Hi. My name is Kitty. I’m a Mini-Schnauzer, and I’m three and a half years old – which is nearly 25 in dog years. Basically, I’m a grown-up, and I know a thing or two, but what I thought I knew about life got turned upside down a few weeks ago when mom and dad brought home a really tiny person. Her name is Peanut. Things have been pretty weird ever since.
This has been pretty rough on me. For starters, I haven’t slept a full night since she got here. Every time one of my parents gets up to feed the baby, I am forced to get up as well. You might be thinking, “They force you to get up with them?” but it’s more a “I need to know (and see firsthand) their whereabouts at all times.” If I know one is in the bedroom, then I have to follow the other one to make sure they don’t leave the house and abandon me. That’s when I’m saddest, when they ‘bandon me and I’m alone in this big house. Horrible thoughts race through my head the entire time, like “What if they never come home?” and “What if they forget about me?” What’s worse, when they’re gone, the cats don’t even care. They wake up, see Mom and Dad aren’t around, shrug, and go back to sleep. Anyway, when Mom or Dad gets up in the middle of the night, I have to make sure they’re not stealing away.
When I see they’re just grabbing the little noisemaker, I usually just lay on the back of the couch or next to Mom’s recliner—dad even lets me on the recliner with him—while they feed Peanut. But the problem is: I’m awake. When it’s 3am I should be asleep, but I’m not. So I’m forced to nap most of the day to make up for it. I think I have gained weight because of my new daily inactivity, but I can’t help it.
Speaking of feeding, I don’t really get it. I remember being a tiny little pup myself, and I had like six or seven brothers and sisters. When it was time to eat, mom would lay on her side and we’d shove one another for space. There was always enough to go around; everyone ate. But here there’s only one baby, and two whole boobs just for her. Worse, she gets fussy and pushes off when she doesn’t like one! She gets to demand the other side! I think it’s pretty selfish. I never got a choice; I had to take what I could get.
Every few days, after she eats, Peanut spits up so much that Mom and Dad don’t want to put her back in the crib. They say they want to make sure she gets through everything OK, without choking, so they lay down on the couch and put Peanut on their chest, and then that’s how they sleep. I usually jump up there, too, even though there’s not much room, and lately one of the cats has been joining the party when it’s me, Peanut, and Dad. When this happens at 3am, Mom usually wakes up hours later to find Dad staring at the ceiling and muttering “swears,” which she tells him not to do in front of Peanut.
At some point every day, Mom sits on the floor of the living room next to a black backpack and hooks it up to her boobs. I’m not sure how it works, but when she’s done, the milk from her body is in two small containers. I always try to drink the milk and lick the funnels, but Mom always pushes me away. The other night, when she was finished “pum-ping” (what she calls it), she had to tend to the baby in the other room and left the containers unattended. I knocked one over right onto her laptop. She wasn’t too happy with me. Luckily she got it cleaned up before it did any damage. But I only spilled a little! Sheesh.
My favorite part about the new baby is the poop. Me? I love poop. I used to think goose or cat poop was the best thing ever, but that was before Peanut came along. Mom’s breast milk is pretty awesome, so it follows that the breast-milk-poop is really awesome. Once, Peanut pooped all over herself. I don’t really understand what happened, because I have to go outside to empty my bowels, but she just went all over her little baby clothes without a care in the world. It was like a poop explosion! Mom stripped her down and wrapped her in a towel, then just gave her a bath in the baby tub. But she left the door to baby’s room open, so I went in and tipped over the hamper and pulled out the poopy clothes. I thought Mom would be happy, because I licked all the poo off the baby’s dirty clothes so she wouldn’t have to wash them, but she wasn’t happy at all. She even yelled at me! So unfair!
Another time, Dad had Peanut on the floor and was playing with her. Something strange was going on; Peanut kept making this noise with her butt, and when she did, I could smell the poop I love so much, but I couldn’t find it. And the smell kept coming and going, too. It was such a strange pattern: noise, air smells like poop, but there’s no poop, and then the smell went away, like there had never been any poop to begin with. But then there would be another noise, and the poop smell would be back! It was so confusing. I kept sniffing on Peanut where I thought the poop was, and Dad kept laughing. He said Peanut was like “A big-rig truck driver after a Mexican dinner.” I don’t know what that meant, but it made Mom roll her eyes.
