I've decided that one of the hardest parts of being a mom is knowing when you are over or under reacting to threats or dangers to your child.
Before-the-Kid I thought it was pretty black and white. If the baby is sick, you stay home with him, for example. But what if his fever is under 100 degrees and he's acting just fine? What if it's just that his nose is runny and he's coughing a little? If one of us stayed home with him every day that he was just a tid bit under the whether, we probably wouldn't have jobs--there has to be a balance and some judgment there. I don't want to needlessly expose him to danger, but he can't live in bubble wrap either. And while there are some things that, of course, are non-negotiable, I'm finding that they truly are few and far between.
We had the Kiddo's first trip to the emergency room Sunday morning. Moe was eating breakfast, and the Kid tried to reach into his food bowl. Moe bit him badly enough that he has four stitches in his forehead.
Other than probably a little scar, the Kid is fine. He was calling for "dog" two seconds after we got home, in fact. (Still no "mama"!)
I know that, in the grand scheme of things, it was a minor injury. I know that there are parents and kids out there going through so much worse. But if I never have to watch a doctor hold my baby down and stitch his head back together again, it will be too soon.
Our initial reaction was that Moe had to go. There was no way around it, and we would be horrible parents if we did anything else. The second the words came out of my mouth I started bawling. While the introduction of the Kid has unseated Moe from his place as king-of-our-hearts to mere beloved-dog, he's still family. As Sweet Husband likes to say, "He may be an asshole, but he's our asshole." And having just lost Porter two weeks ago...it was too much.
But then we came home, talked with our parents--grandparents are a great barometer for knowing when you're overreacting, by the way--and started to think that maybe we wouldn't be awful parents if we gave Moe a second chance. Maybe getting rid of him wasn't something we had to do, akin to covering electical outlets and putting up baby gates.
Upon calmer reflection, I came around to the idea that we were probably the ones that needed to be whacked on the nose, so to speak. After all, babies are naturally curious and dogs are naturally protective of their food--it's the parents that have to keep those two characteristics from coming into conflict, and we failed both of them in that respect.
But, at the same time, we obviously are not as dog-and-kid-wise as we thought we were--at least not with the combination of Moe (the crazy full-tilt terrier) and the Kid (who is turning out to have his mama's penchant for jumping right in and learning the hard way).
So, the upshot is, Moe is staying for now. We're investigating the resources available in the area for dog trainers who work with dogs and kids, taking things day-by-day...and probably exercising the crap out of Moe, just for good measure.
I still don't know if that's an under reaction. I'm pretty certain it's not an over reaction. I know a lot of people would just give Moe up, but I just can't--not without at least giving it one good, all-out try.