Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Baby Sounds Abound

A couple of years ago some friends of mine introduced me to a site called The images on that site were a particular favorite of my friend Steve who used them in his battle for supremacy, or just survival, as the lone male in a group of female friends. Those of you who read Anny Cook or Sandra Cox’s blogs will also be familiar with this website as Anny in particular often posts pics from it. As I scanned it today I found a couple of pics that were too good to pass up and fit well with the events of my life of late.

The first one is called I Hope You Kept the Receipt. As anyone who pops by here regularly knows, we are having our first baby. We are not unfamiliar with the patter of little feet in our house, it’s just that up to now they’ve mostly been of the four footed or pawed variety. As the birth gets closer we’ve been contemplating just how we anticipate the four dogs who share our home will respond. We’ve heard lost of stories about, and seen plenty of animals at shelters because, the new baby and the pets just didn’t mesh. When it’s an issue of allergies, that’s unpredictable and tragic.

Here is how we anticipate things. Our Brittany, George, will simply look at the baby and walk away. He has no concept of pack order other than that I am the alpha and shows no interest in anything besides food, sleeping in his crate, pointing things in the backyard and occasional pets from the momma. Our Cavalier, Gracie, we foresee being her usual happy, cheerful self and trying to lick the poor babe unrelentingly. The dachshund, Wendell, will most likely be rather nervous and run about squeaking at it. It is our cocker spaniel, Shiloh, that we are most worried about. Shiloh sees her pack in the following order: Momma, Shiloh, and everyone else. She has her space on the couch next to momma and heaven help you if you’re in it. She has to sleep in the momma’s bedroom or she will bark and howl all night. Shi is on medication for separation anxiety and has significant problems with it.

We were reading the books and looking for ways to introduce the baby to the dogs. We ran across the usual advice such as bringing home a blanket that smells like the baby a day or so before baby comes home and let them smell it and get used to it. Another site suggested momma sleep with the receiving blanket one night and wrap the baby in it so the baby’s scent becomes mixed with momma’s. But it was the CD that we found in our local PetSmart that caught our eye the most.

The CD has baby sounds on it. The sounds range from soft cooing to baby talk to crying to a full blown tantrum. The idea is that you play this at increasing volumes while petting and talking to your pet so that they get used to the sounds and aren’t distressed by them. Since we love our dogs and see them as our children as well, we made a lifetime commitment to them when we adopted them, we were willing to give it a try.

Sunday night I put my laptop in the baby’s crib (which I have to remember not to call its crate or people look at you funny) and played the CD. As expected George totally ignored it and laid on the floor waiting for his Mom to rub his stomach. Gracie is mostly deaf. She can hear lower registers and feel vibrations from claps or bangs. The baby’s noises were too high for her and she had no idea what was going on, just that they had finally been allowed to sniff out the baby room. Shiloh barked a bit at first but then settled down and seemed ignore the sounds and enjoyed playing with her pack and checking out the room.

It was my dachshund who had the most profound response. Wendell ran semi circles around the crib whimpering and whining. He tried repeatedly to climb the crib sides and get to whatever was so upset. We have no sheets on the crib yet, so I lifted him up and let him investigate the inside. (Yes, I later wiped it down.) He ran back and forth and finally fixated on one of the hippo decals on the wall. He growled at it and barked at it, keeping himself between the crying laptop and the hippo. I think he believed that whatever was wrong, it was Mr. Hippo’s fault.

The experience was reassuring and amusing for the most part. Wendell and momma will be repeating the exercise until he settles down a bit about the sounds. Oh, the nursery is done. I finally finished the curtains, which I sewed by hand and have only the quilt (which you can’t really use anyway) left to do. I’d post pictures but it’s really very simply done and my batteries just died on my digital camera.

Writing wise, I want to thank everyone who made Lover’s Stone such a well received book. I recently saw my sales figures and was so wonderfully surprised and pleased. Thank you all. I really am still in awe that anyone wants to read my stories and even more flabbergasted that people are willing to buy them. The final book in the Ursine trilogy, Soul Stone, will be released November 19th (my birthday and just a few days before Smudgie will be making his appearance). There will be a contest to go along with it featuring a pendant and earrings as a prize. Soul Stone is not a “Jewel” but it does feature a stone just as the other two did. This time an opal, as when I was writing it I had anticipated it to be an October Jewel. However, Tarris—our hero—was not going to be satisfied with the shorter word count required by the Jewels and demanded his own full-length novel.

Be sure to check out Amarinda Jones, Anny Cook, Sandra Cox and Kelly Kirch for more interesting stuff and just a good bit of fun.


Sandra Cox said...

What a wonderful idea! You're a great mom to your 4 legged babies and I'm sure you'll be a great mom with the 2 legged variety.
Many, many congrats on Lover's Stone. Sales and kudos are well deserved:)

Molly Daniels said...

Shame on Mr. Hippo:)

When K was born, we had 4 kittens. Three of them ignored the baby; I laid K on the couch to change him while the crib was being put together; Tiger put his front paws on the cushion to investigate; K 'startled' and flailed his fists, catching Tiger square in the nose! That cat didn't come near him again for several weeks!

I have a cute pic somewhere of Tiger sleeping peacefully at the opposite end of the crib from K. And when K learned to crawl, Tiger was his favorite to tackle. But thankfully, Tiger never scratched him.

Some friends of ours had a Scottie and when their first baby arrived, had to give her (dog) away because of jealousy issues. Hope that doesn't happen to you!

KellyMarstad said...

I had one of those microphone thingys on my belly but it didn't work. Must have been my padding.

Anny Cook said...

Didn't have animals until AFTER the babies except for the last one. But there was already so much chaos in the house, I don't think the animals even noticed that we had a new addition.

Bronwyn's Blog said...

You're a great puppy-mama! I love the idea of the baby sounds cd - brilliant!

I was worried about how the cats would do when we had Killian. But they were amazing. Nimue was the "mom-cat" and she'd run back and forth frantically and mew whenever Killian would cry.

Talon appointed himself the baby guardian and would put himself between any visitors and the baby growling and hissing at them. he'd also try to lay on my lap when I'd nursed Killian (no easy trick with a 9lb newborn and a 23lb cat) and he'd sleep under the baby cradle when Killian was in there or net to him in the bed. He was wonderful cat and I miss him to this day. He died a couple days before Killian's first birthday.

Sandra Cox said...

Happy Saturday, Jae! Hope you're resting!

Sandra Cox said...

Enjoy your Sunday. Monday will roll around only too quickly...