Last Monday, at 7:01 PM, I gave birth to the little dude shown above (the one with less fur and cute socks). While I was completely and utterly stoked to finally meet Fynn I was worried about our return home. With an 8 month old puppy waiting, I was a wee bit anxious about what Milo’s reaction would be to suddenly no longer being our one and only son (sorry Gizmo, you’re more like a roommate).
Before the big arrival I had read tips and suggestions for preparing pets for a new (human) addition and followed some of the advice given. We got everyone acclimated to regular nail trims, Milo went through some rigorous training (though we soon learned his “off” and “leave it” cues were a tad subpar), friends brought over their kids, and all the baby stuff came to the house a month early so everyone could get used to the new furniture, blankets, changing pads, etc.
Once Fynn was born, Bruce brought home the hat our newborn wore post delivery so everyone could get used to the smell.
Now, get ready for mega awww moment.
That night, when Bruce got into bed, Milo grabbed the hat from the bedstand and placed it between Bruce and where I normally sleep. Are you dying? I was when Bruce told me the next morning.
The one thing I didn’t do was play sounds of babies crying on the stereo to get the kits and pup used to the sound. I just couldn’t bear trying to work while a baby cried through my computer speakers. Sure I was going to have to hear those heartbreaking sounds at some point, but why jumpstart the pain? Well, my mistake.
Soon after Fynn and I came home from the hospital, Fynn began to cry. Milo just about had an anxiety attack as he ran around the house whining and yelping as if the house were on fire. One thing that will make you want to blow your brains out is the sound of your child crying and your dog yelping. As soon as I took Fynn out of the car seat and into my arms to be soothed, Milo frantically jumped all over me to see what it was that was in such distress. I seriously thought this was going to be my life.
A few hours later, after everyone had settled down slightly, I had come up with a plan. We had to start training Milo right away, teaching him that remaining calm during baby cries was a good thing. Freaking out was not. I grabbed the string cheese from the fridge and began positive reinforcement anytime he didn’t react to a Fynn sound — gurgle, sneeze, sudden testing of his vocal chords, and crying. By that evening, Milo was no longer whimpering when Fynn made his presence known, though he was still running up to the crib and trying desperately to get a glimpse at what it was that was stirring.
It took only a few more days to have Milo completely relax to the idea of Fynn. He still gets excited during nursing (I think that has more to do with the smell of food than anything else) and is eager to lick Fynn any chance he can get, but I no longer feel like he’s going to clobber the poor boy. I’m sure, as Fynn grows, we’ll hit some bumps in the road, so if you have advice on how to keep the peace between dog and little man please let me know. I promise I won’t ignore the suggestions this time.