She Says… Patience

It is amazing to me how much patience I have for Owen. Like, unending. Perhaps this, too, is a phase that I will grow out of — but for now, the little guy can do no wrong. I will rock him as long as he needs to be rocked to fall asleep, encourage him to eat when he is being pokey, try different positions endlessly when he is uncomfortable. It seems, though, that the more patience I have for him, the less I seem to have for others.

Namely, Schnitzel. And sometimes Benjamin.

Schnitzel was my first baby. Benjamin and I got him a few short months after we got married, and we became a happy family of three. He was 8 weeks old when we got him, and we went through many of the “new parent” duties like getting up in the middle of the night to pee, and listening to his sad little whimpers and cries for the first few nights that he was away from his family. We spent hours teaching him commands and how to walk on a leash (he’s now upwards of 80 pounds… it’s a darn good thing we taught him to be so well-behaved!). We walked him religiously and planned our Saturdays around trips to the dog park or hikes.

Now? Now it’s hard for me to even squeeze in our midday walk. I can’t really remember the last time I laid down on the floor with him and cuddled him (which used to happen almost every night, pre-baby). Don’t get me wrong — I still love him just as much. And I try. It’s just that it’s hard to fit it all in, and I think Schnitzel time has been replaced by (or at least bumped, for the time being) Owen time.

I find that I just don’t have patience with Schnitzel like I used to. The jingle of his collar is one of the only sounds that wakes Owen up, even from a deep sleep. So when he shakes his head and I’ve forgotten to take his collar off in the house, I want to scold him and yank it off — knowing full well that it’s not Schnitzel’s fault he made noise, but still wanting to take it out on the dog. Similarly, when he’s sniffing and licking Owen, I find myself saying “Ok, that’s enough” and pushing Schnitzel away without even really patting him myself. My brain knows that he’s just trying to sniff the baby and give him some love, but my limited patience sees it as annoying and bothersome. And on our walks, where I used to let Schnitzel wander around and sniff every bush, now I pull him along because if I stop walking, the baby sleeping in the Bjorn will wake up. Poor pup!

I always said that I wouldn’t be one of those people who ignored their pet as soon as their baby came along. And I’m not… today we went for an hour long walk, and I make a concerted effort to give him some love and attention at least once a day. But once a day is quite a downgrade from what he was enjoying before!

Anyone else feel like your patience runs thin for your four-legged babies as a result of the two-legged ones?

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20 responses to “She Says… Patience

  1. Kate a tip for you: we take a hair band and slide it down the dog collar, then twist it around the dog tags 3 times. It completely keeps the tags from dangling or jingling 🙂 If that doesn’t make since, let me know and I’ll snap a photo of it for you.

  2. YES. We had major issues with our cat when Eli came home. She was NOT okay with the new routine… though she had no problem with him. She is a rescue cat that we have had to work really hard with in order to discipline her – she is a very dominate animal – and we had made miles and miles of progress with her. When Eli arrived, we didn’t have the time or the patience that we had before. After a few rough weeks, we made an extra effort to stick to our discipline plan & our play routine and now she is better than ever!

  3. Everyone keeps telling us that our dogs are going to be second fiddle, but I’m really, really hoping that doesn’t happen. We both work from home, and they’re both small enough to sit on our laps even with a baby there, so we’ll see. If anything, I can always drop them off for a while with their grandfather who just can’t get enough of them ever!

  4. Yes, I agree completely! My dog used to run my life and now she’s taking a backseat to the baby. Don’t worry, as soon as Owen is old enough, he’ll give your pup plenty of attention 🙂

  5. Because of the dangling noise I got my 85 pound lab a collar from Cabela$ that has a nameplate riveted to it, leaving just the tag our city requires eliminating the noise from the tags clacking together.

  6. There are these neat little pouch things that attach to your dog’s tags to stop the jingling. I can’t remember the brand name, but it’s like a little soft canvas thing that completely eliminates the noise – we got one at our local pet store.

    I love my dog more than anything, so I fear a lot of these same things will happen to me. Luckily, we all can adjust, right?

  7. Two words: tag silencer! http://www.itzadog.com/quietspot.cfm
    My cousin had the same problem and got one of these and bingo, no noise!
    Our cats also have embroidered collars with our phone numbers on them should they go missing.

  8. We don’t have pets, but I know exactly what you mean about using all your patience on the baby, and losing it with others around you.

  9. I am about to have my first baby in December and currently have two high-maintenance labs. I worry every day how much I am going to neglect them! Let me know if you come up with any solutions. Just hoping this baby will be a deep sleeper!

  10. It has been a little while since I checked in cutie Kate. looooooved reading all of the stories about you and Benjamin and Owen in his first month. What a sweet little boy! You guys are a beautiful family—I mean, knockout gorgeous!–and it just warms my heart to see how happy you are. Loves sweet friend!!!

  11. Yes, my cat, Ditto, was my furry baby, and I use to let him lay on my lap and now I don’t so much. He sheds and I don’t want Samuel to get cat hair all over him. When I lay Sam down for a nap Ditto tries to come up to me (he used to lay on my chest when I would lay down). I just push him off and give him minimal affections anymore. When he’s at his grandma’s I try to give him some cuddle time and I get a lent roller use it to get the hair off.

