Isn't it funny when you realize that a trait which annoys you in others -- even animals -- might be one you also find in yourself?
Well, funny and exasperating.
Over the past few days of crate training, it's occasionally felt as if Teddy was whining like his life depended on it. But as I sat down to write this post, I realized...
That's what I'm doing lately as well.
I am whining, loud and long. I can't seem to get through a day right now without a nice vent.
And realizing that, I suddenly have a lot more sympathy for little Teddy, because sometimes things don't feel fair and you need a bit of a release. He isn't doing it to deliberately annoy me. Obviously I know this already, but knowing it and feeling it are two different things. As L.M. Montgomery would say, human nature is not obliged to be consistent.
Getting stuck in the crate while there are fun things to do throughout the house -- feet to chew on, places to squat, people and dogs to tease-- it stinks. Figuratively, of course, because crate training is mighty effective at helping puppies learn to hold it.
I do not believe in bottling up my emotions (shocking, I know), but I also need to learn to hold it in, at least a little bit. I would very much like to stay married to Kyle -- who doesn't exactly enjoy these complaining marathons as much as you might imagine -- so I can't go on and on every single night as I'd like to, but I am giving myself free reign to post about it now and then.
This is one of those times.
I've always been someone who has trouble saying no. Whether it's a fear of confrontation or a desire to be accommodating, if someone asks me for a favor, I pretty much do it. I might grumble (dare I say whine) or feel put upon, but I'll do it. Pseudo-martydom and I have existed cozily for many years now.
But I'm not doing it anymore, because frankly, it's getting exhausting and making me bitter.
In some bizarre way, I'm likening this to crate training. Perhaps because all I think about right now are dogs and work (aren't you jealous?)
Teddy would be perfectly happy to just pee and poop with abandon, whenever and wherever he wants. He'd like to eat all day long. He'd love to sink his teeth into our couch and fingers. But he can't and he won't... and the process of teaching him that very important lesson is sometimes
literally a painful one. It is an exercise in the word NO.
When he is an adult, God willing, he won't have accidents in the house, or try to tear into the bag of dog food, or chew on sensitive digits. He won't whimper and cry when he's put into a perfectly nice little crate, toys included. In short, he won't give into his natural inclinations.
My natural inclination -- to say yes and then to whine about it -- is something that, as an adult, I need to master. When I was young, if I got overwhelmed, a grown-up would help me out. When I was in college, I could do a half-assed job on the 20 different things I was trying to handle, and they'd usually turn out okay (expectations are a tad lower for college students). Now, the things I try to juggle are too important, and I can't and won't just assume that others will help me out.
Just like Teddy eventually stops whining every night, turns around three times, plops down in his crate, and start gnawing on a bone... I'm chewing over a few new ideas, quietly. I'm learning that whining doesn't make much of a difference, but behavior does.
I'm planning to do things a little differently in the future.