Friday, May 13, 2005

and they call it puppy love

Yesterday, Joe mentioned over dinner, "The tent is up." I didn't have to ask him what he meant, I knew he meant the graduation tent in the garden of the hospital. It's not only a graduation tent for the med school, of course--there are plenty of other graduation ceremonies taking place in series under that tent, for the nursing school, the dental school, the Ph.D.s, what have you. In fact, if I remember, they were shooing us out after our own graduation ceremony because the Public Health school was lining up to graduate right on our heels, and they needed the space. It's just hard to imagine that we graduated from med school almost two years ago. I think about the difference between then and now and it's just mind-boggling.

Still, two years later, and only now am I finally, finally settling into my role. Such that I feel comfortable making the big decisions alone. That I'm really starting to trust myself and my own clinical judgement. That I can really feel comfortable differentiating a truly sick patient from a going-to-be-OK one. That when I hear someone calling "Doctor?" I reflexively turn around to see if they're talking to me. About damn time.

* * *

An update on the whole paternity situation (and not in that Ricki Lake paternity test way):

I'm hoping this will be like the whole dog thing. What I mean by that is that I hope that Joe will fall into the fatherhood role as naturally and readily as he has fallen into dog ownership, because...well, there are many parallels. See, getting the dog was kind of my idea. Even before we moved in together, I had campaigned for getting a dog, and Joe sort of just went along with it. I mean, he liked dogs, and did want to get a dog at some point ("...for our kids to play with"), but I doubt we would have gotten one at the time that we did if it weren't for my relentless obsessing.

On my side, I'd been researching the details of dog ownership since my senior year of college. I'd researched different breeds, the breeder vs. shelter dog choice, the cost of dog food, vaccination schedules, read this book about dog training (along with countless online articles about every topic dog-related under the sun). I was ready for this dog. I was practically willing this dog into existence. And when we got turned down for puppy adoption the first time we applied, I was heartbroken. Seriously, there may have been tears. (Of course, now I understand that the rejection was MEANT TO BE, to tear us from the bum dog that we had originally tapped and to set us up for our REAL dog, Cooper, two months later. Close call there. As well as here.)

But even the day before we ended up getting Cooper, I was hesitant about Joe's mindset for getting a puppy. Was he really into the idea, or was he just getting steamrolled by my enthusiasm and going along for the ride? He had barely glanced at the dog-training literature I left around for him. He hadn't been combing through the roster of available shelter animals. He hadn't really thought about the logistics of actually having a puppy in our home. The day before we finally adopted the Coop, he even expressed some last-minute doubts about the whole enterprise, leading us to delay our trip to the shelter for a day. I was worried, basically, that he was only going to be peripherally involved with the dog.

But obviously these concerns ended up being groundless, because once we actually brought the dog home, he completely fell in love with her and now if anything is twice as crazy as me about this animal. He dotes on her. He spoils her. He trained her to sit, to give paw, to...actually, those are the only two real tricks she knows. He thinks he is the dog's biological father. They are IN LOVE.

So I guess what I'm saying is that I hope Joe ends up liking the kid as much as he likes the dog.

On the advice of some, I did end up buying Joe a copy of "The New Father: A Dad's Guide to the First Year" for his birthday--sandwiched between some other more fun gifts, of course. He says he even read a few pages of it during lunch at work the other day, which, to anyone at all familiar with the length of time the average resident actually gets to eat lunch, really means that he read maybe a page and a half. So he's trying, at least. I know that when the kid gets here, he's going to be just as involved and loving and proud and supportive as any other non-deadbeat dad out there.

Still, part of me wishes, why can't he be more like this guy?

Currently watching: "Spanglish." This was a surprisingly good movie. What happened, ever since "Punch Drunk Love," Adam Sandler is becoming, like, this real actor. I'm so proud of him! Just as long as he promises not to make any more movies like "Little Nicky."

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