When Ina was a few weeks old, the people asked us the same few questions -
How is she eating?
How is she sleeping?
How did you make such a beautiful baby? (secret family recipe)
How are the dogs handling the baby?
Dog? What dogs?
After 3 months, here are some thoughts on having dogs and a newborn:
- Before Ina was born, Aumlette and Lilly knew that something was up. They acted different, more protective. They went from getting out of the backyard once a month to not at all. Also, they could tell they needed to mark their territory. Unfortunately, when we were making piles of Ina's clothes in her room, one of them decided that the 3 to 6 month pile was up for grabs. Eh, they needed to be washed anyways, right?
- Our dogs aren't the violent type, but we were still cautious bringing Ina home. Dan took one of her blankets home from the hospital and let the dogs smell it and lay on it a few days beforehand. Then, we made sure that the dogs were outside when we brought her in the house for the first time, so they didn't view her as a guest entering the house. We have never had a problem with them messing with her. Beside the occasional sniff, they mostly leave her alone.
- It was a huge adjustment, not only for them, but for me. Pre-baby, they were the center of my attention when I was home. If they wanted a back scratch, some water, or to go outside, it was no big deal. Obviously, now things have changed. They sometimes will stand at the door for 10 minutes asking to go outside while I am busy feeding Ina, and then just give up. Sometimes they don't get breakfast until around dinner time. I don't want to pet them as much because then I just have to wash my hands more.
- Our girl dog, Lilly (the gold one), requires a lot more attention. She still is adjusting to me not giving it all to her. I call her "Lilly Girl" and sometimes I call Ina "baby girl." Poor Lilly runs in the room, tail wagging, every single time. She also still thinks that when I talk in my high pitched voice to Ina, I am talking to her. Slowly, we are finding a new balance of my attentions.
- Our boy dog, Aumlette, the beagle, doesn't seem to notice a change. Except that he always lays next to where Ina is, protecting her. Also, every time I let him in from outside, he smells every single one of her rockers until he finds her. It is so cute. He also is a huge fan of all the new things on the floor to cuddle up with.
- Years ago, a friend was telling me that when she had her first baby she had to give her dog away. I remember thinking that was so sad. How could she give her dog away? I could never do that, I love my dogs. She told me that the love for a baby doesn't even compare, that the dogs will be an afterthought. I didn't believe her. Now, I completely understand. Of course, we are not going to give our dogs away, but I understand how it would be necessary if the dog wasn't cooperating.
- Sometimes they get a little too frisky playing next to Ina, and I have to stop them. Sometimes they howl at a leaf blowing in the yard and I have to quiet them down. Having dogs makes having a baby a little more complicated, but I have to say it is worth it. We are now one big happy family.