Having an infant in the house has brought forth a lot of changes. Out of everyone at Casa del Fartos, I’d say that as a mom, I’ve naturally had my world turned upside down more than anyone else. Baby cries? Everyone hands a crying baby to Mom. Baby sick? Mom is the one up with her all night, rocking her. Baby not going to sleep after being rocked for an hour? I’m the one sleeping in the rocking chair with her, as she gleefully whispers “Ahhh! Ahhh!” and plays with my face at 3AM. This is the definition of a sleepover when you’re 5 months old.
My husband and Mack would agree with me: Hubs, because admitting that I have it hardest is still easier than having to get up every night to feed the baby and Mack…..well, it’s not that he agrees, it’s just things really haven’t changed much for him. He laid around the house farting before the baby and continues to lay around the house farting now. “Oh, you had a baby? Right on. (ppppffftt).”
Peterbilt, however, would argue that his quality of life has gone down the shitter now that the baby absorbs our time, energy and attention.
Like most couples, you get a dog because you like dogs, you fully intend to take care of a dog and it’s good training for when you have kids, with all of the poo and vomit and eating of the vomit……wait……
And like most couples, we knew that getting a dog would mean that one day, this dog would take a backseat to future babies and kids. After all, if everyone who bought a dog didn’t have kids in fear of hurting their dog’s feelings, the human race would pretty much be wrapping shit up in a matter of generations. You just expect your dog will adjust to it eventually and just be happy with the larger family. Except that we picked out a Peterbilt, the most emo of all bulldogs.
It tugs at my conscience to see this bored, mopey looking bulldog sulking on our couch because now I only speak to him when I’m whisper-yelling “NO BARKING! BABY IS SLEEPING!” at him, usually followed up by me grumbling his eternal damnation when I hear the baby is awake in her crib.
So my days now go something like this: I get home from work and my husband is already there with Baby Peanut. I walk in the door, both bulldogs come to greet me. Then, Peter tears ass to his basket of toys, usually pulling out a rope to play with, and runs to me to play with him. This has always been this way; something about mom coming home that makes this dog’s heart sing.
I grab onto his toy and we play tug of war and catch a few times. Then Hubs comes at me holding out a wiggly baby, who’s reaching out for me. I drop the dog toy, take the baby, and Peter is left standing there with a look on his face that screams, “God DAMMIT!”
Playtime isn’t the only facet of Peter’s life that has taken a proverbial dump. Even his walks have turned to suck. Although I have now mastered walking with a baby stroller and a 90 lb clown on four legs, Peterbilt really wants to walk on wooded paths and terrain that isn’t easily navigable with a stroller. So he’s left to just doing that same old boring walk around the block at a snail’s pace with me and the stroller.
At home, when I’m on the floor trying to entertain an infant with one hand and playing with my iPhone in the other, I will catch Peter out of the corner of my eye, gloomily looking over, wishing he could play with his Mom. After all, I was his Mom first. Stupid baby and her awesome toys.
Meanwhile, baby is really getting good at her army crawl and is so excited to see and touch everything in sight, including the bulldogs. She’s their biggest fan.
While Mack is more than willing to let the baby pull at his ears and grab at his face (which I can tell you from experience, is quite painful), Peter will grumble and walk away when the baby touches his face, collapsing into his nearby dog bed with a heavy sigh.
Going through my pictures the other day, I was surprised at the amount of Peterbilt photobombs. For a dog who used to just HATE it when I took pictures of him, he now photobombs baby pictures in an attempt to get any kind of attention. “Look at me, everybody! I’m that cute, precocious bulldog with all of the health problems, remember? I eat left shoes? What did I get into now, right?!?!” Poor guy.
The following night, after two glasses of wine, I sat outside in a lawn chair despairing over Peterbilt’s quality of life. “What happens if he never grows to like Peanut? What about when we have more kids and even less time on our hands? Will we ever be able to provide this dog with the proper exercise, love and attention that he needs? Is this just temporary? God, I’m such a dick.” I walked over to Peterbilt, laying on his dog bed and gave him a hug. He grunted.
The next morning, the in-laws showed up to take our Peanut and spend a day doting on her with grandparenty love at their house. When I came home from work that afternoon, I was the first one home, for once. I fed the bulldogs, let them out and soon after Hubs showed up.
In laws texted me apologizing that they were going to be an hour late dropping Peanut off. I replied “DON’T APOLOGIZE.” Do you have any idea how much stuff I got done??!?! Do you know how hard it is to vacuum your house when you have a baby? There’s never a good time for that when the baby’s around.
Once they did arrive, they brought in Peanut in in her car seat, dropped her off in our kitchen, waved goodbye and took off right away. Peterbilt ran right over to Peanut, slobbered her face with kisses and ran to his toy basket to get that same rope. There he went, running all over the house, leaping and spinning. He ran to me with the rope in his mouth, stopped and went into a play bow.
“Well, shit.” I thought. So it wasn’t me coming home that made him happy after all. What made him happy was the pack being complete and totally accounted for. Peanut was the last member to arrive home and now that everyone was here, it was time to celebrate and play.
I did Peterbilt one better and took him outside in the backyard to play frisbee until he collapsed in exhaustion the cool, green grass. That is all any dog wants: to be exhausted.
I learned that even though Peterbilt still isn’t crazy about the change in our family dynamics, he still loves lil’ Peanut. It’s going to take some extra work (and caffeine) on my end to make sure Peter gets his time everyday. Hopefully, Peanut and Peterbilt will grow to be good friends.