The good news is that my wife's brief dalliance with the idea of having another baby is over.
The bad news is that I have a new Chihuahua.
Well, it's not official yet. We're "fostering" the little mongrel. But since my wife and one of our girls are already discussing what color of holiday sweater they're going to buy him, it's clear I've been excluded from the decision-making process.
Long story short: A friend of ours who happened to own said beast spoke openly, in front of one of my kids, of his disdain for the dog. Frankly, it irritated me, because I'm a sucker for small children, Italian food and helpless animals.
My upset kid began badgering me to let the dog live with us. I tried pretending I didn't understand English, which is what I do when my kids ask for things I won't give them. I did not want a Chihuahua. I love dogs, but not the kind of dogs a woman can put in a purse.
Before I could stop her, the kid got to my wife, who got on the phone to carefully and delicately inquire of our friend as to exactly what the hell was wrong with him. An agreement was struck that we would find a home for the dog. Because we don't already have enough reasons not to get on with our lives.
Before I knew what was happening, my wife was walking through the front door with a Chihuahua. In her purse.
Apparently it's a special purse for dogs. They really have those.
At that point, I was wondering if this was a joke or simply another hallucination. We already have two dogs -- neither of which I chose -- an elderly cat who thinks I'm actually her pet, a couple of rats no one pays attention to, some fish, and a pair of doves in the yard who refuse to stop breeding. Our home is already like Wild Kingdom without the necessary square footage.
My 5-year-old immediately screamed in delight and latched on to the trembling, bug-eyed animal, nearly suffocating it. Another child started dancing around. The other dogs converged to see what they, no doubt, believed was our new hamster.
Right about then, I decided to hate my friend.
The upside of having a whining, twitching ball of nerves is that he's slightly less needy than a newborn human. And that is where my wife comes in. The only time he's been out of her lap is when one of the kids tries hugging him to death.
He's her new baby, which takes the place of the real baby she'd occasionally pine for. Only this one won't cost me tens of thousands of dollars in child care and graduate high school when I'm pushing 70.
What it does cost me is the chance to finally pick out my own dog, a real dog -- like a Labrador retriever or something -- a dog too big to be in my bed, one that might actually frighten an intruder in ways other than being a tripping hazard.
In contrast, I'm pretty sure I saw this Chihuahua run in terror from a moderately aggressive ladybug.
Like it or not, the dog, whose working name is Rocky, is likely here to stay, because my family is already attached to him, and he to them (he cries and howls -- actually howls -- when my wife leaves the house).
At least he gives me an excuse to talk like the Taco Bell Chihuahua, which, as everyone knows, is not only the best way to speak to a Chihuahua, but is terribly fun.
My wife and I woke up the next morning with a couple kids, a snoring puggle and a trembling Chihuahua in our bed. If you think about it, that's actually a great way to ensure that we won't have any more children.