Family

The Neglected Child

Poor Ginger, my first child. You thought you were my number one until Lyla was born. Her arrival turned your world upside down and made you depressed for months. But today, we shall celebrate Fall together, sans children!

Ginger is our adorable, frisbee loving cavapoo. In case you’re saying, “a cava-what??” she’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel mixed with a Miniature Poodle.

She wiggled her way into our hearts and onto our couch from the moment we got her. The tiny red fur ball waddled straight across the living room, bounced on a pillow that was on the floor, and up onto the couch to claim it as her own. She gnawed on us with needle sharp teeth, and her face smiled. Have you ever seen a dog that smiles? It’s the cutest!

     

Taking care of puppy Ginger was like taking care of a toddler. I got so frustrated with her during the house training process. I knew she understood because she’s a super smart dog, but I felt like she was willfully disobeying and testing me. Thank you for the practice, Ginger. I now deal with human toddlers who know exactly how to push my buttons! I had no idea that puppies go through a teething stage, but I found out quickly since she chewed on everything from chair legs to my hands to my wedding shoes. So long shoes, pictures will suffice, and I now have more space in my closet.

  

Ginger is terrified of pillows, paper, and children. But for some reason, she won’t run away when they torture her. She lowers her head and takes the beating like a martyr. I say, “Run away, Ginger! You’re faster than them.” Sometimes she curls her lip at Luke when he gives her a bouncy bear hug. We call it “happy humping.” When Luke started crawling, he threw himself down on things that were soft or made him happy, like fuzzy blankets, stuffed animals, or people laying on the floor. Then he tucked his hands underneath his belly and bounced his bottom up and down. It’s hilarious and weird, so I’m happy to say that I think he’s growing out of it. Shew! We don’t want him happy humping on any little kids at preschool.

  

Sadly, Ginger has been a victim of happy humping, more times than I even know. I try hard to monitor my kids’ interactions with her. I hold Luke’s hand and show him how to gently pet her, but he throws himself onto her and starts booty bouncing. I pull him off, say no, and show him again. He is just overwhelmed with love for her. Every time Luke sees Ginger, he cocks his head sideways on his shoulder, stretches out his arms, and runs at her saying, “Na Na” or “Ginga.” Poor Ginger. I know her ears and nose get grabbed all the time when I’m not looking. Should I separate them? That would make her sad too… She just wants to be where we are.

  

I think there’s a reason dogs are called man’s best friend, but not woman’s. I’ve talked to other moms who fiercely loved their dogs like children until the real babies came along. Then the dog was not only pushed to the backburner, but even despised for the extra burden it became. When you’re desperate for your baby to nap, shaking your clasped hands at the sky and saying, “Please just give me 30 minutes!” and then your dog barks—– I’m embarrassed to admit the hateful thoughts that filled my mind against Ginger during those times. I wanted to kill her… I realize now how unhealthy my thought processes were and the seriously dark place that my mind was in. I am incredibly thankful to be on medication for my postpartum depression and to feel light and happy again, even loving towards Ginger. I think she doesn’t quite trust me yet. When I talk in that sweet baby voice to her like I used to, she just eyes me like, “Okay, crazy lady. You’ll blow up on me in five minutes.” Forgive me, Ginger. You still have a special place in my heart.

 

Since the kids are gone this weekend, Ginger is relishing her time as the only child again. She’s currently taking a cat nap in the sun dappled living room. I feel justified calling it a cat nap, since she was once placed in the cat and bird room at a kennel because she was so scared of the dogs! Ginger has been sliced and diced three times by my mom’s cats. Twice on her eyelid and once on the end of her ear, which bleeds a lot, let me tell you. She loves the thrill of the chase but always backs down if they stand their ground. Which they do, and then they beat her up.

  

Oh, Ginger, my first child, my neglected child. I thought you deserved a post. I’ll try to love you better from here on out. Readers will be happy to know that Ginger has been on two walks today, chased an albino squirrel, went for a car ride, and ate some of my Chick-fil-a.

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