Monday, November 22, 2010

My First Child is a Bit on the Hairy Side

Almost everyone thinks I have three kids. They are wrong. I have four, and no, I am not referring to my husband (in fact, I cringe every time I hear a woman make that remark).

I am referring (of course!) to Gosh, the best dog in the world. We got Gosh, our fur-kid, 2 years before we had a human kid and I have loved her as a child ever since. Because Gosh is the eldest, I started referring to her as the “older sister” after Devi was born. It was very cute when I would ask Devi “where’s your sister” and she would run over to Gosh. However, I will admit that this concept became a bit confusing for Devi and when she informed me that Gosh would get hands “when she grew into a people” I knew I had some explaining to do. It took months before I could convince her that Gosh couldn’t grow into a “people”.  Her honest little-kid mind doesn’t see Gosh as a dog, but simply as a member of her family. 

However, Gosh is a dog, and as a dog she does have limitations that my other children do not have. Though I try my best, I cannot always include her in all of the outings with the kids. She cannot go to the library, playgroup, or Museum of Science. However, she can go for walks, hikes and to the park and it is for that reason that I routinely take all my kids to the neighborhood park.  It is a place that they all can enjoy.

I have been going to this park on almost a daily basis to play ball with Gosh since she was a puppy. Now that I have the other three kids we get there a bit less often, but still 3-4 times per week to play and run around. At the park, I tend to get one of two reactions from the other parents who see me with my crew: either they are impressed and think I must have it all together to manage so much or they think I am crazy. Their attention is usually caught when it dawns on them that the three kids (age 3 and under) all belong to me. This invariably prompts comments such as “Boy do you have your hands full!” The not-so-subtle translation of which is: “I am so glad I am not you”. And then they see Gosh and say “You have a dog too? Wow, I could never find a way to bring the dog even with one kid”.

I get it. I do understand how someone could feel that way. Trust me, trying to watch 3 kids and a dog requires a lot of energy and I would seriously need 20 eyes to watch them all properly.  However, I simply do not feel the same way. If I am going to take my kids to the park, then I am going to take ALL my kids to the park. I can’t just leave one home unless there is a good reason. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when Gosh does have to stay home. But I can list them on one hand:
  1. There is a playgroup at the park and there are just way too many kids that would be chasing her or scared of her or otherwise interfere with her ability to enjoy the park.
  2. She has already had too much exercise during the day and it would be bad for her knee (she has a luxating patella)
  3. It is too hot or cold and she would be miserable.

On all other occasions I bring all four kids to the park. And I love it.

I love that Gosh enjoys playing with all the neighborhood kids. I love exposing the other kids (especially those who were previously scared of dogs) to a very sweet, playful, good-natured pup. But mostly I love the fact that my children, all my children, can play around outside with each other. Chase. Tag. Fetch. Fun! It makes me happy to watch them play together as inter-species siblings.

Because in my mind, that is what they are. Siblings.


  1. Awwww, that's so sweet! That gives me two more reasons why I like you: (1) you REALLY consider Gosh part of the family, and (2) you get annoyed when people refer to husbands as "kids" (I can't stand that sort of talk as well).


  2. I hear you about the comments about bringing more than one kid out by yourself. I get people that commenting about my active boys. "Are you sure about them climbing that?" Uhmmm... yes. They are fine climbing the rock wall. Relax :)