And since October, my response has been, "Yeah, and then we were stupid and got a dog."
Most times, it's meant as a self-deprecating joke. But there have been a few times -- the day the dog got sick in the crate while we were at work, the mornings she's goosing me with her nose before I'm even out of bed, the nights she's knocked over The Lad a dozen times before dinner -- when I've meant exactly what I said. Getting a dog, a puppy, now, when the boys are this small, was stupid.
"It'll be great in a year," I add. "When the boys are bigger and Brucie's not a puppy ...."
People without pets or those who have never raised a puppy just look at me with sympathy. But people with older dogs they've had since their rotten, furniture-chewing puppyhood assure me it'll be better sooner than I think. I looked at them askance ... until about a week ago. I hesitate to say this, but I think I might be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
Brucie at about 8 months old is about 30 pounds, nearly full grown. Her weight is an estimate because she wriggles so much at the vet, ecstatic to see new people, that we can't get an exact number from the scale.
Brucie and Beastie, our little Lad, are best buds. We think she thinks he's her litter mate. If she takes his toy, he'll smack her nose and she tolerates it without so much as a whimper. She knocks him down when they play and mouths at his ears while he giggles. We try to discipline both of them for these bad behaviors, but the two of them egg each other on. Case in point: We yell at Brucie for even looking at the table when we're eating, however, when our back is turned, The Lad is letting Brucie lick his food-covered hands from his highchair. She follows him around while he plays, content to chew on her toy while he races his cars.
Brucie and The Boy have had a rockier relationship. He wanted her, but was scared of her. The feeling was mutual. Both have gotten over that and she actually is starting to listen to commands from him. They have bonded over a mutual love of chase.
Brucie does what we call the cannon-ball run when she gets excited. She runs so fast, her back legs seem to go faster than her front ones so that her butt tucks in and makes her look like a cannon ball careening around our house. The boys love to chase her when this happens.
Brucie is learning to snag baseballs and fetch them back to the husband when he pitches to The Boy in the backyard.
Brucie likes to dig in the sandbox with The Lad.
One of the lingering problems with Brucie is actually one of the things I love most about her. She desperately loves our family. She gets so very excited to see us when we come home from school and work -- and even when we wake up in the morning -- that she can't seem to contain herself from jumping and licking and cannon-ball running. Sometimes she's so excited, she pees herself. While I appreciate the love, I would appreciate more not having to clean up pee.
So, that's Brucie. She's not a good dog quite yet. But she's getting there.