Meet Juni: Thoughts On Parenting

juni.jpgMy hormones have been kicking into overdrive these days. I don’t know what it is–working with kids all day, seeing babies in strollers around town, or what, but at 24, for some alarming reason, I’m getting the maternal urge and I’ve got my estrogen to thank. So after much deliberation and accidental trips to the shelter (what, the recycling center shares the same driveway as the animal shelter here in Bloomington, Indiana– I swear!), I found my makeshift child in the form of a 5-year old ball-of-fur (and sharp nails– more to come on that in a sec): Juni.

I’ve had Juni for approximately a month and a half now, and she’s fully adapted to my one bedroom, clothing-scattered mess of an apartment–well, besides the fact that I’m trying to be all Dog-Whisperer on her. As in, everything is wrong with the way that I discipline Juni. She thinks she’s the “alpha female.” I need to take more control of my space and set rules. Well, “trying” is the key word there. Here’s a typical day with Juni:

7 a.m.– Alarm goes off. Somehow Juni has managed to sneak up onto the bed again. She sticks her sharp talons (yes, talons) into my face, nearly gauging my eyes out. Awesome.

7:15 a.m.- 7:45 a.m. — Walk Juni (rather, she walks me, especially when we get to the park and she sees squirrels and other dogs) and feed kibbles.

8 a.m.- 4 p.m.– Juni sleeps, causes mischief, gets belly rubs and head scratches, sunbathes on the patio, loses toys under the couch, scoots her butt across the carpet a few times…just for kicks.

4:15 p.m.– Repeat of 7:15 a.m.

6-11 p.m.– Juni shoves her face into my hands every 10 minutes to get petted. Seriously, she’s doing it right now.

11/12 – 7 a.m.– Juni pretends to sleep in her crate, but at some point during the night climbs into bed and tries to get me to pet her, again.

Notice how there is a 15-minute window between the time I get ready to take Juni for a walk, and the time she actually goes on a walk. This time is solely devoted to Juni’s Diablo Dance. That’s right. Diablo Dance.

At first this dance scared the crap out of me, and I immediately thought she had some type of psychological disorder (that’s a whooooole different topic that I won’t go into right now). However, now it’s just part of the daily grind. It’s hard to explain this dance without actually experiencing it. It starts with, “Juni– do you want to go for a walk,” to which she responds with an emphatic grunt.

After she sees that I’m getting ready to go outside, she gets up on her hind legs, and to stay up, starts gesturing with her arms. Yes, that’s right–gesturing. She repetitively paws the air with both arms, as if to say, “Come here, get that collar on me so we can go pee on other dogs’ pee.”

This goes on for a good five minutes. It’s entertaining more-so because of a particular characteristic of Juni: She has a disproportionately small head in comparison to the rest of her body. So, when she does her Diablo Dance, she looks absolutely goofy. Picture a dog with a small head, wombat-y ears sticking out, thick torso and skinny little legs… frantically clawing at the air, over and over again, for five minutes. Then it takes an additional 5-10 minutes for her to calm down enough to get her collar and leash on, and then off we go!

Not to say that Juni isn’t absolutely amazing– she definitely is, she’s the sweetest thing and has so much love to give… but, having Juni has made me realize a thing or two, for sure: 1) I’m ignoring my hormones for a while, and 2) When I am ready, I’m going to be cutting my child’s fingernails, religiously.

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