By NICOLE FABIAN-WEBER
Hey buddy. How you doin’? I like your haircut. I know I used to be against bandanas after a trip to the groomer, but I’ll make an exception this time. One, because it’s cute with the little doggies on it (very meta). And two, because — well, I just don’t care about your personal style as much as I once did.
You can say it; it’s true. After having a (real) baby, I’ve become a deadbeat dog mum.
They tried to warn me, but I didn’t listen. I even swore to you during the very last weeks of my pregnancy that it wouldn’t happen. And I didn’t think it would! I thought I’d be different. I thought we were different. Remember when I was decorating your sister’s nursery and I put you in the crib and took pictures and texted them them to people? That seems like another life. I never take photos of you anymore. It’s all baby, all the time. (But to be totally forthcoming, this bandana’s upped the ante a bit.)
You secretly hate me a little bit lately. I know it. Your eyes that were once limpid pools have recently taken on a resemblance to Macaulay Culkin’s in The Good Son. And what’s more unsettling is, on occasion, your displeasure with me appears to be turning into apathy — and I don’t like that. Everybody knows the opposite of love is apathy, not hate. I don’t like it when you bark (and bark and bark and bark and bark) at me when I’m on the floor playing with your sister, or when you disobey me and sit on those nice, clean Aden + Anais swaddling blankets we’re laying on, but there’s something slightly (slightly) comforting about you doing those things. Like, I know you’re okay.
I pretty much step over you when I come home now, too. Sorry about that. You don’t know this, but I used to text the dogwalker when I was at work sometimes to see how you were doing. Now I don’t even think of you when I’m out of the house! (I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, but I’m on a roll here — this is cathartic, don’t you think?) When I walk in the door, I just want to (pee and then) get to your sister. She needs me more than you do right now. You had three blissful years of undivided attention with your father and me. It’s her turn now. I know you don’t like this reality, but can you at least understand it?
Your walks are abbreviated too now. I apologize. Unless of course we’re walking with your sister, in which case they’re longer and more leisurely than ever before. So … there’s that?
Look, buddy. I still love you. I know I don’t show it much these days, but you’ve gotta trust me: I do. And while we’re getting everything out in the open, I just want to say — please don’t get mad at your sister for this. It’s not her fault everyone’s obsessed with her. It’s mine and your father’s. For creating something so cute. Oh, and I know I’ve never said anything to you before, but I really do appreciate your remaining docile when she “pets” you via pulling your fur. Way to be a team player.
I don’t say it often, but you’re a good boy, Onion. I could do without the blood-curdling yapping every time the doorbell rings, but nonetheless, you’re a good boy. And no matter what, you’ll always be my first “baby.”
Love, Mom (if you’ll still call me that)
You can also read a post about feeling guilty leaving work for your kid and learn how to potty train your toddler in a weekend.
Nicole is mom to a 5-month-old girl, and a 4-year-old shih tzu. Wife to a 33-year-old man.She’s blogged for a bevy of websites; written essays for McSweeney’s and Hackwriters; and worked on a ton of sitcoms.
Did your pet take a back seat after having a baby?