He really doesn't hate you, he just doesn't like you yet

Have you met our cocker spaniel, Henrik? If you know him, then you know that he’s sweet, cuddly, loving, and quite adept at fetching and catching. If you don’t know him, then he seems anxious and untrusting. If you walk into our house with something large (okay, who am I kidding – the object could be large or small) in your hands, your chances of forming a bond with H drastically plummet. If you make any sudden or major movements or gestures or do anything loudly during that crucial first meeting, then your chances of a bond are next to zero. He remembers. EVERYTHING. Seriously though, he really is the best dog (said the totally unbiased party). Ever. He just happens to believe that trust is earned, not automatically provided. I can’t say that I disagree.

Today, I ordered something that I think will save H’s sanity (and ours). It’s called
Baby Sounds for Pets, and it’s a CD full of baby sounds from baby talk to baby temper tantrums. To explain just how significant this CD is, let me tell you a little story:

The day we found-out we were having a boy was the day after Tax Day, and my mom and I were meeting for celebratory manicures. After our manis, we hopped over to the mall so Nana (this name is subject to change. My mom is still working-out what she wants to be called. I told her it’ll just come to her the first time she meets Liam and says, “Hi, Liam, it’s your ____.”) could buy Liam a few things. One of the things she purchased was a set of four small, stuffed sports balls (baseball, soccer ball, etc.) that came in a small, soft-sided case with handles. Each ball is less than three inches in diameter, so the case is no more than a foot long. Small and unobtrusive. Well, H HATES the case and the balls, together or separate. It probably doesn’t help that the balls make a “boing yoing yoing” sound when hit or dropped. We discovered his aversion when I was playing show-and-tell with Josh. H didn’t react to the blankets or the burp rags, but the second that case came into view he was GONE (and by gone I mean, scampered away then promptly came right back into view and paced because (a) he wants to make sure scary object doesn’t get us or (b) he likes to be within eye-shot of us and his sister, Fiona, at all times). Over the next few days, we would occasionally put the case somewhere in the family room to get him adjusted. We haven’t done this in weeks, but I am willing to bet that we’re still in the adjusting phase.

Now you know why the baby sounds CD will be playing non-stop, quietly at first and then gradually louder, until Liam’s arrival.

Side note: The wonderful and talented
Don Mears is coming to our house in July for a maternity session. Since we would really like our dogs to be in a few pictures, Josh and I have devised a plan to (hopefully) shorten H’s adjustment period to Don (and maybe Lindsay, his wonderful and talented wife). H seems to react better when we go out first and then come back with the strangers. Any chance of a friendship will be quickly bashed if Don enters the house with his arms and shoulders full of camera equipment, so Josh and I will carry-in his equipment. We haven’t told Don our plan yet, but I’m pretty sure he’s going to laugh, A LOT. I’m also pretty sure our plan will work (ah, the power of positive thinking).


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