Teaching Kids to Be Cautious = Encouraging Risk-Taking?

When I came across this piece in the Guardian (Should I let my child take more risks?), I had already begun to think about the question of risk-taking for my own kid. There are plenty of reasons why kids should take part in active, sometimes risky, outdoor play (as this position paper also outlines): physical fitness, opportunities for socialization (!), learning self-control & body coordination, etc. And while I agree with all of these statements, I’m not quite ready to let my nearly 2-year old loose, alone in the woods just yet…

Plus, I’d like to add another dimension (albeit unscientific & un-researched) to this argument for risk-taking. I think it’s one of the best ways to foster caution, self-regulation and self-knowledge. What?! That sounds crazy! How can encouraging your kid to use a knife or climb up to reach something themselves teach them that?

Well, let’s look at it this way. How many times have you heard a parent say (or have said yourself) “Be Careful!”? It happens at the playground when your child is about to step on another kid’s fingers. It happens at home when they’re coming down the stairs by themselves. It happens when they pet the cat. It happens when they spin around and get dizzy. It happens when they’re running a little too fast down the sidewalk. Those words almost seem to have a mind of their own. They slip out of our mouths without us hardly noticing that they did. But to a young child, what do they actually mean? Hmm.

Instead of just saying those words, perhaps we should teach kids how to “take care.” Some of these lessons come directly from us and some of them come from their trials out in the ‘real world.’

From us: We can give them opportunities to dabble with “danger” in a safe environment. For instance, yesterday my daughter and I cut some eggplant for dinner. We both used serrated steak knives. Granted, she mostly ate raw eggplant and needed help cutting, but she had a knife. Ack! Before we began, I sat us both down at the kitchen table and had her touch the blade of the knife so that she could feel what “sharp” was. It was only our first experiment, but I think that she gained a little respect for knives from it. She was not eager to wield it wildly. She did not take it and run through the house with it. It did its job and that was it. She’s not going to be lucky enough to get a sharp knife with every meal, but it will make it’s appearance when it’s called for and we’ll continue letting her take that little risk.

Since we are preparing our kids for the real world, it’s important that we make their worlds as real as possible. There will be knives in the real world. There will be stairs. There will be stools to fall off of. There will be rejection. And there will be cats who might like to scratch. When we think our kids are ready, it’s important that we expose them to these realistic risks so that they can become familiar with them & get more comfortable dealing with them.

From the real world: Without us having to intervene, the world is already teaching our kids many things. If you fall down on the sidewalk, you’re likely going to skin your knee (and yet, we don’t all avoid sidewalks!). If you go outside without a coat when it’s cold, you too will be cold. If you climb up a rocky wall, you’re eventually going to have to climb down again. If you ask another kid to play with you, they might say no.

Letting kids experience the world (even in small bites like playgrounds) and push their physical and emotional limits is going to inform them of how much they can do on their own. They’re going to learn their own limitations and their own capabilities much more fully than if they are simply told what they can and can’t do without experiencing them. They will learn when they’re ready and able to climb to the next limb of the tree.

Limiting kids risk-taking experiences is only going to lead to recklessness or unnecessary fear: not understanding boundaries or viewing them as being everywhere. Caution and risk-taking, therefore, go hand in hand. I would also posit that it’s only kids who aren’t allowed to take risks or who are always rescued from them who don’t exhibit caution or self-regulation.

We can’t push them before they’re ready, but we also must not discourage them when they are. Encourage trying and emphasize that you’ll be there for a hug if they get hurt or are disappointed. But then allow them to take that risk again when they’re ready. It’ll be an endless exercise in vicarious risk-taking for us, the grown ups, who have already survived learning how to climb a tree.


The Social-ization Experiment

I have exhibited some hesitancy in sending my daughter to preschool. And I have casually brought up the future possibility of homeschooling. Both of these statements are usually met, not with fierce warnings or counsels against these choices, but with an accepting shrug and the quiet statement that both of these options might curtail my daughter’s opportunities to socialize. I don’t disagree that if we choose not to send her to formal schooling for a while that she will clock less time around her same-aged peers as other children her age. But I think that that isn’t the same as “socialization.”

