It finally happened. On Sept. 21, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, and short of a few exceptionally exhausting nights, I’ve enjoyed every minute with him.
Most people would probably agree that it’s normal for new parents to be a little nervous about bringing their bundle of joy home for the first time. There are so many unanswered questions that can scare a person silly: Will I be able to handle all those late-night feedings? Will I figure out how to interpret his cries? What if I do something wrong?
It’s understandable; newborns seem so darn fragile that it’s a wonder when you realize you won’t break them.
But one of my biggest concerns when bringing Gus home was how another member of our family would react to his presence. No, I’m not referring to a big brother or sister. I’m talking about Daisy, my husband and I's 3-year-old pit bull.
You see, Daisy was our first “child.” We adopted her about a year ago when her first owners simply couldn’t keep her anymore, and she’s been a fantastic dog.
Daisy is the anti-stereotype of her breed. The only aggression she has ever displayed has been directed at the squirrels in our backyard and her squeaky toys. If a stranger broke into our house, she would probably lick them to death. She’s great at cuddling. And best of all, she functions as an all-purpose kitchen appliance: vacuum cleaner, garbage disposal and a pre-rinse cycle for the dishwasher.
In short, she’s the perfect pet, and she became a part of our family very quickly.
Nobody said a word about my husband and me adopting a pit bull until we started telling people that I was pregnant. That’s when I realized just how easily people’s prejudices come into play, especially since pit bulls have been given a bad reputation.
Certain family members were the first to object. They were convinced that Daisy would hurt the baby or better yet, “chew the baby’s face off.” We were met with skepticism by some of our acquaintances. One even had the nerve to say, “Oh God, you’re going to raise a child around that dog?”
Well, Daisy, the vicious killer that she is, somehow managed to restrain her violent pit bull tendencies when we brought my son home. She was merciful and decided not to chew his face off. She still attacked him though … with her tongue.
Yep. We made a habit of lowering the baby to Daisy’s level periodically, so she could sniff him and get used to him. As soon as the opportunity arose, Daisy struck. Gus’ little head was within reach and out came the tongue. A few slurps later, my adorable son had a shiny new bald spot on top of his head.
My murderous pit bull had licked the newborn baby fuzz right off him. The poor kid looked like a bewildered old man. At that moment, we knew we had nothing to worry about, except for maybe more premature hair loss.
I try to keep my son’s head away from Daisy’s slurper these days. It’s been seven weeks, and Gus’ hair is just starting to grow back. I’d like to give it some time to get good and established before subjecting him to that kind of abuse again.
But I’ll tell you what, once my son starts eating solid foods, I just might have the ideal job for Daisy. Provided she can keep her killer instincts in check, I think cleanup duty would suit her perfectly. Spaghetti sauce won’t stand a chance against her tongue, and since she’s basically a Hoover on four legs, she won’t mind the job.
Heck. I’ll have the cleanest kid in town.
Jen Russell is a night news editor at the Missourian. When she’s not being chewed on by her dog, she welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.