Friday, July 13, 2012

Hey, Jealousy

Hello again, world.  So, after the birth of our first child, Grace, four months ago, my brain has finally emerged from the haze of sleep deprivation enough to consider writing.  Still, as anyone who has experienced parenthood knows, life with a newborn is life lived in fragment sentences.  Literally and figuratively.  Laundry goes unfolded, showers get cut short, dinner gets half-cooked...  And that’s why it’s taken me weeks to write this, my first postpartum entry (not kidding, and much longer if you consider how long I’ve been thinking about writing it).        

Exhibit A
There's a lot I could say about these past four months, but one of the most frequent questions we get asked is, “How does Izzy do with the baby?”  To answer this, I give you Exhibit A: the picture to the right.  In the image, Grace is a few weeks old and is wearing an “I love Izzy” onesie, a custom gift from a good friend (shout out, Jenny K!).  Adorable, right?  But what’s even more adorable is that Izzy is licking her pudgy little cheek as Grace holds Izzy’s chin in her hand.  Upon first glimpse, anyone would let out an instant “Awwwww,” thinking that the two are already BFF’s.  But it’s the story behind the picture, the fact that Izzy would barely stay on the couch long enough for the photo or that there was a large amount of treats involved, that reveals the true answer.
You see, from Izzy’s perspective, she came home four months ago from a week at her favorite doggy paradise, Greyland, only to find that her world had been turned upside down.  Her room had been rearranged—most notably Her Couch moved—to accommodate some kind of holding device for a small, wiggly creature who made an awful lot of high-pitched noises and who, for whatever reason, Mom and Dad could not stop holding or staring at.  That was just the beginning of the neglect.  If and when she did get taken on a walk, she had to trot beside a device with wheels that for some reason couldn’t go in the grass and let her chase every squirrel and scent she desired.  And playing with the screaming monkey after 8:00 at night?  Forget it.  That might wake The Creature.  For the same reason, late-night snuggle sessions on Her Couch, which now shared the room with That Thing, promptly came to a close.  She quickly figured out that her best strategy for getting a little rubdown or pat on the head was to plant her 65-pound self in the middle of every pack of visitors that came to the apartment.  And if she was especially desperate, let the endless whining commence.

So I guess you could say that Izzy has reacted the way any “first child” does when the new baby comes home: insanely jealous.  Don’t be fooled by that picture.  Adorable as it is, it's a product of luck and jerky bites.

Back when I was still pregnant, people would ask if we were going to get rid of our dog when the baby came.  I was always shocked when I got the question, but now that I’ve been in the trenches for a while, I understand it.  Dog ownership, like everything else in your world, changes when you become a parent. No question about it.  There’s only so much of your time and energy to go around, and if you care at all about your dog, a constant cloud of guilt about neglecting your beloved animal will hover over you.  But don’t worry.  We’re definitely not getting rid of our sweet greyhound.  In fact, she’ll be getting a yard of her own when we move into a house next month, and hopefully, another greyhound friend will join the family soon to keep her company.  We’re hoping these changes will take the edge off of her jealousy and boredom while we all get adjusted to this new life.  In the meantime, when we’re not cleaning bottles, washing burp rags, or bouncing our baby to sleep (yes, she has to be bounced to sleep on an exercise ball, but that’s a whole different blog), we try to give our attention-starved dog a little love each night with a game of hide-and-seek or a belly rubbing session.

I’m still not giving up on the vision of our daughter and Izzy becoming buds one day, running around the yard and getting into all sorts of human-canine trouble.  And who knows?  Maybe eventually, I’ll be able to take a picture of the two of them together, no treats necessary.    

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