In fact, I’m not even sure that I have a truly good handle on what the present-day definition of socialization is and why it has become such a buzz word in our culture today. At no other time in history (to my knowledge) have we been so worried about creating scenarios so that children can specifically socialize with one another. I understand that families and neighborhoods have become more scattered over the last century (as I sit in my air-conditioned house, alone but for my sleeping child), so we may have conceived this worry in response to that. But I would also contend that as parental focus on and the perceived importance of children has also risen, we have on our hands maybe the least “socialized” generation of kids ever. Don’t get me wrong, I still like them. But besides the usual ‘pleases’ and ‘thank yous,’ I have met many a kid who won’t or can’t greet me and others properly. It’s not hard to hear laments of a lack of manners especially from older generations witnessing the young. I’m not trying to throw stones at these youngsters. They are, in fact, still young and I have only met a few adults who seemed to have missed the entirety of “socialization lessons” of youth. But it does strike me as odd that in a time when we seem to be more focused on socializing kids, we also seem to be doing a worse job of it on the whole.

So I’d like to know when being a ‘citizen of the world’ became not enough to learn how to engage with other people. Why is it that in other countries without early formal schooling, there are not litanies of social pariahs being produced?

Kids learn to be social creatures (and are really born to be so, love that eye contact!) by being around people of all ages and walks of life. Segregating kids by age until they are thrust into a much more diverse workplace and world after 16 years seems to be a bit short-sighted. Yes, 2-year olds and 11-year olds should learn how to behave around each other, but they should also learn to behave out in the real world as well.

Taking kids to events that aren’t specifically tailored for them is a good place to start. Go to a concert with the whole family. Attend a sporting event that doesn’t have a bounce house attached. Go out to eat. Visit a museum. Talk to them about everything, not just ‘kid’ things. Expect them to address you with respect and it will be easier for them to do so with others. Let them play with friends with as little intervention from you as possible. Model for them the ways that you are there for your family and friends. Allow them to have their own relationships and interactions with other adults and family members.

I’m not advocating a complete disregard for this socialization movement, but I do think that there are plenty of very natural ways for our kids to interact with the world. We don’t have to simply put them on the conveyor belt toward ‘socializing’ and hope for the best.

The Luxury of ‘Childhood’: The Privilege of Innocence

On Saturday night, on the sidewalk at the side of my house, there was a fracas. One man was unhappy with and wanted something from another man, so he attempted to get it by force. There was a bit of yelling, a struggle and some attention from us and other neighbors. In the grand scheme of things, not a huge deal. They both walked away in separate directions, neither one hurt with no real bystander involvement at all.

In the crime reports given for my neighborhood at the monthly resident meetings, car break-ins, domestic disputes and drug activity are often the offenses mentioned. This might make some folks uneasy (and I must say, I was a little shaken by the ruckus this weekend), but as I sit here now, I can’t help but think that this tiny brush with “violence” is one of about 3 instances I’ve witnessed in my entire life. I thought about my daughter who was sleeping while this scene unfolded and how she, thankfully, has yet to experience anything like it, even after living in both Oakland & Baltimore for her nearly 2 years. Mostly, I didn’t want them to wake her up with their fuss.

And then, I thought of everybody else and their kids who aren’t so *lucky*.

For many folks, childhood is and was a time of magic and possibility, wonder and innocence. That little bubble is something to be cherished and protected. It seems a shame when kids start knowing a little too much or when they begin being realistic and more ‘adult.’ Adulthood comes with its perks as we all know (ice cream for dinner! no bedtime!), but there are some days when any adult might readily trade their life for a younger one without so much worry or stress.

The truth is though that there are many kids for whom this protected snow globe of childhood just doesn’t exist. There are plenty of young kids who have witnessed violence. There are plenty who are stressed by the situations in their neighborhoods, schools and homes. There are plenty who have seen the devastating effects of involvement with the police, the social service system and drug use. These very problems are no mystery to them. And for many of us, the privileged people who can afford to build these invisible boundaries for our kids, we would lament that the bloom has been rubbed off of their innocence far too soon.

I knew I was giving my kid a privileged upbringing already. I have the luxury (read: privilege) of staying home with her. I have been *blessed* (again read: privileged) to be able to take her to kid classes and fun activities during her little life. I am fortunate (ahem: privileged) that I can focus my energy on her and other interests in my life that don’t revolve around my feelings of environmental stress or anxiety. I’m lucky enough (…privileged) that I don’t have to worry about her general safety in our neighborhood (anymore than most Americans do living in this country of ours).

And I believe that most people would argue that every child deserves a childhood similar to hers. Every child deserves a period in life free from strain and stress, where innocence and play are all that’s required of them. But for many parents innocence means naïveté and naïveté means danger. So the childhoods of less privileged children, often minority, often poor, are truncated- some out of circumstance and some out of necessity.

