Seven weeks ago today we brought home the sweetest little fluff ball of a puppy we’ve ever laid eyes on. Bringing Boone into our family has been such a wonderful treat, but it’s also brought about a lot of changes to our lives. Let me just give you some examples:
MY MORNING ROUTINE
Pre Boone: I grew accustomed to starting off my mornings with breakfast at the table while reading my Bible. After I finished I would wash my face, put in my contacts, & brush my teeth. Then I’d do a clean sweep of the apartment which included making the bed, picking up any clothes that we so lazily left on the floor, doing the dishes, and tidying up the kitchen. I was in the habit of exercising after this so I would either go for a run or do some yoga in our living room. Typically after this I would be due for a shower. By noontime I would finally be ready to start whatever leisure activity I had in mind for the day. It was structured. It was productive. It kept me on top of things.
Post Boone: I still start my mornings with breakfast & Bible reading, but I’m usually interrupted 20 times to feed Boone, to take Boone outside, to play with Boone, to pay attention to Boone, because for goodness sake the boy is the most energetic & attention seeking in the AM when I’m simply trying to wake up. Running became nonexistent upon his arrival due to trying to avoid putting him in his kennel so often. While I was skipping running-time, I stuck with yoga. When the yoga mat comes out, Boone comes a runnin’. Without fail. He can be asleep in the hallway, but the dog has this sixth sense of knowing when the yoga mat comes out & is on top of it within seconds. While I do yoga, he lays in the spots that I need to be. He licks my feet, & my ears, & my armpits. And those downward dogs become challenging when your puppy is licking your armpit just because he likes how your deodorant tastes. I still eventually get through my routine at some point in the day. It’s just broken up. It takes longer. It can feel inconvenient at times.
MY SLEEP SCHEDULE
Pre Boone: I was at the point that I achieved a solid sleep schedule where I’d go to bed around 10 or 11 and wake up at 8 or 8:30. A glorious amount of sleep that left plenty of time to be productive & enjoy the day.
Post Boone: Initially the little guy destroyed the sleep routine I worked hard to achieve. I was sleeping on the couch for a couple weeks in order to keep him calm in his kennel. I wouldn’t get to bed until 11 or 12 & then woke up at 3 AM and again at 6 AM to let him outside without interfering with Adam’s sleep. And then there was the task of getting him to go BACK to sleep. Thankfully his bladder control has steadily increased & he can sleep through the whole night without having to go out. However, on the mornings I wake up to him whining sooner than I’d like, I’ll bring him into bed with me so that I can sleep for a bit longer. Usually he wants to play at this time so I throw a toy to the end of the bed for him to be entertained long enough for me to just fall asleep again, and then like clockwork he wants some human attention. So he lays by my head. & he pushes and scratches my face. & he licks my ears. & he lays on my pillow, & eventually on my head. & he tries to eat my hair. Until finally I remove all sources of distraction and we fall asleep together for at least one extra blissful hour.
Pre Boone: We had the time to do whatever we pleased whenever we pleased. We could go adventures if we wanted or we could stay in & take it easy. We could make last minute plans. We could be gone all day. We could do it all without a second thought.
Post Boone: Our activities have to revolve around Boone. Doing anything with him can go something like this:
Can Boone come with? No? We won’t be gone for more than a few hours so we can keep him in his kennel.
Oh, we’re going to be gone all day? Maybe we can get a friend to watch him?
Oh, Boone can come with today? Do we have his food, water, a bowl, and toys? Wait, I forgot to grab bags to pick up his poop!
Now we’re here & Boone is trying to eat every woodchip, rock, or leaf that he passes. Proceed to pull the slobbery object out of his mouth’s grip.
Boone’s overwhelmed by all the people, so he plants his bottom on the ground refusing to walk. Drag him a little to get him going again & reassure him he’s okay.
We can’t bring Boone into this store. I’ll wait outside with him while you get what we need.
Boone’s tired from walking all day. Carry him so he doesn’t stop every five seconds.
Oh but wait, we have to stop every two seconds to let all the admiring passerby pet him & ask us what kind of dog he is.
In short, he complicates things.
But that’s because he’s a puppy. For the most part we knew what we were getting ourselves into when we brought him home with us. We knew that he would be time consuming and needy. We knew that we would have to sacrifice time and money in order to care for him. We knew that our lives would require some adjustments. That’s all a part of caring for a living being.
& even though some days he wears me out, or annoys me, or doesn’t listen to me, or bites me one too many times, he is still SO worth my time, love, & energy. He’s the cutest little fluff ball I ever did see. He’s incredibly smart. He’s energetic & playful, yet laid back & calm. He’s an excellent snuggle buddy. He’s hilarious too. He makes the goofiest noises, and does the silliest things that leave us cracking up all the time. & the best part is that he is incredibly loving. Regardless of if I leave him home for 5 hours or two minutes, he is equally excited to see me when I return. He has that tail wagging, eyes-light-up kind of excitement that makes me feel cared for; that makes me feel wanted & needed; that makes me feel like I matter.
In those times that he is non stop in my face, barking by himself on the floor, or ringing his bathroom bell just to make noise, I have the choice to either tell him off & get annoyed, or I can give him what he is deeply desiring: my time and affection. There have been times that I’ve stopped myself from pushing him away from me when I’m trying to read and set my book down so that I can spend some time playing with him. Even if that means throwing the same toy repeatedly down the hallway for him to fetch, then so be it. That means that I get to have that quality time with him and he gets the stimulation and play time that he needs. I have to give up myself sometimes to give my puppy what he needs. This has given me a glimpse into the challenges of parenthood. I get so flustered by parents that ignore their kids or put electronics in front of them to avoid spending time with them. I want to be the kind of mom that is spending time with her children. I want to be the kind of mom that makes her kids a priority in her life. I want to be the mom that is outside playing catch or swimming with her kids on a summer day. I want to be the kind of mom that builds forts, or does crafts, or cuddles my kids until they’re old enough to think I’m too lame to hang out with. I want to invest in my children. Sure, there will be plenty of days that they wear me out, irritate me, or push me to my limits. But they are in need of plenty of fresh starts. They need forgiveness & grace & mercy as they learn to operate in this world. & I’m the one responsible for teaching them how to do so. I want them to know that they are loved, cherished, and wanted in my life. & having a puppy has been the perfect practice for that. It’s also been the perfect opportunity to affirm us that children are nowhere in our desired near future (sorry to disappoint all you hopeful friends). A puppy is enough work in itself right now. But just like children will be one day, despite the time, sleep, & energy we have to give toward him, every bit of it is worth it.
Because of that, I’m perfectly okay with him ruining my routine.