Tuesday, July 13, 2010

And baby makes four

I've become a great fan of Bethenny Getting Married, the Bravo TV show that chronicles the life and times of Bravo-lebrity/chef/author/entrepreneur Bethenny Frankel. The woman is flat-out funny, not to mention fearless. I mean, how many women would allow TV cameras to capture her peeing into a bucket on her wedding day? Not many, I would imagine. Certainly not I.

And yet, as much as Frankel's adventures seem way beyond any I would ever/have ever experienced, there's one area in which I can identify: her joy in becoming a mother in her late 30's. That happened with me, too -- and like Frankel, I worried about everything. One of Frankel's worries was how her 10-year-old dog, Cookie, would cope with having baby Bryn join the household, and she tweeted as much not long after Bryn was born.

As a new mother, I had a similar worry: how my 10-year-old mixed poodle, Molly, would handle having a new baby (that would be my now 21-year-old daughter) in the house. More specifically, I wondered how Molly would cope with having to share me with the baby, given that just a couple of years earlier I'd made our twosome a trio when I married Stan.

Unlike Frankel, I didn't get a boatload of responses to a tweet, but I did have one of the earliest editions of What to Expect When You're Expecting. That book contained some great suggestions for baby-prepping a dog: sending home a T-shirt with the baby's scent home from the hospital, greeting the dog separately when returning from the hospital, carefully introducing baby and dog. I followed all those suggestions to the letter, and Molly did fine. In fact, she seemed to consider herself Julie's protector, especially when the latter began walking.

Although Frankel's baby only about eight weeks old right now--and thus a long way from walking--People magazine reports that Cookie has taken on a role with Bryn that's similar to Molly's with Julie, and the new family is doing great. That warms my heart the same way that Molly did when she made it clear that she was cool with any new additions to our little pack. As long as I was happy, she was happy.

That said, if Frankel runs into any problems in the future managing Bryn and Cookie, I can recommend a terrific book: Colleen Pelar's wonderful Living with Kids and Dogs ... Without Losing Your Mind. Pelar's not only a terrific dog trainer; she's also the mother of three sons and the caregiver to two dogs. She's written a pragmatic, compassionate guide that, in my opinion, no dog-owning family should be without.

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