It seems unfair that my husband and I can insulate our young child from the ills of the world while so many others don’t have that privilege. She can go on for a good long time, trusting us and the world that we encounter everyday. Because we both convey the same message: that she’s precious and acceptable and worthy of being taken care of. If only this were the message that every child received, while living in a safe neighborhood, in a safe house, blissfully unaware that their innocence is not a privilege anymore– because every child is privileged enough to be innocent.

I’ve Got the Power!

C’est moi qui décide!

So says one of my favorite tenets of Pamela Druckerman’s Bringing Up Bebe. “It is me who decides!”

Maybe I’m a little power hungry. Maybe I enjoy lording my position of power over my kiddo.  Maybe, but I do know that I want to be the authority in her life (along with my husband of course). I don’t want to cede my power to too many people or situations. I do want my daughter to have some power of her own, but in most situations, I want to have the final say!

Let me show you what I mean. Once upon a time I was on a bus in San Francisco. There was a mom and a kid sitting at the front of the bus. I didn’t hear any fuss from the kid, but the mom began telling the kid that he needed to sit down. She repeated this directive about a dozen times, growing louder every time (eventually it became clear that the mom was the one making the scene, not the kiddo). Since she did not feel that the child was heeding her, she began to up her game. She asked the kid if he wanted to get off the bus. She told him that the bus driver would have to stop if he didn’t do as she said. She said that the bus driver would have to call the police & they would have to come to address his misbehavior. Luckily my stop came before I could cringe anymore at her totally outlandish tactics.

This mom was needlessly giving her power away. She was not the authority for her child. She was trying to make other people be the authorities. Besides being very unrealistic (“Uh yes, is this 911? I’d like to report a non-compliant child. He just won’t sit down!”) and impossible to enforce, these ‘threats’ show your kids that you are not to be taken seriously. Maybe a police officer or the bus driver will be taken seriously, but not you. If you need backup (other than the united front that hopefully exists between your co-parent(s) and yourself), it might be time to double-down & become the authority that your kid needs you to be.

When visiting a friend’s house, they may say that it’s perfectly all right for your child to hang from the light fixtures. Great! Thank you! But my kid won’t be doing that because that’s not behavior that want them to exhibit no matter where we are. It’s me who decides!

While out for lunch with friends, your child reaches over to another’s plate and takes something without asking (this one just happened & I was not quick enough to catch it!). Your friend, very kindly, says that it’s quite all right for them to share with your kiddo. But you don’t want this behavior to become de rigueur no matter how kind the offer is. I say no to stealing from someone else’s plate without asking. It’s me who decides!

I don’t want my child’s behavior to be dependent on the “rules” of the surroundings. Yes of course there are certain places and situations that require or negate certain rules. But there are no places where it’s ok not to listen to me or to be rude or to whine excessively. And I’m the one who decided that!

Because I have the power! I have the backbone! I have the belief in myself & my authority! I have the ability to follow through! I say what I mean! I mean what I say! And I say that it’s me who decides!

Taking care of me (you!)

Just about every time I hire a babysitter, it’s so my husband and I can go to the movies. We don’t do dinners by ourselves very often or other grown up “dates” on our own (but, you know, 1 year olds aren’t very welcome at a 7:30 showing of the Avengers).

“But Katie, haven’t you said before that parents need time to themselves and time to meet their own needs?”

Why yes, dear reader, I have. But I have figured out ways to get that time to myself and to meet my own needs without having spa days or date nights. Impossible? I think not. How?

#1 I set our agenda

I’m the boss between the two of us (!), so if I’d like to go get a cup of coffee and watch people for a while, that’s what we do. Sure it isn’t always super relaxing, but the more often I take my kid to sit somewhere in public, the better she gets at it. If I feel like going to see some art, we go to a museum. She hoots around and I breathe that cool, arty air. Win-win.

#2 She naps

Today during nap (which is still going on), I watched a full hour of TV, made lasagna for dinner tonight, went to the bathroom, wrote in my journal and am now writing this post. Yesterday I slept pretty much the whole time she did. Her naps are my time to ‘play.’ She can clean up her toys when she wakes up. I’m not going to spend her nap doing her chores.

#3 I take care of myself even when she is awake

It’s not always easy to read my book or write when my dear one is awake, but I think it’s good to show her that her mom reads and writes! I don’t just switch into mom-mode the moment I hear her wake up. I’m not at her constant disposal as soon as she is cognizant. I can daydream. I can listen to music that like. I can give her a kiss and then keep taking care of me. Maybe she’ll even learn to take care of herself (and entertain herself) because of my “wonderful” modeling.

