or even coherency to this blog post. I have to admit, I’ve had about 3 posts running through my head over the past few weeks, and life has been incredibly frantic and well, resembling a rollercoaster… so bear with me… we might actually get something out there.

First of all… I need to welcome our new family member, Timmy. Timmy is an English Springer Spaniel and he is 11 weeks old. If anyone out there has been following this blog since October 2010, you will remember the passing of our other furry son, Sullivan, who’s quick exit left all of us reeling. Especially our then 10 month old son, who went from part time co-sleeper to full time just after the disappearance. Well, enter Timmy and welcome the filling to the gapping hole that was created all that time ago. Its been an amazing healing to watch as peace entered our daughters eyes, and she no longer teared up when she mentioned dear Sull. The ache was gone at last. Our little boy started to sleep much better and now goes to sleep with a dog cuddled right up in his arms. I’ve never seen a boy and dog hold each other so close. For me, I’m excited to have an excuse to walk out at night, and stare up to the stars and the moon, connecting to the deep source of it all and gaining a little clarity… while I wait for a dog to finish doing what doggy’s do.
However, what follows the impulsive decision “let’s go get one of those cute puppies NOW,” and the healing process of what one little soul can do, is a fair amount of contrast and totally being thrown out of a feel good pace. He nips, he jumps, he scratches up our little boy’s legs, he tried to take his apple this evening. He messes in the house, yet holds it when we take him outside and he wants to play at ungodly hours…. Oh yeah and then we have to wake up at ungodly hours to take him outside so he can do there what he likes to do inside. Sigh. My husband is thinking of changing his name to “Ebay”, as he’s considering the best price we could get for our new found family member.
But we couldn’t do it, he’s sewn into our hearts now, and lets face it, he’s a puppy a baby and doesn’t know any better. He’s new to the world, new to this physical form, he’s relishing in the pleasures of physical life, and making the most of them. He LOVES food, He LOVES play and he LOVES the closeness of people, that he can cuddle up to and feel safe. So he just ran off with one of my husband’s pansy seedlings… wait I was just going to say he didn’t know any better, but our daughter said he looked really guilty when he brought it to her, so I guess I should say, he just couldn’t control himself. Which is actually his problem in a lot of areas.
So after the first few days of dealing with all of this I was reminded that no matter what I needed to focus on the feeling good aspects, to ground myself, to connect and that this too was an extension of Spiritually Aware Parenting… extension being “for dogs.”
I am now seeing this pup as the true pure positive being we all are. I am using the art of distraction to avoid his… rough play periods and I’m showering him with love, praising him, talking to him, connecting to him and most of all cuddling him loads so that he feels safe in his new world. But I will tell you one thing… a puppy is not a baby, and at 11 weeks he’s at least a 2 year old… by 12-14 weeks… what 3 or 4. With our 2 year old boy when he goes for something he really can’t have, we talk about it. I understand his wants and I tell him what mine are and we usually strike a common ground how to help each other out. There is no discussion with a dog. This is really difficult for me. If I can’t sit and reason, I tend to get frustrated, disconnect and react. There goes that happy house and my children look at me really confused.

OK… switch to my next blog post idea… (I just found my thread to this post… so bear with me.)

A few days ago there was an article going around about the book “Bringing up Bebe”. Although it turned out that the article was kind of based on media enhanced sections of the book and didn’t really express the true essence of what the author was saying, for those few hours before that was cleared up I found my reaction really interesting.
What struck me was the idea that the French parent approached life as “possible” or “not possible”. Parenting appeared to be very black or white, not the variety of color I have with my children. The article pointed out that the French parent was a definite authority figure who drew the line and the child dared not crossed it. A child won’t interrupt, because they are told, gently, “not possible” or to that affect. They will eat politely at restaurants, play nicely, talk nicely, and basically not take part in the barrage of dialogue a north American parent takes part with hourly with their children.
Personally, I found this upsetting and finished reading the article exclaiming “well, I dn’t want to parent like that!” I love my discussions with my children… I love it when they convince me that something should be possible. Sometimes I ask them not to interrupt, but then it turns out to be something REALLY important (like a puppy with a pansy) and I apologize for not listening! I find that the on going give and take between me and our children exciting and energizing. Its life giving. Now please remember, I haven’t read the book and I find French parents and children vibrant and full of life as a general rule. Therefore, it’s pretty clear the article was just trying to be controversial. However, there are a lot of parents that do parent like this… my mother admitted to it actually that this was how I was raised. Authority figure, check. Possible, not possible, check. Yup, she was that sort of “French” parent. I’ll admit, I was a happy kid. I even told my husband that I would parent like my mother before we had children because I figured I kept the boundaries, I new “right” from “wrong”, and she was in “control”. It was only later that I realized I wanted my children’s inner voice to set their own boundaries, that I didn’t want control, but team work, and that there was a fair amount between right and wrong that I wanted them to feel free to explore spiritually and emotionally themselves.
Now saying that… here’s where it all ties in together.
I can’t let the puppy define right and wrong for himself based on what his emotional guidance system tells him! We would live in chaos. His inner instincts and pure positive spirit can’t set boundaries! And I’m sorry, team work for this new family member???
But I can’t be the dictator either. I can’t get mad, get frustrated and over react, effected the feeling space of the house and having my 2 year old son feeling confused.
So therefore… welcome to “bringing up le petit chien”. Puppy parenting…

Playing with his toys- possible
Playing with fingers- not possible
Eating what’s given to him- possible
Eating off plates- not possible
Cuddling in bed, being loveable, adorable and everything that we all, including him, needs to be… -more than possible.
Not using outside for toilet duties- so impossible!!!

What’s funny is that now with this approach, he’s a happy baby… sorry puppy. He doesn’t look lost in his eyes or kinda nuts. He wants to please. He wants to do what we ask him and when he is praised he gets so excited. It’s lovely.

I’ll keep everyone posted on the progress. Right after having a lovely long discussion about the pros and cons about it with my children… and I’m sure there’ll be plenty of interrupting.

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