Before I begin this post, let me first admit and acknowledge that I am an overly emotional woman in the last three weeks of my pregnancy. Also, I was born to a woman who was raised Catholic and a Jewish father. So, yes. Guilt is in my genes. These last couple months I have been plagued with an enormous amount of it, mostly related to our dog.
I know it sounds insane, but Rocky has been our baby for the past four years. We adore him. Our lives revolve around him. We think everything he does is the cutest thing in the world and worthy of a million photos. The other day my sister accused me of "baiting and switiching" with our online photo albums. We always title them with something exciting-"pregnancy" "Thanksgiving at the Lake house" "Our trip to Morocco"--but, in fact, there are maybe three photos relating to the title and probably 42 relating to the dog. Watch Rocky sleep! Look how cute he is when we stand him up! See him in his sweater! look how he cuddles on the bed! There is no end to the cuteness that is our dog. We revolve around his walks, where he is, when we can cuddle him. He is the man of the house in every way and he knows it. So when my friend E shook her head when she was at my house the other day and said, "this dog has no idea what he is in for," she was so right.
The baby kicks Rocky when he is on my lap, but he has yet to notice. Occassionally I think it is starting to dawn on him that things are changing, but he has no idea just how much. And I am wracked with guilt over it. He was a rescue dog, a little chi-min-pin mix who nobody wanted because he barks so much. We adore him despite his doggie non grata status at the homes of many of our friends and family thanks to a number of behavioral issues. I know he is not the best behaved dog, but he was abused! We have taken him to training and he does listen to us. But he will always have a few tendencies that are just annoying. Nevertheless, we adore him.
I have heard the stories about how the dog suddenly takes the back seat. When we first brought Rocky home, I never thought I could love any creature as much as I loved Melvin. But my feelings for my portly cat changed when faced with such a love bug dog. It is not that I don't love the cat. I still do. But Rocky goes so perfectly with our family with his high strung, anal personality and penchant for non-stop attention. It is hard to not give 99% of ourselves to him. So how will he react to this new baby? Will my feelings change? Will I love him less? I can't imagine it and I feel so sick at the thought, but we are talking about a human being created from the two of us versus a dog. Realistically, how could my feelings stay the same?
The other day I was listening to "Puff the Magic Dragon" and its lyrics spoke to my situation:
"Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called honah lee,
Little jackie paper loved that rascal puff,
And brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff.
Together they would travel on a boat with billowed sail
Jackie kept a lookout perched on puffs gigantic tail,
Noble kings and princes would bow wheneer they came,
Pirate ships would lower their flag when puff roared out his name.
A dragon lives forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys.
One grey night it happened, jackie paper came no more
And puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.
His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain,
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane.
Without his life-long friend, puff could not be brave,
So puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave."
(DISCLAIMERr: I am well aware of the ALLEGED metaphorical meaning of 'puff' but I am speaking strictly of the literal. I have no guilt about outgrowing the other magic dragon)
So now every time I see Rocky, I think of that song. Maybe it has to do with my own psychology as an oldest child. I know the way a cute little baby takes over. But my guilt has become so bad that I have a hard time looking at him without crying. I know. Tell me I am nuts. It's ok. But how could I ever deny this face my full attention?