, Derry, New Hampshire


May 29, 2014

Column: Adjusting to a new baby at home

Whenever I notice a beleaguered parent pushing a grocery cart packed with disposable diapers, I think, wow, am I glad those days are behind me.

Except those days aren’t behind me, not really, because instead of digging into a jumbo package of Huggies, I now dive into a 50-count sack of leak-proof, “quick-dry top layer” pee pads.

There’s a playpen again in my living room, lined with stuffed animals, shorn of potential choking hazards. Two safety gates block off the living room from the kitchen because danger lurks in every corner of that mini amusement park.

Yesterday I stepped on a toy that squeaked like a mouse. A few seconds later, I planted my other foot and produced a sound like the last gasps of a dying cow.

I find Baggies filled with snacks all over my condo. When it’s time for a drive, I make sure to buckle up the young ‘un in the back seat, and he barely makes a peep. My kids never did that.

What’s the difference between a puppy and a baby? Nothing, except that parents wait a little longer to leash their child.

Jack Bauer is once again the focus of our lives. My wife, Betty, and I used to binge-watch episodes of “24.” We never figured out how that intrepid federal agent could somehow battle terrorists around the clock, and never once visit the bathroom.

Our Jack Bauer, the little hairy one, doesn’t exhibit that kind of self-control. But when he does let loose, it’s more often than not in the backyard. He’s picking up proper toilet habits pretty quickly. My kids never did that.

I’m not saying dog ownership is all work and no play. Jack Bauer is my first dog, so despite all the testimony of adoring pooch parents, I remained a skeptic. I expected a yipping, shaking, shedding little monster ready to rip the flesh off my shins as he greeted me at the door.

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