one thing we were a little worried about during the pregnancy was how our dog, pickles, would react to have a new baby in the house. we took a few precautions before the baby came home and everything has worked out wonderfully.
first, julia and i tortured our little puppy for months. we tugged on his ears, tail, the hair on his face, poked at him, prodded him, etc. we did everything that we could think a baby/infant/toddler would do. heck, when he was eating i’d crawl over to his dish and shove my hands in his way to see if he’d get food aggressive. to our pleasant surprise, pickles never reacted in an aggressive way to anything. pretty much he just took a step back and looked a little sad.
the second thing we did to help prepare him was bringing home nathaniel’s cap and receiving blanket from the night he was born. when i came home with them, pickles smelled the hat first and then moved on to the blanket. as an added touch, i put the blanket up on the bed with us as we slept that night. when i woke up in the morning, pickles was no longer curled up beside me, but sleeping on the receiving blanket, which he had bunched up at the foot of the bed. our dog is awesome.
lastly, on the tuesday afternoon when julia and nathaniel left the hospital, julia went into the house to see pickles by herself. since he hadn’t seen her in a few days, we figured it was better to let him get his crazy jumping and barking out of the way before the baby comes in. julia then brought him outside where i was waiting with our baby so he could give him a little sniff and see what’s what. pickles was a little bit frightened of the car seat, so he approached timidly, but once he smelled nathaniel, everything was alright.
we all went into the house together to show pickles that nathaniel is a new member of our little pack. after the initial excitement wore off, pickles started to settle into his new role as the big brother.
the first time julia went to nurse nathaniel, pickles went a little bit crazy. julia was sitting in her nice glider with the baby and pickles wanted nothing more than to be on her lap as well. after about 20 minutes of barking, he finally started to calm down. well, he calmed to the point of not barking, but instead he decided to pace around julia in that frantic way dogs like to do when something is bothering them.
after that experience traumatized our dog for the rest of his life, or so we thought, we had no idea what to expect the first time nathaniel went into one of those fantastic newborn crying fits. pretty much as we expected, that first night when nathaniel woke us around 1:30am pickles was beside himself on our bed. he had no idea what was going on or what he should do. all he knew was there was some foreigner in his house and he didn’t like the noises he was making. around 4am when nathaniel was up again, after changing his diaper, i came back into the bedroom to lay down with pickles while julia fed the baby. this strategy worked out perfectly, as he just flopped back down and went to sleep after a quick peek around.
on wednesday, everything fell into place nicely as pickles grew into his role of nathaniel protector. it is now not an uncommon sight when julia is nursing to see pickles laying at her feet or even sitting next to her on the couch. always watching, keeping himself ready to bark at anyone who comes into our house to let them know that this baby is his, and you’re going to have to go through him first if you even think you are going to get to sneak a peak at nathaniel.
more to come on the first week home later.