Sometimes blessings hurt.

Walter the Wonderdoodle is pure joy – jumping and exploring and drinking it all in.


He’s jumping on people and brand-new kitchen cabinets. Exploring means that he’s unearthed a bunny nest, has discovered the magic of digging, and loves to rip up hostas. And drinking it all in means that one big gulp of water equals not one but five gigantic pees – most likely in the house – within anywhere between five and 20 minutes.

Also? He loves to eat paper towels, so you best be quick when cleaning up those puddles.

I am new-puppy tired. It’s the kind of tired that feels like a dirty secret, like something that shouldn’t be admitted. He’s so adorable! He’s such a blessing! He bit my face two days ago and I still look like I’ve been in a fight!

One of my neighbors stopped me in the street. Not to comment on my mauled visage, but on the puppy. She asked, “How are you? Are you sleeping?”

She is the mother of four kids under the age of 4. She asked me this while she had a newborn strapped to her chest.

It was so kind of her to ask, and I felt seen. But I immediately felt guilty and said, “I am not going to complain about sleep to the mom of a newborn!” Like I was all tightly wound Joan Crawford and obsessed with etiquette, lest people find out that I’m a schlep after all.

I could fall asleep on the floor right now.

Like this guy, in a rare moment of repose.

It’s a weird muscle memory. I was up so much with sweet geriatric Big Doodle in his final months, and falling back to sleep wasn’t always my strong suit. And with Wonderdoodle? Well, it’s like my body said, “Oh, we’re doing this again? Bad decision, but OK.” And I’m up looking at Facebook at 4 a.m. because the puppy needed to potty at 3.

It was a privilege to care for Big Doodle. It is a huge blessing to welcome Walter into our home and help him grow. But it hurts.

And my mom friends look at each other knowingly – or at least I imagine they do – like, “She doesn’t know true sleep deprivation because she’s never had a baby.” And like talking to my sweet neighbor, I guess I think they are right, like I have no right to complain.

But right now? Right now, spending 23 hours a day with a puppy that is either passed out or insane and a crotchety dachshund who is just pissed off about the entire situation and bit me this morning because he mistook my finger for the rawhide I was attempting to pry out of the Wonderdoodle’s maw?

Well, at least newborns don’t have razor-sharp teeth.

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  • Reply Dorrie April 15, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    This too shall pass. Hopefully, one day you will look back on it all and laugh. Just think that in another 10 months or so, Walter will be 15 years old in people years and much more manageable. As for the crotchety one, we brought a mentally special needs kitty into our house when the older two were 8 years old. I don't think a day goes by that I don't apologize to them for ruining their retirement years. But, we are a family and make do like families do. Hope things settle down soon and you can get some rest.

  • Reply Harriet Cooper April 15, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Luckily, kittens are a bit easier – at least they get litter trained very quickly. Hope the little noodle calms down soon and everyone can sleep better. Until they, good luck.

  • Reply Green Girl in Wisconsin April 16, 2017 at 1:18 am

    I'm glad you have a neighbor who SAW you and offered you encouragement. New babies are probably toothless for a very good reason. You're a good dog owner, all the work you put in now will definitely pay off. Eventually. Until then, good luck. Hopefully the sleep deprivation will end before you really lose it.

  • Reply Trixie Bang Bang April 16, 2017 at 6:06 am

    I'm still stuck on "puppy" and "new kitchen cabinets". That made my heart hurt a little.

  • Reply Andrea April 16, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    When our dog had me up four times in an hour a few weeks ago, I thought about how much easier babies were…granted there haven't been babies in the house in over 15 years, but they just needed to be snuggled most of the time, right? When the dog was just staring at me and neither of us knew what he wanted it did all seem very familiar. Best of luck to you for sleep and sanity!

  • Reply Becky April 17, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    This. This is exactly why I couldn't do a puppy – it IS like having a newborn. Only you can leave Walter home alone in a cage, which is a huge advantage over a newborn.

  • Reply BentNotBroken April 18, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    I first read this post a few days ago at my inlaw's house while my mother in law was going on and on (and on and on and on and on) about God only knows what. It struck a chord. I wanted to respond then, but I also didn't want my underlying snarkiness (thanks MIL!) to come through.

    I think that the moral of the story is that not getting enough sleep sucks. Whether it is because you are caring for a puppy, or a geriatric dog, or a newborn, or because of stress, or whatever. It just plain sucks. I guess what I'm trying to say is that a newborn and a puppy are both hard, just different types of hard that can't really be compared. Kudos to your neighbor for seeing you.

    Here's to hoping that your face heals up soon and that Walter the Wonderdoodle-shark's puppy teeth fall out soon!

  • Reply Grant Firl April 26, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    I can't help but think of Uncle Louis explaining to Aunt Bethany that the family wants her to say the BLESSINGGGGG in Christmas Vacation after reading your title. That blessing hurt too.

  • Reply Karen (formerly kcinnova) May 28, 2017 at 8:13 am

    Being SEEN is important, whether you are tired from crying babies, puppies, or geriatric needs — they all count. I'm glad your neighbor noticed and SAW.

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