#4 I talk to my husband when my kid is around

We can all go out to dinner because my husband and I have/make ample time for ourselves to talk even while we’re with our daughter. We even occasionally discuss things that are going on in the world. My daughter learns that this is how grown-ups communicate & that this is what love looks like. She also learns patience since she’s not the only one involved in the conversation anymore. Even though she’s young, we ask her not to interrupt us (ha!), though this will take years for her to learn, we want her to start getting the hang of it now. Our talks and our adult relationship are just as important as our relationships with her. Plus I’ve known my husband way longer than I’ve known my daughter. He has seniority (in more ways than one).


For very busy people who don’t have much time to themselves, I totally get needing to have some time off from your kids. I’m not knocking date nights, but I do think that sometimes parents forget that we’re people too. We can choose the radio station. We can say ‘no thanks’ to playing legos if we’d like to catch up on some email. We can choose what’s for dinner. We can choose to go see the new Terminator movie (without kids of course)! Finding time for ourselves doesn’t have to mean allotting ourselves the 30 minutes after they’re in bed but before we fall asleep on the couch.

Take some of your time back for you even if it’s being spent with your kids. This can be what taking care of yourself looks like. It doesn’t always have to involve holding out until the sitter gets there.

Keeping the Secret (of being pregnant)

The second trimester has begun. And with it comes a loosened tongue.

As somebody who has been pregnant (twice now), let me tell you why I’m not a huge fan of the very normal “wait 3 months until you tell anybody” shtick we’ve got going here in the U.S.

#1 Trying to either hide a) the fact that you always feel like shit or b) the reason why you always feel like shit is a real bummer. Yes folks should be conscious of pregnant women when they’re about ready to pop, but we need sympathy and understanding even when we don’t look pregnant. In fact, I think that’s when we need it the most…when we’re not supposed to let anyone know that we need it. We should just smile through the taste of bile at the backs of our throats, yes? Blech.

I want folks to know that there’s a reason that I’m grumpy. There’s a reason that I’ve got to nap instead of talk to you. There’s a reason that I don’t want to go out to eat with you. It’s not you. It’s food!

#2 Even if you do feel like shit, it’s for a happy reason! Instead of hiding our lights under bushels, wouldn’t it be nice to let the good news out? Instead of as an apology for our anti-social behavior for the past 3 months? It’s something to be glad about and having to hide it makes it feel clandestine. Yes, it’s an open admission to having had sex, but it’s also going to be another member of your family! Glad tidings!

#3 Miscarriages. Nothing to be glib about. But if a miscarriage takes place, it is not as a result of a failing on the part of the woman. I can’t imagine having to keep a pregnancy a secret and then having to keep the loss of that pregnancy a secret as well. By hiding miscarriages in the shadows, we don’t acknowledge that anywhere from 10-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriages. It makes it harder for folks struggling with this sadness to find other folks who understand what they’re going through. I have only known about others’ miscarriages well after the fact- after they had time to deal with their feelings themselves. And I’m not saying that they should have been more transparent or that I would have been a great help in easing their suffering, but who knows what support I and others could have offered had we known when it happened.

If I miscarry, I will be sad. Very sad. And I don’t want to have to hide those feelings under that bushel either. By making it so taboo to talk about, we cut ourselves off from being able to express how we really feel.

#4 Women have been hushed up enough about our bodies. We needn’t have men in political arenas deciding what should and should not be talked about, what is and is not “shameful” and who has control over our reproductive organs and our mouths. Yes, maybe it’s a stretch to say that telling people you’re pregnant in the first trimester is a way to stand up to “the man.” But maybe it’s not. If we all walked around freely talking about our periods, our vaginas, our uteri (yes that is the plural of uterus- I looked it up) and our unborn babies, maybe we could dominate the conversation instead of some white haired men.

What do you think? Shall we take back the taboo?

Talking to Kids about the Tragedies in Baltimore

A tragedy has occurred in Baltimore. One among many. But that tragedy is not the destruction of property or the loss of a business’s income. That tragedy is the death of a young black man at the hands of people who were meant to protect him.

Many Baltimore area schools are closed today, so there are plenty of kids who have free time to wonder at the events going on in their own neighborhoods and in neighborhoods that they’ve never heard of or visited before. But the conversations that grown-ups around the city are having with all of these kids will most likely be completely different based on the color of their skin and the locations of their lives.

