Today’s post is written by a childhood friend, Marcia Siekowski. Other examples of Marcia’s writing can be found in TWINS Magazine and Durham Parents of Multiples Newsletter.
Confessions of a Twin Mom – Fur Babies
I have two dogs, Hungarian Vizslas. They are 5.5 years and they have seen our family through many changes: miscarriages, fertility, pregnancy, babies, and a move. They were and still are my fur babies. Hunter and Maggie are both sweet, affectionate, and excitable. Maggie loves to play fetch and Hunter likes to sniff his way around the dog park; she’s daddy’s girl and he’s momma’s boy. I let them lick my face and spoon with them on the couch. They love the girls.
During the first trimester of my pregnancy, my nose was in overdrive. I could smell everything and it all made me want to throw up. For the first time, our house smelled like dog to me. The poor dogs must have thought I was possessed because I couldn’t let them near me without gagging. I had to wash everything and Febreeze what I couldn’t wash. Throughout my pregnancy, Maggie would excessively sniff my lady business and Hunter would curl up beside me and rest his head on my baby belly. Until my baby belly became too big, straining his neck, and then he used my leg instead. He would tilt his head on an angle and look at my belly like he could actually hear something. He would nose and lick my belly too. Did I mention that he’s a momma’s boy?
When the babies first came home, I kept telling them “you will love these girls someday when they are big enough to chase and play fetch and sleep in big girl beds that you can climb into.” They looked at me very skeptically, but it turns out that their patience is paying off earlier than I thought. Maya, at the age of one, was already playing fetch with Maggie though she can’t throw very far yet. The dogs are also adept at chasing the girls around when they have food in their hands. They think the girls’ mealtimes are the best times of day and wait patiently for food to drop on the floor.
I heard from a friend that once you have children, your dog just becomes a dog. They are no longer your baby. I didn’t find this to be true. I also don’t get tired of mammals touching me just because I have four of them in my care. Granted sometimes it’s not convenient, but I love snuggles from the girls and the dogs alike. The dogs somehow recharge my batteries. They require so little of me and give so much, especially when it comes to my mental health.
Walking the dogs gives me a reason to get out of the house and take a time out, sometimes with the girls but often without. We walk the trails, the dogs go ballistic, and the girls love being outside. Cami and Maya came to the dog park with me for the first time when they were 2.5 weeks old. Now they are old enough to get out and walk with us, picking up rocks and sticks along the way. It makes me feel like supermom taking them all out on an adventure. Nature has always been therapeutic for me but even more so when I can enjoy it with the dogs. Their unbridled joy is contagious. I think of the dog park as my Zen place.
Granted that many things are more complicated with children than they are with dogs. Discipline for one, toilet training, eating, sleeping. Talking. Repeating everything you say. Things tend to happen faster with dogs, but when you’re stuck in a stage with children it drags on and on…however, there are several things about being a parent that are very much like having a dog:
- I clean up their poop, puke, pee, and dirty faces, hands/paws, and bodies.
- They understand instructions but don’t always follow them. Whatever you want them to be doing they want to do the exact opposite.
- They want to be wherever you are—try cramming one adult, two toddlers, and two dogs into a powder room when you have to pee.
- Whatever you’re eating, they are all after it. Eating becomes a race so that you can finish whatever it is before they eat it all. Forget savouring anything.
- The dogs and girls share everything. We tried segregation in the beginning, but soon whatever the girls had was fair game for the dogs and vice versa. Food and toys especially.
- They are adorable when they are sleeping. They emit this smell we’ve coined in our house as “waftage” that smells soft and warm, not really clean or dirty, but completely delicious.
- There’s grooming involved, trimming nails, cleaning ears, brushing hair and teeth. It’s all challenging and you’re left frazzled afterwards in both cases.
- We swore that we wouldn’t but they often end up sleeping in our bed. The dogs learned to stealthily climb into bed after we had fallen asleep and we were so tired as new parents that it ceased to matter as long as they stayed still. The girls usually only when they are sick, but due to any combination of these circumstances and the complication of my husband snoring, we now sleep in different rooms. Divide and conquer.
- They all love being outside, which is great because we do too. We’ve spent much of this summer renovating the backyard to make it more enjoyable and functional. The dogs and girls are also fascinated by most other animals…but for very different and obvious reasons.
- No matter what they do, you can’t stay mad for very long.
My husband and I find ourselves asking each other after all the dependants are sleeping, “do you think they know how much we love them?” It started with the dogs and has continued with the girls. In short, we are very lucky parents. Period.
by Marcia Siekowski – 2016
Marcia, her husband Matt, twin girls, Camryn and Maya, and the dogs, Maggie and Hunter, live in Ontario, Canada. They enjoy spending time outside and sleeping whenever possible.