A few years ago, our first pug, Percy, nosed into the closet, tipped over a 20 pound bag of dog food, and shimmied his way inside, eating until his stomach was distended and his coat was dotted with greasy little bits of beef gravy kibble. It’s a puggish tendency–to eat way beyond satiation. In fact, every time we leave Penelope, our second pug, with the neighbor when we go out of town, I always give her the same directions: “Do not feed more more than this cup. Even if she looks at you like she’s the most desperate, starving dog in the world.”
It doesn’t matter. When we come home, Penelope is always a pound or two heavier and Leslie sheepishly admits she’s let Penelope have “just a little extra.”
Are babies anything like puppies?
That’s a question that came to mind yesterday, as Mariel and I went from one stressful doctor’s appointment to another, from 59th and 10th Avenue to 114th and Amsterdam. She sucked down one bottle, then I, oblivious to the time, popped another one in her mouth. Jumping on and off the hospital jitney, juggling my bag, the Snugli, and paperwork, I didn’t burp her as much as I should have. By noon, her belly looked suspiciously like Percy’s after his binge: round and hard. I should have paced her feedings better, shouldn’t have rushed her along, even though the hospital is notorious for refusing to see patients who don’t arrive on time.
There are so many things you learn about parenting only as you go along, and some of the lessons come from strange places. Or memories of the dog.