Thursday, February 22, 2007

Running the Risk That You Might Not Like Me Much Anymore Once You Read This

Still, I could use some advice, so I feel compelled to tell the truth. And the truth is that, well, (here I go):

I don't like puppies.

I know. I'm sorry. I'm really, very, terribly, awfully sorry. But I just don't like them. And I really don't like having to take care of them when they're not mine. I find them to be annoying. (Grown dogs, however, that are already trained, are a different story. Just clarifying.)

It's happened more than once that a family I work for has gotten a puppy while I was working for them. It's fairly common that they see all that food their child has thrown on the floor and think to themselves, "What could clean that up more easily than I could? Oh, I know! A puppy!" Or maybe the kids are asking for one, and they swear on all their favorite toys that they'll take care of the puppy. Really! We WILL! We'll train him and clean up after him and it will be so easy you won't even know he's here except when he's looking cute and licking your earlobes out of pure puppy affection! (I know these lines because I used them myself as a kid, once I realized that the line, "But Siamese cats have different dander, and so we could get one of those even though you're both allergic!" wasn't working.) When it comes right down to it, though, puppies are, honestly, kind of a pain in the ass. Sure they're cute and can be very funny and loving. But in addition to that, they also tend to chew things up and urinate all over the floor. Then, suddenly, it's not so fun having a puppy. The kids then come up with lines like, "But when did YOU last clean up a mess?" and "But I'm busy doing my homework, which YOU told me to do." And so not only do you have a pain in the ass puppy peeing and pooping everywhere, chewing up the rungs of all the chairs, you have kids that suddenly have forgotten their impassioned promises to do everything that's necessary for the puppy's care. You're not just getting those affectionate earlobe licks, you're also either getting to 1) Cajole and/or threaten someone else into doing a job they swore they'd do, or 2) Take care of it yourself. Option Two also applies when the former Impassioned Promisers (now demoted to Responsibility Evaders) are away.

This has been one touchy situation in the nanny world that I have yet to find a satisfactory way of working out. By nature I am non-confrontative, so I have just sort of gone along with it. I imagine that there are plenty of jobs that have added responsibilities as time goes by, and that those responsibilities are often not immediately compensated. Rather, the reward comes later, during the job review, when there's (hopefully) either a promotion or a raise. However, what I've noticed in the nanny world is that a puppy is not often acknowledged as an additional responsibility. Even though most nannies I've spoken with on the subject agree that a new puppy is often as much work as an additional child, there are very few families that I know of (okay, well, none that I know of personally, though I'm certain they must exist) that see the addition of a pet as cause for additional compensation or who, alternately, do the majority of the pet care themselves if the nanny would rather not participate. I can understand this line of thought in the sense that I have agreed to care for the children and their belongings, and the pet is seen as one of the child's belongings. However, particularly in the case of puppies, which need to be trained to use the outdoors as their bathroom and not to chew up the contents of the house or the house itself, a pet is hardly just a new belonging. And I would rather not have to be the one to care for it. Still, it's hard to say that. It's hard to look the people you work with (and perhaps live with) in the eye and tell them the truth, which is that while you're great with kids, puppies are not really your thing. It's hard for me not to just be the Yes Girl and pretend it's fine and that I like it and that it's really no problem. I'm able to set boundaries in some other situations (though I'll admit it's still fairly difficult every time, as I am a delicate little flower with sensitive little feelings), but with the puppy issue in particular I am a great big chicken.

Internet, do you have any advice for me? Should I just suck it up and deal with the puppies, or am I justified in asking for either relief from puppy duty or additional compensation? If you had a nanny and she had this same issue, how would you like her to bring it up? Fire away, but remember to be nice about it. (Delicate little flower, sensitive little feelings, remember?) I'm counting on you, internet, to solve all my problems.


Jennifer said...

My poor Mary Bee... I love ya, Honey.. I feel ya... the puppies, the old-ladyisms (I have some so old they are inappropriate to retell here...) the missing KC... the donuts... *sigh* It's a lot to swallow. (those are some big ass donuts) I MEAN>.. uh.. sorry.. ya. The ISSUES are challenging... that's what I meant. would you like some more elipses maybe to comfort you? Or is the closure of a complete sentence better? :) Ok, I know I'm just foolish now. I love your blog, sweety. I laugh out loud at it. But I can't bring myself to write "lol". I dunno... it's just a thing.. now look, I've gone and made more elipses... *sigh* I better quit while I'm ahead.
In my defense, I entered my 3rd trimester yesterday... so maybe I'm supposed to overuse elipses and ramble non-committedly to a subject/verb/object format. I bet that's it. I bet Google would tell me they did a study about it. I bet they did. THEY do studies on everything.
ok, really done now. Still love ya.

marymuses said...

Jenni, you are a dear. I accept you entering your third trimester as an excuse for any erratic behavior you might like to engage in, though I'll tell you that I love your comment and think it's perfect as it is, third trimester or not. Much love to you up in Canadia, my lovely.