b Papa Dog's Blog: Keeping the World Safe for Baby

Papa Dog's Blog

A Thing Wherein I Infrequently Write Some Stuff

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Keeping the World Safe for Baby

Just a short one…

Yesterday, my mom told me about a little boy in her town, born around the same time as Baby Dog, who had just died of meningitis. I used to hear a piece of news like that and think “Oh, how sad.” Now it freezes my guts and switches the panic centre of my brain over to Elmo Alert. Once you have kids, you can’t hear of any kind of childhood tragedy without thinking “What if it happened to mine?” What a way to spend the rest of your life, huh? When we first got the dog, we would now and then note with amazement that we had, all by ourselves, managed to keep him alive and healthy for a month, two months, a year. Two and a half years now, and he no longer has quite the life of Riley that once was his, but he’s happy, loved, well-fed, and in good shape, even if he doesn’t get quite as many walks (let alone long off-leash romps) as he used to. Now here we are with a baby, stopping suddenly to realise that we’ve gone almost a full three months without causing any irreparable disaster to her person, and that to the contrary she continues to thrive, growing and developing and discovering the world around her day by day.

A baby in deep sleep is a profoundly quiet creature, and I don’t imagine there’s any parent around who hasn’t felt the need to confirm that their sleeping child is in fact still breathing. You lean over the bassinette, you hold your own breath, you listen very very carefully. You hear a sigh, you see a hand twitch, and all is well. You feel silly for worry just because the room is so quiet and the night is so still. Then the next night you do it again, because you can never be too sure.

What if I leaned over Baby Dog and saw she wasn't breathing? I don’t think I’d have any idea what I’m supposed to do. I took a life saving class in high school a million years ago, and I guess I passed it, but now I barely even remember how to do mouth-to-mouth properly. Mama Dog’s pretty much in the same boat. Every time Baby Dog makes a noise even remotely like choking, we tense up and think, worriedly, “What would we do?’ Well, after today we will, with any luck, know a thing or two. We’re going to take an infant CPR class today and next Sunday. Ironically, infants aren’t allowed to attend the class, so for the first time since her birth we’ll be leaving Baby Dog wholly in the care of others. Thanks to the Pirates. And tomorrow, maybe we’ll be life-savers.


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