People who know me well understand that I’ve been a mama for more than 11 weeks. Before Hunter came along, I poured all my nurturing energy into my almost 5-year-old golden retriever, Lexi (a.k.a. Sexy Lexi because she’s a pretty girl and knows it). I surprised myself with how nurturing I could be as a caregiver because I’m typically more like a guy when it comes to my communication style. I think and talk with my head, not my heart.
During Lexi’s first week home at our apartment, I found myself saying “mama knows” in a sing-song voice. I didn’t think anything of it until my mom heard me use the phrase and reminded me that she used to say that to me all the time when I was little. The expression must have been completely subconscious because I didn’t remember that at all. Our long-term memory is remarkable. We absorb information when we’re young, store it in a place that we don’t know exists, and then bring it back out when it’s time to use the information again. I guess that’s how we become our parents, for better or worse.
Lexi is not thrilled that I now use her nurturing phrases on Hunter, and her withdrawn face makes it apparent that she understands the change is permanent. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I even called Hunter by the dog’s name a few times because I’m so used to saying Lexi’s name in my mom voice. When I was pregnant, multiple people tried to convince me that my dog would become much less important once the baby arrives. “Trust me,” they explained, “I was the same way with my dog, and now she isn’t even allowed in the bedroom.” I have to admit that I have been neglecting Lexi and view her more as a pet than a daughter now. There’s something about having a child that put’s the dog’s role in perspective, and I find myself having a finite amount of nurturing energy to give. I hope Lexi will forgive me someday for betraying her, but she can’t complain about still sleeping in our bed. Despite our new relationship boundaries, mama knows that Sexy Lexi needs her beauty rest in a proper bed.
Lexi as a spoiled only child
Lexi as a proud but sacrificing big sister