the fox and the hound.

Dear Olly Pie,

Did I ever show you the pictures of Russell before you were born? He used to curl around my giant belly [thanks to you for that], I think he liked to feel you moving around in there, or maybe he could sense that you were his brother. I cried the night your dad and I went to the hospital to have you because we just moved in and did not trust him on the loose in our new apartment, so we put him in his crate. This [and those end of pregnancy horomones] moved me to tears, because before you were born, he was our baby and there was just this horrible feeling of shared dread that he was about to be replaced.

[This is not a cautionary tale for when you eventually have a little brother or sister.]

When Daddy stopped back at home to let Russy out while we were still at the hospital, he brought home one of the blankets you were wrapped in for him to smell. I was nervous about how he would react: would he be too jealous? too wild? too rough? It was kind of like I projected all my fears of inadequacy as a parent onto your dog-brother.

He was curious, and clumsy, but he could just sense how to be around you. He still would not come when we called to him, and he still licks for an inappropriate amount of time, but he strove to be gentle with you. I think it was instinctual.

This is not unlike how we felt our way through being parents to you. It's one day, riding your bike, your hair floating on the wind, only one hand on the handle bars as you skim down the pavement that you forget how much you had to concentrate on peddling, and steering, and balancing in the beginning.

Incidentally, one day Russell stopped being part of the scenery to you and you just can't get enough. There are two things that you reach for: your water bottle, and Russell. There are never enough delicious bulldog cheeks, or ears as reins, or pathetic tail stump for your two little hands to hold. To be fair, he is more patient than I gave him credit for five months ago. He endures as much as his ego allows, and then he retreats. But sometimes he'll indulge you and you laugh and laugh when he licks your belly.

[And I hope you remember his example when we one day bring a new little "puppy" home from the hospital for you to love on.]

Love you, little man,
Love, Mama.

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