Early Rejser: The Young Ones
After years of looking after other people’s little ones, I now have my own to care for. This was the inevitable next step on the path that took us from England to owning an apartment in Copenhagen.
Fabulous little Frida
I am undeniably biased, but little Frida is perfect in every way: her tiny features a beautiful blend of Mum and Dad’s. The joy she’s brought us more than compensates for the nights of shallow, sporadic sleep and the mornings of deep fatigue and constant yawning. It almost seems a shame to lock her up in a cage at night.
Before you send the police my way, I haven’t taken a leaf out of the Dursley book of childcare (though I would argue that being locked up in a small, dark cupboard at night played no small role in making Harry Potter the formidable wizard he became).
Frida is a puppy. And if my ambiguous prose caused her to be mistaken for a human, then I must apologise … to her, for she is superior to any human child I’ve ever met.
This may seem an outrageous claim, but given my professional credentials and the large amounts of time I have spent in the presence of children, I’m well placed to make it. And I’m not claiming Frida is unique among dogs in this superiority. She is the norm that proves the rule.
The aforementioned cage (or ‘crate’, to use its more marketable name) is a valuable tool in house-training your hound. Outside the home, they can relieve themselves almost anywhere in public and no-one bats an eyelid. With kids, you have to pray they can hold on until you find a toilet. Try letting little Søren defecate on the pavement and see what kind of looks you get.
It’s not just what comes out of your dog, but what goes in, which elevates him above the human child. A dog will eat whatever you put in front of him and is always up for trying something new. You don’t even need to cook his food. With too many kids the opposite is true. You wile away hours of your life preparing a dish, only for them to turn it down before they’ve even tried it.
End of the line
A dog will follow wherever you go – either of his own volition, or due to some pressure from the other end of the lead. This is not the case with their unleashed, bipedal counterparts, for whom dragging feet, high-pitched screams and parental embarrassment often come to the rescue.
I myself was a child so determined to go his own way that I did in fact have a lead attached to me. But this was still not enough to get me to toe the line, and only ratcheted the embarrassment up another notch.
My parents would have left me at home if they could. But this is impossible when it comes to ones progeny. A dog you can leave home alone all day without it becoming a legal matter. Likewise, if your dog is really acting out, you can legally beat him, and he will lick your hand between blows. And if their behaviour really ticks you off, you can just pop down to the vet and have them euthanised. If a kid acts out, you can’t even spank them.
I could go, but the takeaway would be the same. Not that you should trade in your beloved offspring for a furry, four-legged replacement – my career in childcare, for one thing, is in decline. The dog days have arrived.