The two-legged is now nearly 9 months old, and Ace, in thoroughbred fashion of aging up on January 1, is now 13 (although I generally wait until his actual birthday to acknowledge the change). For the most part, parenthood is like nothing else in life. But sometimes, I find lessons I’ve learned from a life spent with horses DO in fact carry over in some useful (and not so useful) ways.
For women in particular, we tend to think of horses like we do babies. They need the best in our care, love, attention, training, and discipline. We obsess over them, worry about them, stress over them, and of course enjoy them. We learn quickly that we should NEVER Google ANYTHING ever, although we usually can’t help ourselves. We stay up all night with them when they are sick. We call the doctor/vet about every little malady (at least with the first one). We obsess over everything that goes into their mouths. We read about them. We talk about them. We work hard to provide for them.
Horses and babies have a few things in common. They can’t talk. They (at least our domesticated versions) can’t take care of themselves. They need to learn about this world, with our help. They don’t always speak or understand our language. They can’t tell us what’s wrong. They get ornery. They get hurt. They love us. They make us crazy.
There is nothing better than our horses, except probably our babies.
So here begins a series of (however many I end up with) posts on the parenting lessons I learned first from my horse.
The other day, my happy-active-wiggly 9-month-old was twisting harder than a bucking bronco at the county rodeo while I was trying to change his diaper. His head, legs, and bum were all going different directions as I struggled desparately to get his size 3 Pampers stuck in the appropriate locations so that his diaper wasn’t on sideways.
Then, much to my chagrin first and amusement second, the word “Whoa!” escaped my lips.
I’m sure I had repeated it softly at least four times while maintaining my own physical calm and stillness before I caught myself. He’s not a horse, he’s a baby. I told cajoled myself. But then I thought, Eh, what the heck? If it works on my horse, maybe it will work on him too. Besides, my husband isn’t here to hear me.
I don’t know that my body language and soft whoa’s really made any difference, but I did get that diaper on in the end.