We got a puppy.
She is so cute, and sweet, and just 10 weeks old.
Ben brought her home last night and the kids minds were BLOWN.
It’s been a while since we have had a dog… And I wasn’t sure that I wanted to bring a new dog into the family. I am a work from home (mostly) mom and knew that the majority of the dog training would fall on me.
And I thought I was done having babies.
Last night was her first night with us. It was her first night away from her mama and litter-mates. We had decided that this time around we would be really smart and intentional with the dog training. So last night we put our sweet little Daisy (miniature Australian Shepard) in her crate, and were prepared to get up every couple of hours to take her out to go potty.
It was almost a flashback to 13 years ago – almost. I am not going to insult the mamas of babies out there by saying that having a puppy is the same as having a new baby… However, last night did bring back some memories.
Daisy did well the first few hours. She woke and let us know that she was ready to go out with some sweet whining. My husband hopped out of bed to take her out (not really what I remembered from the baby days, and I was grateful there was no need to breastfeed this time around!!).
When he brought her back in she wanted nothing to do with the crate. He got her settled in and closed the door and slipped back in bed. All of 30 seconds went by before little Daisy was letting us know how lonely she was…
We compromised and set her up in our bathroom with the doorless crate and a baby gate in the doorway. She had room, was close to us, and we could ease her into the whole crate idea.
She still wasn’t crazy about the set up and let us know.
What was fascinating to me was how hard it was for my husband to listen to her whine.
When our kids were babes, we were pretty darn attentive. They were snuggled up in the sling, slept in our bed, and breastfed on demand. This felt natural to me, like the right thing to do, and at the time, it just fit who we were. When they fussed, we picked them up and loved on them, and tried to keep them happy.
My kids are now 10 and 13 and well adjusted. They are capable confident kids. I am grateful. They have had opportunities to flex and develop their resiliency muscles. They have been uncomfortable, and emotional, and made it to the other side, slowly beginning to understand, through experience, that emotions come and then they go.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of meltdowns, plenty of drama. They aren’t completely zen about the whole “being in discomfort” thing – but they are learning, and we talk LOTS about how they have the power to influence their life. There is less sinking in, less getting stuck in the intensity of the feelings they are having. It’s a practice, and practice only happens with experience.
When I think back to the early years, the early months, I wonder about the how attentive I was. I wonder about how quickly I responded to their squawks and cries. I wonder about the missed opportunities that were available for them to build their resiliency muscles, even in that first year….
YES, their cries are the only thing they have to let us know they are uncomfortable, AND their brain development is in full effect. NO I am not suggesting we ignore them or believe they are manipulating us.
What I AM encouraging you to consider, is that discomfort isn’t something we need to save our children from. Living through discomfort, or failure when they are older, is an opportunity for growing and learning and recognizing just how capable they are.
And I have full trust that our little Daisy will live through the discomfort of learning to love her crate, and eventually get to that sweet spot of sleeping through the night...
Let me know what you think about all of this in the comments below!!
Here are some resources for considering how to be in tune with your children's discomfort, while also allowing them to grow and thrive:
- “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” – The Role of Tears in Cultivating Resiliency
by Deborah MacNamara
- The Discipline Approach That Helps Babies and Toddlers Thrive
by Ariadne Brill
- Raising Babies with a Healthy Attachment, a conversation with Ariadne Brill on the podcast
- Why Challenge is Important for Children's Emotional Intelligence, by Ashley Soderlund Ph.D.
- The Healing Power of Tears: A Parents Guide to Colicky Children, by Kate Orson
- When Things Disappear: A Fathers Lesson on Mindfulness by Jiovann Carrasco
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