Friday, February 4, 2011

a nanny with fur

yesterday i spent a good hour or more on the floor with little c. i set up his activity mat and let him smack his toys around for a while before i took another run at 'tummy time.' usually it's received pretty poorly with screaming and grunting and blatant disgust, but today i was feeling brave. i set up his boppy pillow in front of his activity mat arch and placed him on his belly on top of it and waited. after a moment of bewildered silence.. SUCCESS! he was cooing and reaching for his hanging animals and seemed to actually be enjoying it. but of course, why didn't i think of this sooner? what child, who can't raise his head higher than 45 degrees from the floor, wants to be flat on his tummy with nothing to look at?? the solution was worth it. once tummy time had reached the peak and fall of toleration, i rotated the boppy and sat c in the middle of it to work on this sitting up thing he's been so desperate to do. while setting up, our 100lbs american staffordshire terrier, isa, came moseying in to check out the scene. after sniffing and attempting to carry off some of c's toys, i talked her out of her mission and she settled on the other side of the arch facing c and stuck her face through the arch. c got a kick out of this and kept falling forward in attempt to touch her face, most likely in shock that his dog now lived in his activity mat. she would just gently lick him as i righted his sitting position and then bury her head in his lap. now, normally, this dog is pushy, nosy, and in everyone's business in the most obtrusive way possible... and i would have shooed her away if it weren't for the fact that she seems to understand the gentle nature in which a baby must be handled. i just sat back and watched as she nosed him, licked him, and settled in to snooze at his feet. when she got too lickey-- which she often does with her giant tongue-- i would just quietly tell her 'isa, enough.' and she would put her head down in his lap again. and i have to admit, as often as i get annoyed with her constant need to be in everyone's business, i was impressed with her restraint when it came to my babe. it called to mind more confidence in her ability to comprehend the differences in people and how to interact with them. she is honestly one of the sweetest beasts on the planet even when you include her contempt for authority... and when i say authority i mean 'isa, i asked you to get out of the kitchen while i'm cooking.' but, rolling my eyes, i admit that even that isn't enough to condemn her. too many people condemn her breed anyway, so why add to their reasoning just because she's a bit underfoot while i am navigating my kitchen?

bottom line is that history writes these dogs as 'nanny dogs.' in england, where my grandmother is from, these powerful dogs were ferocious on the job and gentle in the home. often allowed to ride in the pram with infants, they were revered as one of the most usual family dogs with a passionate love and devotion to their children. my grandmother recanted to me her love for the breed and their common place in her country. she told me that my dogs are very sweet and incredibly well behaved and i think she held a little fondness for my isa-macgoo, being that she exhibits the breed she's quite familiar with.

so, i sat and watched and laughed at my darling gentle giant loving my darling and dearest little boy and thought 'yeah, this is just fine.' i know that i cannot trust her to like other dogs, even now as i see her cuddled against her companion, uzi, spooning him with one leg over his back, but i can trust her to love my child. we've even gone so far as to give her some ownership in loving baby c by saying he's 'her' baby, too. not that we were looking for one, but it seems that we've found a nanny for our child after all... albeit a furry one.

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