But we all need to be honest with our kids and tell them that the country that they live in (and the system that they live under) doesn’t represent all people the same. It doesn’t serve all people the same. In fact, it does a disservice to many of the people (kids included) who, again, it is meant to help.

When I was a child, I was never told that by virtue of my skin color and middle class birth, I was born into privilege. I just thought it was life. I thought practically everybody lived in places with trees and regular trash pick ups and good enough schools and no abandoned houses and safe streets and friendly neighbors. I thought that police officers were helpful and I was taught at an early age that they were people I should go to if I was ever lost or in need of aid.

Now that I have seen a little more of the world, I realize that my general education and my self-education were incomplete back then (and I daresay, they both continue to be). This is an omission that I don’t wish to repeat for my own children. Yes, we want to teach kids that everyone is a person and should be valued as such. But we also need to let them know that not everyone in our country really believes that. That some folks, deep down, think that my white child has more value than a child with darker skin.

Racism is not a thing of the past. Racism is not a word that should be omitted from talks with our kids. Racism is a reality. Economic inequality is a reality. Humans being devalued for very little reason is a reality. Police brutality is a reality. Many of our kids already know this because they experience it on a regular basis. But there are many who are like me when I was growing up- blissfully ignorant that I didn’t actually live in the land of equality and freedom for all.

Even if all kids aren’t treated the same, they all deserve to know the truth.


Letting My Daughter ‘Off the Leash’

We have started frequenting an off the leash dog park in our neighborhood since the weather has gotten warmer. I still don’t have a dog and am not shopping for one at the park. My daughter and I simply go to have some room to run around and maybe meet some four-legged friends. As I watched her stand amidst the frolicking (and “free-range”) pups the other day, I wondered how I let her off her leash on a regular day.

I thought of a few ways that I practice giving her greater freedom and will continue to try and think of more as she grows.

#1 Trusting her not to go into the street on her own.

Yes, my daughter is only 18 months old, but for her, that’s old enough to know that the street is a place she can only walk while holding someone’s hand. This trust is repaid 9 out of 10 times, so I continue to have to be vigilant (obviously). But by remaining quiet just a moment beyond what I find comfortable as she approaches the curb, I am often delighted to see her stop, turn back and hold out her hand to me. If I yelped when I actually wanted to (which is like 15 feet before the street), she’d never have proven to me just how capable she is of remembering the seriousness of streets. By letting her off leash in this way, I have found an ally in keeping her safe- Her!

#2 Walking on her own.

This one goes along with #1, but it doesn’t just have to mean the sidewalk. I *try* to let her walk in the grocery store, around the art museum, up and down stairs on her own as much as I can. Sometimes it drives me crazy and she just gets scooped up so that I can keep a handle on her, but often times I find how curious, sociable and capable she is without me holding her hand.

When I am the one leading the way, I am setting the agenda and proclaiming that I’m in charge- that I’m the only one who can be trusted to navigate both of our bodies. I find that when my daughter is led, she gets worse at walking. She gives over all of her responsibility to care for herself and expects me not to let her trip or hit her head or lead her astray. She is no longer paying attention to doing that herself. As soon as I drop her hand and let her go, she takes all of that responsibility back. It’s amazing how quick the transition occurs.

#3 Sitting in her chair without restraint.

We have a highchair without a tray or element that holds one in while sitting in it. It simply has some carseat-esque straps that hold kids in place. While those were handy when she was a wee one who might fall out of this precarious perch, she is now perfectly able to sit on her own, so we’ve opted to use the straps very limitedly. Just as with walking, when she was strapped in, she would slouch to one side and rely on the straps to keep her upright. She was giving them the job of controlling her body. But now, she has to scoot herself back up if she slouches down too far. She has to save herself from falling or being unable to reach her food. This one is as close to getting ‘off leash’ as you can get.

So I’ll continue to let her play with the dogs and learn from them and get knocked down by them and get licked by them. And I’ll continue to exercise my trust muscle and let her navigate her small world more and more on her own. It’s just as much an exercise for me as it is for her.

All by herself! Queen of the stump!

Public Parenting

While I think that American parenting has become more private over the last generation or two, I have found lately that I tend to be my best parenting self when I’m doing so in public! 

Yesterday morning, during breakfast at home, my daughter spilled her cup of water (some might say she did so with a mischievous glint in her eye). I immediately got blustery, gruff and pushed her chair roughly away from the table so that she couldn’t paint with the spilled water. I said some stern words and tapped the back of her hand to make my point.

