Looking through my Facebook memories recently, I’ve been struck at how my posts have changed over the years. Before I had my first child, I posted about Kafka the bulldog a LOT. In fact I used to have a whole Facebook photo album devoted to him (similar to this blog it was aptly called “the world according to Kafka.”)
I documented everything about his life with us, just like I do now with my two kids. But the last photo post to that album? July 2013. And we had my first child in 2014.
Our relationship to Kafka has changed in ways that I could expect, but also largely in ways I couldn’t with life after kids. Part of me feels guilty about it too… in ways he was our “first kid,” our “fur kid” as we still call him. He’s still a very important part of our family, but he gets far less attention from me and my husband than he used to (on Facebook and in real every day home life too).
Other things have changed too. He’s become more anxious; he has zero other dog friends now since he thinks he needs to protect the kids from them all. He’s still as crazy as he’s ever been with how he runs around randomly and he can be, let’s say, overly friendly to certain people. As for day to day life, his “schedule” of eating has changed based on when I’m feeding the kids too. (Literally all 3 of them eat at the same time now). He lives in the kids’ world, and that has been the biggest adjustment for him. His kennel has become his safe space now too; when the kids get too overwhelming, he walks right into his kennel to get a break.
Even so, I like to think he’s pretty happy most days. His role in the family may have changed, but he also has more play mates, ones he cares about more than I could have ever even hoped for. He’s finally accepted he’s not “alpha” in the house. He defers to both kids in so many ways… even little mister at 1 years old can fill the dog’s food bowl, and Kafka will sit there patiently waiting for him to be done! And little miss can get the soccer ball away from him, something my husband and I never had much luck at.
In fact, while he still is very good at driving me nuts — he destroyed our last couch, for one — the kids constantly remind me how much he’s a part of the family. They both call him “Kaka” and I know I’ll be sad the day that they start pronouncing the “f.” They both love asking him for his paw, and think it’s hysterical when Kafka rolls around in the grass or chases and catches bubbles. He’s helped us teach little guy how to be “gentle” with his hands. As little miss too has been saying lately, “Kafka is my protector.” And he is, 100%. He would do anything for our kids, and for that I’m supremely thankful.
How did life with your dog or pet change after you had kids?