You may have noticed that we have 2 dogs. Oscar and Oliver. Oscar is 4 and Oliver just turned 2. They're both crazy. Very lovable, very loving, but crazy. Oscar thinks that the way to get people on the street to love and play with him is to bark at them very loudly and show them his teeth. I know he's smiling, but no one else can tell. Last fall, Kristin heard him barking at kids walking to school and she ran outside to introduce them to him so that they would come up and pet him and get him to stop giving us, and all the neighbors, migraines when they walk by. The kids wouldn't come near the fence, even though once Kristin was out there Oscar was more interested in licking her face than barking at kids. "We call this house the House of Terror," (Capital letters theirs) "because of the big dog, but we like the little one."
Everyone likes the little one (Oliver), and Oliver likes everyone. Unreservedly. Aggressively. When anyone comes to the house his tongue flicks in and out like a reciprocating saw. It is a truly horrifying site to see that tongue come at you. I was a bit worried about that tongue when thinking of our life after baby. But when the baby came home, he seemed a changed dog. Gentler, kinder, more considerate. He sniffed, he looked, and he licked... but gently, gently. All that changed Thursday afternoon.
After having read The Other Mother's discussion of rituals associated with a baby's cord stump, Kristin and I decided that we would bury the stump with a rose bush that had been given to the Julia while we were in the hospital. At the time, the rose bush was in a pot and rapidly dying, and we were really hoping that the cord would fall off before the plant hit its expiration date. So, on Thursday morning when Kristin called upstairs that Julia's cord stump had come off, much excitement ensued. I told her to put it in a safe place. I went and took the baby from her. She got in the shower. I forgot about the stump. The dogs were outside barking at people, so I let them in. Oscar came into the library and fell asleep at my feet. Oliver went elsewhere and was quiet. I wondered, briefly, at his good behavior.
A few minutes later Kristin started screaming and laughing at the same time, "He ate it, He ate it!" Ate what? I wanted to know. "The Stump, he ate the stump! I came out of the shower and watched him finish what I thought was a chewy you gave him and I wondered why he was being so good when it hit me to look at the nightstand where I put the stump and it's gone!"
Yes, my friends, our dog ate our baby's cord stump. Now his interest in the baby seems a bit more sinister. Last night he also ate the bloody bandage from her PKU/bilirubin test and 2 diapers. How he found these things I do not know since they were in the garbage can of a room that we keep closed. His sneakiness knows no bounds. And now, I swear to god, everytime he looks at Julia, he licks his lips.
He's had a taste and he wants more.