Friday, December 14, 2012

Ella and the Fur Babies

One of the questions I have gotten since Ella's arrival is "what do the dogs and cats think of Ella?"  That  is a great question.  Fortunately, the answer is everyone is getting along just fine.  But I was pretty worried that wouldn't be the case. 

What We Did to Prepare the Dogs
All the pets, but especially the dogs, were used to being the center of our world.  Early  in my pregnancy, like 8 weeks early, we started to retrain the dogs.  We set new rules- no dogs on the couch unless invited, sitting and waiting to eat, reduced number of toys (on the rare occasion Oliver and Matilda would fight, it would almost always be over a toy).  Slowly, the dogs got the hang of the new routine.  While I know it was hard for both Seth and I to enforce new rules, it would be so much sadder if we had to re-home any of our babies because we didn't properly prepare them.

After Ella was born, we sent a couple blankets with her scent on them with my mom (the dogs were staying with her), so that they could learn the new smell.  When we got home, Seth went in the house first and greeted the dogs.  Then he came out and got the baby and I went in and greeted the dogs.  We then set Ella, in her car seat, down between the two of us on  the couch.  Matilda was very interested in what was happening.  She jumped up on the couch (bad Tilly) and gave the baby a good once over.  Oliver was a bit more hesisitant.  He actually growled at the car seat (we weren't surprised- Oliver is a bit of a head case), so we let him out for an hour and tried again.  This time, we held the baby and hid the car seat.  He slowly approached the baby and gave her some good sniffs.

And that was that.  Ever since everyone has been fine.  The dogs are freakishly protective of the house.  We have to know when people are stopping by so we can make sure they are out (Matilda actually tried to nip a guy delivering flowers).  As much as everyone is fine with Ella, each pet has a different approach to her.

Matilda meeting Ella

Tilly is out oldest baby (6 1/2!) and is used to being Seth's little princess, but like I said, she showed great promise in the beginning.  But she hasn't exactly warmed to the baby.  She likes to sniff Ella, but if you try and put that baby down anywhere near her, she runs away.  When Ella cries, she always checks to make sure she is okay, but then retreats to another room.  I don't worry that Til would ever hurt Ella, she just isn't particularly interested.  We are 100% sure that will change as soon as Ella can drop food on the floor.

Oliver snuggled with Ella during nap time (excuse the unmade bed)

Ella is Oliver's baby.  This was very surprising.  He took a while to warm up to her, but as soon as he figured out he could give her kisses, he was sold.  Now whenever I put Ella down for a nap on our bed (she sleeps better that way), Oliver can be found snuggled right up to her.  We figure that he will want to sleep with her once she is in a big girl bed in a few years.  It makes my heart happy to know that Ella and Oliver will be best buddies for years to come.

Ava trying to get some attention too

Ava seems to be a bit jealous of the baby.  One day, I had Ella in the carrier and was working at the computer.  Ella climbed on my lap and proceeded to lie down on top of the baby.  I shewed her off and haven't had a repeat performance.  Since then, Ava has warmed a little to the baby.  She was hanging out on the back of the chair while I was burping Ella a few days ago and Ella got the biggest smile on her face and giggled at the cat.  I don't think Ava was amused, but she's coming around.  She also enjoys new places to sleep- mainly the changing pad and Ella's chair.

Henry says "What baby?  This chair is for me."

I'm not entirely sure Henry is even aware that someone else has joined our family.  He definitely likes to come visit when I am feeding Ella in the morning, but like I said, I don't think he realizes that I am up for any reason to do anything other than pet him.

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