For the first eight years of his life, Quinton was our only child. He was loved, he was spoiled. We had time to play; we had little trouble bringing him with us when we traveled back to Iowa.
Then in late 2011, Eva joined the family and Quinton’s role had changed from son to our pet. Not quite neglected, but definitely diminished attention.
When we brought her home, he was immediately intrigued and very kissy. He was jumpy as well, with a new person in the house that he was unaccustomed to. After one night, we knew that sleeping with the monitor wouldn’t work as Quinton would jump out of bed at each and every coo.
Once he accepted her entry into the family, things became pretty easy. There was no jealousy towards her and the amount of attention she had gained. In fact, her presence created a ton of snuggle opportunities.
As Eva grew older, we’d spend more time on the floor with her. To Quinton, time on the floor meant play time with him. There was many a time that my attention was split between the two of them.
Quinton threw in the occasional kiss, but generally kept away from Eva. He’d bark to let us know she was crying, and he’d protect her from strangers. However, she was incapable of interacting with him.
Eventually she would mature and be able to grab things. She’d reached the point where she could grab his toys, and she’d laugh and laugh when he’d pull it back.
Despite her efforts, it was a little easy for him so he was uninterested in doing it too much. When she started to get grabbier with him, he’d never bark or bite at her. He’d just climb up to his bed and take a nap.
Then, she learned to pull herself up. Suddenly his bed was less safe.
Then she learned how to crawl up the stairs to his bed. Suddenly he had no safe haven. Though these developments may have hindered him some, other developments began to pay dividends. There was now a girl who tossed food randomly to the floor. There was a girl with toddler friends who carried food low to the ground for easy snatching. There was a girl who was becoming better at tug of war with his toys.
Quinton has adjusted by finding different safe havens to bounce between (the couch, under the couch, his bed). He conserved his energy for dinner/snack times and for that first half hour after she went to bed. I’ve dubbed this time “Crazy Dog Time”, as he runs around like a crazy dog trying to get us to play.
While Quinton adjusts on the fly to our every changing daughter, we have to adjust just the same with him. Some things we anticipated, like buying a gate with a dog door to keep Eva from getting into trouble, yet allowing Quinton to get his food/water when needed. We did not anticipate that Eva would fit through the door as well.
Most of our efforts with him came after incidents. We had to have one of us sleep in the nursery so the other parent and Quinton could get some rest. As you could see in the picture at the top of this post, some toys have to be guarded a bit more than others. Probably the biggest one for us was to make sure that bottles were put away or at least capped so that Quinton could not eat the nipple.
Now we have number two on the way. How will Quinton adapt to this change? Will it make a difference that he’ll be a boy? Will he take advantage of a mother who’s trying to change the diaper of one child while watching the other child? How will momma transport two children and a dog upstairs (he’s not supposed to use the stairs due to previous back injuries that are common with dachshunds)? Will momma grow that third arm or clone herself as we’ve talked about?
There’s not a lot of prepping we can do in regards to Quinton. We’ve mentioned the boy to him numerous times, but I still think he’ll be surprised. One preparation we have done is to bring upstairs the play pen (ok, it’s a fenced in area) where 1 to 2 of Quinton, Eva and the boy will be from time to time. The other preparation we have started is with Eva. We are trying to get her to treat Quinton gently. This could go a long ways into preventing Quinton from having to protect himself from a toddler who doesn’t know her own strength.
The one change that we realized on our trip back to Iowa for Christmas was that it was probably Quinton’s last trip there for a while. With another car seat to be installed, there is no longer room for Quinton and his luggage. Perhaps once we’ve paid off our debts from this adoption and other costs associated with raising a child we’ll be able to upgrade one vehicle to a mini-van and bring him again, but for now it’s not going to work.
The hope and prayer here is that Quinton continues to adapt well to the ever changing situation that is home, and that we as parents create the best atmosphere for success. We continue to prepare for number two, but know that Quinton will bring attention to some X factor we hadn’t considered. Here’s hoping that we can handle it.