Excuses, excuses.

I’ve been awfully  busy — did you miss me? I know I’ve been slacking off the blog. Here’s my excuse:

The cutest excuse.

It’s hard work being this cute.

It turns out, puppies are a LOT of work. Who knew? Apparently, everyone but me. I mean, I knew having a puppy would mean some work, but I think my expectations were completely unrealistic. In my defence, I have never, ever had a puppy. Kittens, yes. Dog, yes. But the only dog I ever had, Chip, was a grown dog when we rescued him. So, really, I had no clue what I was getting myself into.

Having Grimby (short for Grimbergen, our favourite beer while in France) has been a great opportunity for me to learn about myself. Some of it has been good, some has been bad, much like the days themselves. I’ve discovered the following about myself:

  • I am not a very patient person. I need to change this. I’m working on it.
  • I’m a perfectionist. I know, I know: Everyone says this, but wow. I SERIOUSLY need to learn to let some things go. I’m working on this, too. Good thing Grimby’s a patient teacher.
  • I don’t know what to do with anger.

This last one’s been a biggie. Pardon my language, but I have LOST MY SHIT so many times, I am mortified to admit it. I’m ashamed of my temper and who I become when I lose it. I don’t like me very much then, and it’s made me feel like I’m just like some members of my family who have some real anger management issues. Having grown up thinking I was so different from those people, at least in terms of my chill attitude and pleasant demeanour, this has proven exceptionally hard to swallow. I think herein lies my largest issue with poor little Grimby, who is just being a puppy and wondering what the hell he’s done and where he can hide from me when I’m blowing my lid. I’ve reacted in ways that make me cringe: shoving him away from me, or flipping him on his back, even when I know it’s not a good practice with dogs. I’ve yelled and shouted and seen him cowering. And oh, the profanity. Seriously, the sailor’s mouth on me. Pass me the bar of soap.

While I’m glad to be learning this now with a puppy, as opposed to a child, I’d really prefer to not have this red angry monster be a part of me. I’ve become terrified that if we should ever get around to having kids, I’ll be a terrible, angry, seeing-red mom, which is someone I very much don’t want to be (having grown up with a lot of anger around me and not liking it very much at all). I think that anger has probably always been there, being that I am, in fact, human, but I ignored it, since there were always people in my home who were often very, very angry, very, very often.

I’ve tried to figure out why I am SO poor at dealing with anger and I think I might know why (thanks to a recent epiphany): Those other people around me were so angry when I was growing up, that there wasn’t really room for me to be angry, too. Though now I realize that I should have had that right, too. Instead, I swallowed any anger I might have experienced and probably displayed through more acceptable attitudes: fear, timidity, avoidance and guilt/shame. Because there was so much stress, strife and anger in my home, there was no room for me to express angry feelings, which means I never learned how to manage or express anger in a more productive or acceptable manner. No one else knew how to deal with theirs, so I had no model to follow. I didn’t have a chance. But I realize that I do have a chance, and a choice, now. I’m actually amazed that I’ve never ever thought of this before.

Sharing this here makes me want to cry, because I hate it and it’s embarrassing. I feel vulnerable and ashamed of myself. I want to hide that this anger is a part of me, but I think that’s actually the problem. It’s time to own up and admit that I’m human and that humans sometimes get frustrated and angry. I’m working on it, though, which means owning it, accepting it and learning to translate my anger into more productive actions and emotions.

Because you know why? This little guy is awesome. Grimby is the cutest puppy in the world. Everyone loves him (well, maybe not Maui and Hermes) and I do, too.

Grimby wants this bed, thank you very much.

After having enough in Petsmart, Grimby decided this was the best place for him to hang out.

I just want him to be the perfect dog. And you know what I’m learning? He already is. He accepts my flaws, without judging me, and he’s teaching me to do the same for him, and maybe more importantly, for me, too.

Who knew how much a small, snorty, wriggly little creature can teach you. I’m learning that, too.

5 thoughts on “Excuses, excuses.

  1. Such a cute puppy! I adopted a puppy not too long ago as well. He’s 10 month old now, and I’ve had him about 4 months. I can understand your frustrations and anger at times, and I know that I have outlashed at Otis (our dog) knowing it was inappropriate. The good thing is they are very forgiving and will bring endless joy and laughs! Let me know if you want any advice, I highly recommend SmartDog training and Beast Canine Services (they do drop in puppy classes, dog walking, training etc.) Best of luck with your new family member!

  2. Thanks, Cayla. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one out there. It honestly seems like everyone else is Cesar Millan compared to me and my previously unseen temper.

    I’ll keep trying and hope he is forgiving. I’m having a hard time forgiving myself…

  3. Are you kidding! We may quote Cesar Millan, but we are definitely not pulling it off like him (“it” being puppy parenthood). Knowing what to do is not the same as actually doing it 😛 You are doing fine and you will learn and get more patient. And if you don’t, there’s always therapy 🙂 (That’s only half-joking – therapists/counselors are wonderful at putting things in perspective, I highly recommend them).

  4. Hang in there Rachelle. I can sympathize with waking up one day and not liking what you see. But we’re all learning, and first thing is definitely to forgive yourself for not being perfect. I have this perfectionist thing too, and I know when i start getting down on myself its a lot to do with unrealistic expectations of myself. But you do what you can to change what you don’t like, and that act is empowering. And he seriously is the cutest puppy evar!

  5. Hey lady – I know how you feel. Although Ramsay (my monkey, now 3 years old) seems well behaved when in public (although he’s likely currently sleeping on my bed, since he knows I can’t see him…) it was not so long ago that he was a terrible, little bundle of energy, curiosity and trouble. One that I was certain was put on this earth to test me and to prove that there were things I was taking too seriously (namely, myself) — and I will admit having unleashed some undue frustration his way as well ~ as my neighbour, I’m surprised you didn’t hear it.

    Give yourself a break, and recognize the awesome puppy-parent you’re being too. Like the moment’s where there’s no one else around, and yet you’re cuddling your little munchkin and telling them all of the amazing things about them and how much you love them.

    You’ll be a great mom, fur-baby or real-baby.

Leave a Reply