Toby has the most placid and easy going nature. He is so predictable, friendly and extremely adaptable to change. As my pregnancy progressed, I could tell that Toby knew something delicate was going on inside me. He would be more careful around me and stopped walking all over me in bed. For all these reasons we didn’t think bringing a baby home would be an issue.
As we left the hospital, in the car we realised we hadn’t even spoken about how we would go about introducing Toby to Thomas. Because Toby hadn’t seen us in 5 days, we didn’t want to go inside as a family and not be able to respond with the same excitment we were sure Toby would show us. For this reason, we decided once we arrived home, Thomas and I would stay in the car for 5 minutes while Andrew went in and said a proper hello to Toby. Andrew would then come back to the car and stay there with Thomas while I did the same.
Toby was so excited to see me, I hadn’t seen him so excited in a long time. Once he calmed down he became very curious as to why I smelt different, his little investigator nose was all over the place.
Andrew brought Thomas inside and Toby’s nose started to go crazy, realising there was a smell inside the house that he hadn’t smelt before. As he didn’t make too much of a fuss, we praised him for being a good boy and gave him some cheese. Andrew sat down on the couch with Thomas and Toby jumped up and had a sniff, looked at Thomas, looked at Andrew, took a few steps backwards and looked at me as if to say, ‘Who is this, why is dad holding him in a loving embrace and when is he leaving?’
It was at this moment we gave Toby his present, Princess Sparkles. Toby is a lover of soft toys and we thought a new toy would bring him joy. Toby and I played fetch with PS (Princess Sparkles) and tug of war with her. We wanted Toby to know we were still willing to have fun with him despite the fact a new little person was now also part of the family. Toby seemed to show no interest in Thomas and a lot of interest in PS for most of the afternoon.
Throughout the day, Toby would gently come up to Thomas, have a sniff and walk away. When he did this we would treat him with some cheese, praising him for being gentle around the baby.
After the initial introduction, we gave Toby a nice juicy bone which he gnawed on for a good hour.
Things seemed to be going well until Thomas started to make baby noises which Toby didn’t like. He would quietly growl at the noises and we would give him a stern, ‘No.’ It didn’t matter what kind of noise Thomas made, whether it was a cry, hiccup, gurgle or the usual baby noises, Toby would growl and if we didn’t tell him off, his growls would become louder. This happened for 2 days.
Toby also showed us he did not want to be near Thomas. I held Toby in my arms and Andrew would place Thomas next to him. Toby would look at us or at the ceiling with wide terrified eyes and when I let him go, he would run away.
Things turned around after 3 days. Instead of growling when Thomas made noises, Toby would jump up onto the bassinet or pram with his paws holding onto the edge and pop his head over to see if Thomas was OK. This was so sweet to watch. He also started to accompany me for Thomas’s 3am feed, sitting with us in the nursery until we were done. During Tummy Time, Toby would sit by the mat and keep an eye on Thomas and give his bottom a bit of a sniff!
After day 4, Toby let Thomas touch him without freaking out and running away and these days, he even comes up to me when I’m breastfeeding and will put his head on Thomas’s tummy and watch him feed. It is so sweet, it melts my heart and makes me love Toby even more. I’m so proud of him. It must be hard for Toby to understand why all our attention is on this little person and not him at the moment.
We have been at home as a family of 4 for the last 9 days and we have tried to maintain some normality for the Wigglebottom. For example, when Andrew comes home, he makes sure that Toby is still the first one to be greeted. He will sit on the floor and let Toby bounce all over him with excitement, which has been their thing since Toby was a puppy. I have managed to take Toby to the beach on the mornings when Andrew starts uni late. When Thomas is asleep during the day, Toby and I spend time playing fetch or tug of war while I do chores around the house. And we make sure he gets extra kisses and cuddles in bed once Thomas is asleep.
As time goes by and I get my confidence up to take both baby and fur baby out, life will go back to normal for Toby and we will start off every morning at the beach and he will also accompany us on all our outings.
Even though we have this new love for our son, we still love Toby completely and just wish we could tell him that his routine is only going to be disturbed temporarily and will go back to normal shortly.
For anyone bringing a baby into a home with a pooch, the best advice I can give is, as hard as it may be at the beginning, provide love and attention to your Furball from the minute you get home and where possible, try and maintain some sort of normality pre baby.
We love you Toby, Thomas is so lucky to have you.
^ Toby’s first meeting with Thomas…not impressed
^ Toby’s new friend, Princess Sparkles
^ Yeah, I’m not enjoying this one bit!
^ Toby plonked himself here without Andrew asking Toby to join him
^ More signs of Toby accepting his little brother, keeping a watchful eye on Thomas when he made noises in his sleep
^ Best friends. Be still my heart!