    I can tell that he’s jealous of my son, but it’s been 7 months with all of us, and he seems to be getting better.

  12. Oh Kate. This post brought tears to my eyes. When I was pregnant with Lilly our black lab Asia got very ill and past away 3 weeks before Lilly was born. We were so broken hearted as was our yellow lab Ruddy. Our dogs were our babies and I knew everything they did and spent so much time with them. When we had Lilly and came home from the hospital, I woke up in a panic at 3:00 AM because I couldn’t remember if we had fed him. Like, at all, that entire day or the day before. We hadn’t … I felt like the worst doggie mom ever for quite some time. Ruddy still doesn’t get the kind of attention he used to get, especially from Jesse, but he is fine. I have no clue what will happen when Chloe arrives, I imagine more of the same neglect for a bit but we all bounce back. Your pup will be just fine and try not to beat yourself up. The best thing will be when Owen gets bigger and finds a friend in him. Lilly and Ruddy are buds and no one makes her laugh like he does. Good luck my friend!

  13. I have neither a dog nor a baby, but I suspect you are doing better than at least 50% of the people who go through the whole have-a-baby-neglect-the-pets thing just based on the fact that you recognize and admit it’s happening! I’m sure it’ll all balance out and that Schnitzel will still love you endlessly–especially when Owen gets big enough to play with him.

  14. I wonder if it’s really any different than having a second kid? Keeping toddlers quiet and trying to divide attention just seems so hard to me.

  15. Kate,
    I have been keeping up with your blog for a few months and love reading your posts! I was just a few weeks behind your pregnancy and am now the proud mother of an 11 day old boy myself! I can relate to almost every issue you have posted about especially this one. Our cat seems to be depressed ever since we have brought the baby home. I try to make a concentrated effort every other “nap time” for baby to spend at least 15-20 minutes cuddle/play time with our cat. She still seems to be kind of sad, but I hope she is coming around. I feel terrible that she is so sad but I keep thinking it will get better! Hang in there, your puppy knows you still love him!

  16. This is me with my 3 month old daughter Rylee and my almost 3 year old Boston Terrier Ellie. It’s starting to get better but it is still hard. Ellie flops her head down on her pillow in her depressed “hungry hippo’ pose daily and constantly brings me her toys in hopes that she might get 5 minutes of play. Ellie was totally our baby before Rylee and it saddens us that she’s been demoted. I just tell myself that it has been an adjustment for all of us including the dog and this is our new norm. We are starting to make more effort to give Ellie a little more love on a daily basis. But yes the patience wears thin…especially when the dog decides to escape under the fence or lick all the spit up off the baby, or try to pull laundry out of the basket …the list goes on. It’s a process…but it’s so cute to see them roll around on a blanket together and Ellie is the first one to run to Rylee when she cries or wakes from a nap. I think they’ll be the best of friends! My hope is that your two babies will also be the best of friends someday soon!

  17. Oh yeah that happens, but in a few more weeks when your life feels more settled, your love for your furry pet will return, don’t you worry.

    Now, after we put our 13 week old daughter to bed, I take our puppy and place her on my lap and pet her nonstop for a GOOD long while. It’s nice to have a completely quiet little something on your lap that doesn’t take too much attention…soon enough, you’ll find the silence and cuddleness of your pet refreshing, I promise!

  18. I don’t let our cats in our bedroom because the baby’s Pack N Play is in there and I’m worried they’ll step on her or wake her up. They also used to sleep with us, and we miss having them, but it isn’t worth the risks to let them in the room at night. They’ve taken to residing on the changing table and in the crib in the nursery … but the worst part is that they are pawing at the carpet outside of our bedroom door, as well as meowing and scratching at the door, every night. Our carpet is coming up, and it is driving me INSANE. I’m trying to not be too angry with them, but it is new carpet, and I really have no other option until we transition the baby in to the nursery. I feel bad that we don’t spend as much time playing with the cats, too, and they get really freaked out by the baby’s crying.

  19. Ohhh goodness. Let me reassure you – Schniztel is still living the good life! When we had our first baby last year, our dogs became OUTSIDE ONLY DOGS. How’s that for Worst Pet Owner Ever?? Actually, we bought and moved into our first home and that’s really when the dogs got kicked to the yard, but still. It was mostly because of the baby.

    (don’t worry, they have a huge yard, plenty of grass and shade and water and a dog house each. they’re living it up, only like dogs now instead of like people!)

  20. I think this happens to most pet owners who bring home new babies. I ignored my cat a bit more after my first baby came home. She got over it, but we obviously couldn’t snuggle as much as we used to. Sadly, the same thing happens with children – it’s hard to give a toddler your undivided attention when there’s a new baby in the house (which can be frustrating to both mom and toddler), and the new baby will hardly ever get anyone’s undivided attention if there’s a toddler around. It doesn’t mean they don’t feel loved, so don’t feel guilty! Things just shift around.

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