Lack of sleep aside, the biggest effect Peanut has made is on my preferred form of self-expression. Anyone who knows mini schnauzers knows we’re what’s called “a vocal breed,” which is a nice way of saying that we bark. A lot. We have our territory, and we bark at anyone who looks threatening and tries to venture onto it. Mailmen, UPS drivers, small children, mothers pushing strollers… I’ll bark at all of ‘em, just watch. Mom never seemed to like my barks before, but ever since Baby came, now I only get to bark a few times at a threat before I get shushed. Dad used to be more tolerant, and would sometimes even help! We had a game, where Dad would excitedly say, “Get ‘em!” and then I’d run around the house looking out windows barking at whoever was out there. But now, I guess the baby can’t sleep through the noise, and Mom and Dad are always telling me to keep it down. I think Peanut should just learn to deal, but I’m just the dog. My opinion isn’t tops in this house.
I can tell that Mom and Dad are rookie parents; they make some pretty beginner mistakes. The other day we went on a walk, me and Mom and Dad and the baby. I had a friend along, too, the neighbor dog Jack. We were babysitting him, but don’t tell him that. He thinks he was just hanging out with us.
Once we got going, I could smell right away that the baby had pooped—I mean, come on, it’s my favorite thing, remember?—but Mom and Dad couldn’t figure it out. Peanut was fussing and fussing didn’t stop, no matter what Mom did. She was cooing, continually giving Peanut a pacifier, but nothing worked. Finally we stopped walking, and Mom lifted baby out and saw the poop was everywhere. Another poo explosion! But rut-ro, they didn’t think to bring a spare diaper just in case. I excitedly offered to clean her up—I hopped up on my back legs trying to get at the poop on the blanket and car seat and Peanut—but to my annoyance, they didn’t want my help. (Pfft. Losers.) They got Baby half naked and wiped most of the poo away with a rag, but by then she was hungry. Mom had to sit down under a tree alongside the walking trail and pull out a boob right out in the open. I could tell she was stressed. But my mom used to give us milk in public too. I didn’t know what the big deal was. Like I already said: my mom had eight boobs, not two! And she didn’t cover up any of them.
All in all, this baby business isn’t so wonderful right now. Peanut is really cute, but she doesn’t pay any attention to me at all. She can’t even pet me! She just flails her arms and if I’m lucky she accidentally smacks me on the beard. Sometimes I play-bite at her arms or legs, but that makes Mom angry. Dad doesn’t seem to mind as much, because it’s so obvious I’m not actually biting her, but even he shakes his head and says “No, buddy. No.”
I have heard from some guys at the dog park that it’s only bad like this for a little while. Then she’ll start going to bed earlier, and sleeping through the night, so my parents will be well rested and be able to play with me more.
And it’s not like Mom and Dad ignore me; Dad is trying really hard to make sure that I still get as many snuggles as I did before they brought the baby home. He cuddles with me at bedtime, which is nice because he likes having the window open. In September, that means it’s cold at night, so his body heat is pretty awesome. Mom tries to cuddle, too, but she has the baby in her arms more often right now, so she can’t always do both. She scratches my belly with her feet sometimes when the baby is attached to her. I can tell she’s trying, but we’re all a little short on sleep. It’s hard to get up the energy to scratch me under the chin when all Mom wants to do is rest. Sometimes I have to paw at her to remind her I still need pets, but mostly I try to understand what’s going on. Mom does still takes me on long walks every day (except now I have to watch out for the stroller’s wheels, so I don’t walk in front of them). And Mom still tells me all the time how much she loves me!
I gotta be honest though, I can’t wait for Baby to get older. Once she can crawl and walk, we are going to have so much fun together. She’s going to be my new best friend, and I’m going to take care of her. I’ll teach her how to eat stuff off the floor, to stay away from sprinklers, to terrorize the cats, not to go near cars, and how to drink from the toilet.
After all, I love my Mom and Dad more than life itself, and this baby is half Mom and half Dad – what more could I ask for in a younger sister?
(Cowriting credits on this blog go to my husband, who along with me, helped to translate Kitty’s perspective into English. :-))