As a mid-twenties midwestern female, my Facebook feed is regularly inundated with pics of babies. It seems like every time I turn around, someone else from my graduating class is poppin’ out a human rugrat (go Bluejays class of ’09! Ya’ll are fertile!).
I used to think the only thing better than taking a deep whiff of a newborn’s head, as I gently rocked him to sleep was getting to pass him back to his real mother when I noticed he was stinky and/or crying. Yet lately, seeing the flood of infant photos on my social media has made me feel something I never thought I would feel: the sensation of a ticking time bomb lodged in my uterus.
But wait, I’m not baby crazy! This tingle of yearning I’ve begun to feel take root inside my belly is freakin’ me out big time. I always thought I’d be content raising Gilda Radner, my German Shephard/Collie mix, in lieu of real babies.
After all, I feed her, bathe her, play with her, spoil her, and set up playdates for her with other dogs. What more could a real baby offer, that my sweet lil pup can’t?
To investigate, I hit the streets of Los Angeles (and the hallways of my apartment) pretending my dog was my (human) child for 24 hours. Here’s what happened:
We worked on object permanence:
Apparently people play peek-a-boo to help their babies begin to learn that objects still exist, even when the baby can’t touch/see/hear said object. In this case, I was the object, and my definitely-real-human-baby is a genius.
Next, I introduced Gilda to a pacifier.
At first, she just wanted to chew on the pacifier like a dog. NOT very baby-like….
Then I decided to take Gilly to a place babies love: the playground!
No pets allowed? Thank goodness my daughter, whom I birthed, is a human baby and NOT a canine!
Even though the jungle gym can be scary for a teeny, widdle baby, we tried it out:
Back at back home, it was time for a little educational programming to stimulate baby’s brain.
To be honest, I don’t think Gilda understood anything that Barney said. But that is to be expected, as she is just a baby. I do think her color-blindness severely hindered her enjoyment of the episode, though. What fun is a show about a giant purple dinosaur if he and everything else onscreen are gray, ya know? (Also, what are the odds that my human child would be colorblind just like a dog??)
We wrapped up binge-watching Barney and strolled on over to our favorite neighborhood dining spot for some lunch.
I asked to speak with a manager, but he just reiterated the same thing: While Gilda is very cute, they have a strict “no dogs allowed” policy. UGH! We will NOT be going back (…yes we will, it’s super delicious).
So we tried our luck at another spot across town…
They had no problem letting us in (onto their
dog baby friendly patio). Everything was going swimmingly …until we made it to our table.
That was the last straw! I couldn’t help it, I exchanged some terse words with our waiter. It went a little something like:
ME: How can you not have a high chair large enough to accommodate my baby?
WAITER: Ma’am, that’s a dog.
ME: *GASP!* How dare you insinuate that she isn’t my baby!
WAITER: She might be your baby, but she’s also a… German Shepherd?
ME: More like HUMAN shepherd!
After that, we headed back to the apartment to attempt lunch for a third time.
Gilda was getting fussy (as babies do) so I knew it was time to feed her. To nourish my child, I tried the most natural thing in the world, the thing mothers have been doing since the dawn of man: breastfeeding.
Instead I settled on slapping a bib on my babe and airplane-spoon delivering some mushy, wet baby food.
Next it was time to FaceTime the grandparents!
My parents live in Missouri and have yet to meet Gilly, their very, first granddaughter. Since we can’t visit them in person as often as I’d like, we familiarize Gilda with the sights and sounds of her meema and peepa through FaceTime.
My parents ooh’d and ahh’d over Gilda, the precious gift of life to grace our family.
After hanging up, it was story time!
My child made it through the day relatively clean, so we skipped bath time in favor of winding down with a good book. Full disclosure: I’m a bad mom and the only picture book I own is called Fashion Cats. TBH it was a hit with Gilly, as she is super into felines.
Fashion Cats actually riled Gilda up instead of putting her to sleep. So I tried rocking and singing her into dreamland.
Which got her all ready to be tucked in…
Annnnnd finally she conked out.
Looking back, the 24 hours I pretended my dog was my human baby were both nerve-wracking and exhilarating.
She is a huge shepherd mix, not a teeny Chihuahua, which (believe it or not) meant that people never mistook her for a real baby. They mostly just looked at me like I was a cuckoo-bananas, overprotective, silly dog mom. I might’ve looked like a huge doof, but Gilda is hard to resist. Strangers oohed and ahhed, asked me a million questions, and gave us hella attention. For these reasons and more , I feel quite confident saying: having a dog is pretty much exactly like having a baby… you know?