I wish that a lot of my friends had been right… that we’d bring baby girl home and Kafka would surprise us and behave wonderfully when he, our fur baby, our bulldog, met baby girl Hall. That’s not to say that he’s been terrible. It’s clear that the dog training we did helped a little, but it wasn’t nearly enough, and it’s been an enormous adjustment. Granted, having a baby is a huge change for us humans, so of course it’s going to be an adjustment for our fur kid, Kafka the bulldog, too. Still, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it’s been stressful.
Just over two weeks ago, we brought baby girl, hereby also referred to as DD (dear daughter; yep, I’m picking up on the mommy blogging lingo), home. We did what everyone told us to do. Kafka got a good whiff of her long before she came home from the hospital (but apparently, according to my father-in-law, he couldn’t care less about the blanket that smelled like her). My husband went in the door first and spent some time with him. Then I went in by myself while my mom hung out with baby girl in the car, so Kafka got some time with both of us.
And then we brought in baby girl. He was curious… or, I should say, overly curious. And he hasn’t stopped being overly curious. If he’s given the opportunity, he tries to nose and sniff her, which makes us nervous. But that’s not the only reason we’ve been nervous…. He’s jumped at her too. At her little feet while we’ve held her (but mostly when others hold her -- protective instinct, maybe?). And then in one horribly frightening moment, her head while I was nursing.
I hate even writing this frankly, which is why I’ve probably been putting it off (that, and well, you know figuring out this whole amazing -- but tiring -- parenting thing). I so wanted things to be different. I so wanted them to be easier. Becoming a new parent is hard enough; as our pediatrician says, the first few weeks, you’re just in survival mode.
But, really? I just wanted to trust him a bit more. I know no one should ever totally trust their dog with their kids. In other words, even if he was incredibly well behaved, I would never have left Kafka alone in a room with her. But it would be nice to be able to put DD in one of her rockers while Kafka is in the same room. Because if we do now? He makes a beeline for her, because he wants to nose at her again. And again, I simply don’t trust him. But putting him behind a gate every time I set her down? It’s getting tiring -- and we’re already tired from sleepless nights!
So hubby and I have made a decision, something we should have done long before baby girl even got here. We’re getting a dog trainer. We’re not getting rid of him, something I know other people would disagree with. But we made a promise to him when we first picked him up when he was a mere puppy. He’s our forever dog, and we will do everything we possibly can to make this work.
After saying all this, I do want to end on a positive note. As soon as we realized how anxious our squeaking (and sometimes fussy, crying) daughter makes our pooch, we made some new rules. He’s no longer allowed on the couch unless given express permission by us; he’s already picked up on this surprisingly quickly. He’s also no longer allowed in her room -- something that we’re working on. And he’s no longer allowed to tug us out the door on walks, to name a few, of many, things.
He’s also gotten pretty darn good, I must say, at the command “go to your bed” (now he just needs to stay there instead of coming over to check things out when we set her down).
He's also had some pretty sweet moments with her too... but mainly when he's just about to fall asleep or he's just waking up. And, something we adore? He’s the official dirty diaper sniffer! If she has a dirty diaper, he’s been known to stick his nose up at a certain angle and give a big audible whiff, just in case we didn’t realize she had a full diaper.
Even so, we need help. We need a better plan of action for his dog training, and we need it in place now.
Because really, my love for both of them is immeasurable. My sweet little girl makes me smile more and more day after day, and I hate that Kafka has been stressing me out more than anything, because I know he can be good. I know he can be one of her first friends. But it’s just taking him longer than I’d like to adjust to this new life.
Here's hoping my next post will be more positive!
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