CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Even though I was no spring chicken when I hatched my first egg, I didn't worry too much about what kind of mother I'd be. I assumed the many dogs I'd cared for over the years had prepared me for becoming a parent. Now, with nearly 13 years of motherhood under my much longer belt, I recognize the folly of such thinking. Along with the wisdom.
While the manner of acquiring one versus the other differs greatly, in some ways, dogs and babies are practically interchangeable.
As youngsters, both chew on strange things, putting most everything they can reach in their mouth. Both tend to suffer from selective deafness, especially when told "No!" or instructed to "Come!"
Both like getting dirty and routinely smell funky. Both like to sleep in your bed and eat from your plate. Both continuously challenge the Alpha. And both will use poo to punish.
The pitch of the voices of either species can, at times, cause pain to one's ears, and both are prone to endless whining if they don't get their way.
Both can be right there with you one second, and then snoring the next, often falling asleep in oddly contorted positions.
Both can have questionable manners (I'd likely be less shocked to hear the dog excuse himself after a belch than my girl), and both are capable of producing horrendous quantities of noxious gases, especially following the consumption of Doritos.
And, though the definition is different, if you don't watch them real close, both will eat crap.
Finding ways dogs and children differ required some thought. For instance, obedience school is clearly far cheaper than college, and there are no 20-pound backpacks to contend with or school lunches to pack.
Run the vacuum with dogs asleep on the floor and they'll wake and run from the room. Run the vacuum with a sleeping preteen on the floor and they go all speed-bump on you, and then get bitter about their hair getting sucked up in the hose.
Dogs seldom mind eating from dirty dishes, but the last time I suggested to my kid that a little swipe with her sleeve should suffice, you'd have thought I asked her to sniff her own butt.