As good as my animals have it, they are not my “children.” I did not have children for several reasons, none of which is relevant here.

However, the stuff that comes out of my mouth makes me wonder if I might as well have had children.

Here are some alarming examples of remarks I’ve made that sound eerily like a mother:

  • For godsake, Allie you’re 14 years old, when are you going to stop chasing your tail? trying to suckle on my ear lobe? etc.
  • Girl, if you don’t start listening we are going to turn around and go home right now. <I know, I couldn’t believe I said it either.>
  • Dammit Girl quit following me around. I am not the freaking entertainment committee.
  • <to Girl when she “doesn’t hear” me calling her> Don’t make me come get you. <That was especially alarming.>
  • Move it Li’l F****er <Bubba>. (Side note: That’s not very maternal, and my mother never said it to me but that’s the beauty of an animal. You can call them names, and if you do it in a kind tone of voice it really doesn’t matter to them. And really they’re quite forgiving on those occasions when you DO lose it and yell. Actually, the cats don’t seem to care at all–just give them any attention and they’re good.)
  • Girl, you can’t go outside with that. That’s an inside toy.
  • Dammit, who left all these pawprints?! I just mopped the floor…<Anyone who sees my floor on a regular basis will verify that I couldn’t possibly say this one too often, since I seldom mop the floor.>
  • No. No. No! NO! NO!
  • Bubba! Quit chasing Allie — leave her alone!
  • WHAT are you doing? <pauses and waits as though a response is imminent> Knock it off!!

On the other hand, I have to say things that “real” mothers hopefully probably never have to:

  • Girl, leave the cat poop alone.
  • Allie, get off the newspaper-I’m trying to read.
  • Dammit Allie, get off the effing keyboard!!!!!!!!!! <followed by a lot of cursing, erasing, rebooting, etc.>
  • Allie, get off the table <Hopefully you wouldn’t have to say much past 4 years old for humans but which you have to always say for cats. Clearly, Allie is the problem in most situations where movement occurs. Bubba doesn’t move — he roosts.>

I wish I had some clever way to end this. It’s basically a list I’ve been keeping for several months now. I just can’t believe some of the stuff that flies out of my mouth, that makes me sound like every mother since time began. It must get passed through the genes or something.

I kept this quote from the book, Dog Days, by Mark Doty, about the difference between dogs and children. I think it could apply to all pets really (itals. mine):

“We are not helping our dogs move toward independence, as we do with children — and as, of course, children long to do. The dog’s need for us is permanent. The great evolutionary success of their species lies in their ability to convince us of our need for them.”

5/17 Just added: “…and stay where I can see you”