If you can’t beat your four-legged kids, join them

Ryn Gargulinski: Local Columnist

TUCUMCARI — Kids are wonderful. They rollick, they frolic, they spit up on your chest.

I’m in the category of those who think children are giggly and grand — as long as they are somebody else’s.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ll be the first one in the supermarket line to play googly eyes with a baby in front of me but, when I was a surly teen and mom said she hoped my own children will be as annoying as I was, I decided not to have any of my own.

Now I have five.

The newest addition to our growing brood is a puppy named Lulu.

She’s a Rottweiler-Akita amalgam with some Bozo the Clown genes mixed in. Actually, there may be more than a circus lion’s genetic strain; she has come to adore chewing on my scalp. She also likes chewing on the lamp wires, the pillows and the fake fur leopard hat I secured around the bottom of a coat rack to hide where the wood was chipped. It was also quite fetching when she began to bat and gnaw my boyfriend’s sneaker — until he wrenched it away from her and she toddled toward my leather flip-flop.

She’s the kid in the stroller that everyone oohs and aahhs about right before they walk away, making the sign of the cross that it’s not them she whines awake at 3 a.m.
Our two adolescents are the goats.

Slim and Shady get more rambunctious daily. Some of their newer antics include pretending to be scared of Lulu (who was obtained to be a goat guard and stands about as high as their shins) and climbing trees.

You wouldn’t think a goat can climb a tree. However, we’re at the point where, if we don’t see them kicking around at ground level, we get our binoculars and scan the treetops.

Recently, Shady found a new way to show her disapproval. One morning she lovingly nuzzled my cheek, only to expel a giant, snorting PFFFT near my eyeball when she found I was out of carrots.

They are the kids in the candy aisle at Wal-Mart who throw those huge embarrassing tantrums when they don’t get butterscotch.

Little Man, the rat, is surely the most disciplined of the bunch.

Little Man is the young teenager who hasn’t yet rebelled, the one that remains serious, well-mannered and fine enough to take out and show your friends.

We are still deciding if it has anything to do with the fact that he spends 23 hours a day locked in a cage. The other hour he runs around the house in a giant red ball, the kind that killed my brother’s friend’s hamster when it tumbled down the stairs. Since we have no stairs, he safely and securely enjoys his oxymoronic contained freedom until the red ball confuses the heck out of Lulu and she begins to whine like she does at 3 a.m.

Scratch is the 20-something who still lives with his parents.

This Jack Russell is really only 3 but we have to account for those dog year calculations and do the math, an ability I lost when I worked as a bookkeeper.

Although he enjoys his freedom — proved time and again when he ran away for trysts with Dixie — he also likes to come back for the free room and board, not to mention the Kibbles and Bits.

Yes, the collection becomes overwhelming at times, particularly when I arrive home weary from work and a whole frenzy begins. The baby begins her whining as the adolescents bleat for their carrots and the 20-something jumps to knock me down while the teen adds his erudite opinion with the incessant bang bang of his water bottle.

One day I nearly panicked as I was clearly outnumbered.

And I remember a highly researched article that said a group of 20 6-year-old kids can actually kill.

So I went with an adage that works — I joined them.
A sixth kid now rollicks in the yard, in the form of myself, chewing on a carrot stick, jumping at the trees and making noises loud and weird enough at 3 a.m. to stir the world awake.

Ryn Gargulinski writes for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. Contact her at 505-461-1952 or by e-mail: