Bringing a newborn home can inspire jealousy in your older children. It’s yet another adjustment for new parents, in addition to sleep deprivation, late-night feedings, and diaper changes—the things I’ve been posting about. Our oldest isn’t a child but an eighteen-year old mixed breed dog, named Chico.
Chico’s been like our child for many years, (don’t worry we’re not like the crazy woman who lives with 30 cats). Chico was a birthday gift to my sister-in-law Rose Marie. Taken from his mother when he was three weeks old, Esther became Chico’s mom, wrapping him in blankets when he was cold and feeding him from a bottle when he was hungry.
When Esther and I met Chico’s approval helped seal the deal. I liked him immediately because he didn’t think he’s a dog, he thought he was a person. We’ve taken him to family gatherings and on vacations to Cape Cod, Maine and Florida. I remember Esther instructing the maid in a boutique hotel in DC “scold him if he misbehaves.”
We were curious how Chico would behave when we brought Cristian home from the hospital—our friends were too. It was the most asked question after How’s the baby, and How are you sleeping?
Ignoring the baby Chico initially was upset with me—that baby was taking time usually devoted to him. I’d be giving the baby a bottle, and he would signal that he wanted a walk. When we to sleep the first night, he defiantly claimed a corner of our bed.
When friends came by to see the baby we put Cristian in front of him. He walked by him without acknowledging him. Poor dog, he had such a good life before we brought that baby home.
After a few weeks he realized he’d have to deal with it because the baby wasn’t going anywhere. Coming inside from walks, he would run up to Cristian, playing in his swing or watching Sesame Street and wag his tail at him, before running away.
When we put comforters on the floor for Cristian to roll on, Chico came over letting the baby pet him. He was good when the baby grabbed his chest hair or tried to squeeze one of his paws. For now the boys seemingly reached détente, although I still keep an eye on them to make sure Chico doesn’t hurt the baby. How will it be until we are protecting Chico from Cristian?