Yesterday afternoon, during lunch at a cafe, my daughter spilled her cup of water. I immediately righted the cup and said, “Uh oh.” There were no stern words. There was no quick push away from the table. I simply said that she was too fast for me and then I proceeded to clean the spill. She was much wetter than she’d been at home and I didn’t have anything for her to change into, so she stayed wet for the next hour or so. All-in-all, the “damage” was worse while we were out and yet, I found myself to be more patient, understanding and even amused when we were in full view of other people.

What is that about?

Am I putting on a show? “Look at me! So good at keeping my cool!!!!!!”

Am I too cognizant of what others will think of me as they watch (or more likely ignore) my reactions to my daughter’s behavior?

Shouldn’t I just be more patient and understanding when no one is around?

I’d like to give myself the benefit of the doubt here and say that both my daughter and I behave better when we’re in public. There are more eyes upon us but also, there are more things for us to look at and focus on too. We’re not just staring at each other’s faces all day long. We can change scenery and our interactions with others by being out and about. And when I’m out with her, I usually am more focused on her too! I’m not doing 5 or 6 things like I might be attempting at home (like trying not to let little fingers touch the computer keyboard!). I’m eating my own lunch and spending time with my kid. She receives more positive attention from me, which tends to turn her into her best self (barring extenuating circumstances of course). Crazy!

So, shall I eat, drink and live in the public eye? My true calling is to be an overblown celebrity so that I can be the best parent possible?!

It certainly is nice to retreat home and not be concerned what any other person’s thoughts or opinions are of “the job I’m doing,” but I do appreciate the ambient atmosphere of a people-filled restaurant for helping me tap into my reservoirs of patience and humor. Thanks to all those people who don’t really care how or what I’m saying to my kid. You help me be a little better at this on a daily basis.

Having a baby…Easier than having a dog?

I don’t have a dog. In fact, I have never had one. Probably makes me very ill-qualified to compare dogs and kids. And yet, when has that ever stopped me?

We had a dog visit us over the weekend. Her owners are friends of ours and they accompanied her (or she accompanied them?) to our house for some hanging out on Saturday. She is a very sweet dog who didn’t mind if our daughter was a little shrieky or wanted to pet her. She did mind our cat though…and our hardwood floors.


While I’m sure that there are folks out there who would vehemently claim the opposite (that kids are far more challenging than dogs), let me just offer these points to support my thesis.

#1 Bathroom stuff

Someday I will have to worry about house training my kid, but for right now, diapers are the sh*t. Not that I’m the champion of neglectful parenting (well…maybe?), but if for some reason, I couldn’t change my kid’s diaper for like 12 hours (as happens at night), she’d live! And I (most likely) wouldn’t have pee or poop on my floor. Sure she’d be uncomfortable and I’m not saying I recommend it, but it would be ok. If you don’t take your dog out for 12 hours, you’re bound to have a mess on your hands. This means going outside very early, staying up late, coming home from work during lunch to let them out, paying someone to come let take your dog out for a wee. Ahh!

#2 They come with their own neuroses

If you adopt one of the nearly 4 million dogs available through shelters in the U.S., you are most likely getting a dog that has an already formed personality and a past. This is not a bad thing. It just means that, unlike with your kids, you have not been able to help your dog form neuroses that you yourself share with them. We (try to) make our kids in our own image. If we have an irrational fear of the color pink (a real thing!), we can pass that on to our kids (you’re welcome kids). Untrue with dogs. They come with their own baggage that we didn’t help create, so it’s harder for us to understand- plus the obvious language barriers between us.

#3 Most places are not dog friendly

My kid currently flies free on airplanes! Dogs that don’t fit under the seat have to fly in the cargo hold (unsafe!) & you have to pay extra for them. NOT DOG FRIENDLY!

My kid has been to bunches of restaurants and even some bars. They almost always have high chairs, but they have no dog seats. NOT DOG FRIENDLY!

I can change my kid’s diaper in any public restroom (even if I have to put the pad on the floor). I cannot instruct a dog to just poop on the floor of said restroom so that I can pick it up and throw it away. NOT DOG FRIENDLY!

As much as I dislike a kid’s menu, I have very rarely seen a dog menu or known a place that would make something for your dog (except the Square Cafe of course!) NOT DOG FRIENDLY!

Both kids and dogs can be cuddly and lovable and whirlwind-y and bitey and picky eaters and sweet and soft. But for now, I think having a kid is easier than having a dog. Kudos to those of you who have both!!