Family Life

Bill Klein on Alpha Dogs, Building a House and Starting a Family

posted: 12/03/10
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Image Gallery: Bill and Jen Having Fun Bill and Jen from the Little Couple. See pictures of The Little Couple having fun.
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Up Next6 Questions About Surrogacy for Bill Klein of "The Little Couple"

We've watched Jennifer Arnold and Bill Klein of TLC's the Little Couple as they became newlyweds and then navigated the first year of their marriage. Now with a custom-built house in the works, not to mention an expanding family, they've entered full-blown coupledome. And as usual they're handling it all with their trademark sense of humor and endearing love for each other.

We decided to check in with Bill and find out what's going on with the house, how Rocky's faring with the new pup in town, and where they are in the surrogacy process.

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Bill and Jen testing out paint colors
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TLC: What's going on with the house?

Bill: Well, the house is still coming along. We actually just got the pool poured. There are messy parts to the pool, like digging the hole in the backyard and lots of mud and spraying concrete out of a hose and stuff like that, so we wanted to do all that before we started to say that the exterior was finished, so that if there was anything that we messed up we didn't have to do it twice.

So the exterior is getting closer to being done, but that's also not quite there yet. The interior, the electrical is nearly completed, at least the wiring and all that fun stuff, along with all my techy gadgets, which is cool.

So we're making progress, but we're still months away from being done.

TLC: The techy stuff -- is this like Bill Gates stuff going on?

Bill: Yeah. Yeah, my cousin owns a company that does this sort of stuff, and although we didn't use him because he lives up in New York, he did give me some insight as to the options that are available, and so we employed some of the things that he does with a local guy. For instance, all of our lights are going to be hooked up through this integrated brain that you can turn on your lights through an iPad and you can access your whole home while you're away so that you can take a look at security stuff and turn on lights and cameras, and you can change the thermostat and all the audio and video stuff is all integrated, so it's all linked into one brain.

I'm sure I'll blow a fuse by just turning on all the lights by having fun ...

TLC: Jen's going to be like, "Quit turning the lights on and off remotely."

Bill: Yeah, exactly. Check this out. I can turn all the lights on with one button. "Bill, just turn it off."

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The Magster
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TLC: Tell us about your new addition to the family, Maggie.

Bill: Oh, the Magster. Yeah, we have our new doggie. Her name is Maggie and she is a terrier mix. She's a rescue dog, so we got her from a rescue called The Pup Squad, which is a local rescue here in Houston, and she's adorable. She's 6 months old now. We actually have to -- like Bob Barker said -- go get her spayed or neutered, so we're going to do that soon, but she's doing well. She's gained some weight, and she's about the same size as Rocky now and she's getting along really well with Rocky. She understands the rudiments of what house training is, but she hasn't quite gotten it down pat yet, so I'm teaching her that whole thing, and, yeah, I mean she's a good dog. She's a bit of a chewer, but that's OK -- she's a little puppy.

TLC: Did you have to get into dog therapy, a la Cesar Millan?

Bill: We have our own, I guess, brand of handling new pets, or I should say she's got her own brand of handling us. She's adapted to our travel and all that fun stuff. She travels well. She's quiet. She and Rocky chill out in the same bed most of the time. They're pretty friendly pretty much all the time to each other. They play a lot. Rocky's getting some more exercise, and they both sleep in the bed now, normally on Jen's side, so I haven't lost any space yet.

TLC: Is Rocky taking the lead as the head honcho dog in the house?

Bill: Oh, yeah. He's still Alpha -- he definitely has expressed how he wears the pants and she's fought him on it a little. But until she's bigger than him, he pretty much can dominate. She'll bite on his lip or whatever and just antagonize him, and he'll tolerate it for a while. And then if he gets to a point where he doesn't want to deal with it anymore, he just pins her down and barks at her and then walks away.

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Jen in the NICU
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TLC: Can you share where you are in the surrogate process?

Bill: We're moving forward. We're going to give Jennifer a little bit of a break [with egg extraction], and then we're going to pick it up again in the new year and hopefully 2011 will be the year of the child. I'm putting together the perfect storm of non-stressful time for Jennifer to be able to relax and just let her body do its thing and move forward.

It turns out that the cortisol goes against egg production and cortisol is secreted from your brain -- or, well, second messenger systems from your brain -- and so cortisol will be secreted, and it can keep you from ovulating. And that's all because of stress, so we're going to eliminate the cortisol by getting Jennifer back massages on a daily basis and hopefully getting her to a beach for a period of time before or during the injections, so up until we need to do an ultrasound, I'm going to have her on a beach somewhere.

TLC: That's pretty wonderful!

Bill: Well, I appreciate what my wife does, and I also know that it's pretty darn stressful, so I can't have her try to do everything all at once. I'm going to do my best to make it work for her.

TLC: Have you and Jen had a lot of questions from people who are thinking about pursuing surrogacy?

Bill: Well, people are asking questions. Most people are just curious about how the process is going. I do get a lot of comments that we have a pretty good thing going here regardless of the circumstance and challenges that we've had with trying to have a baby, and people are trying to figure out how we keep it together. And my advice normally to them is don't let it eat away at you and don't stress much. We're both in our mid-30s.We know that there are complications that people experience when they don't have short stature to deal with and add some complications with genetics and all the other stuff that goes along with it.

So my advice to everybody is just to take a step back. Relax a little bit. Things could be worse. We're still trying. We're still hopeful, and you just have to have a positive attitude because once you start letting it get at you, particularly my wife, and I think women in general, have a tendency to -- if you have this sort of situation -- blame themselves, and that's not the case. It shouldn't be the case, and we're in this thing together. That's what marriage is all about. It's compromise. It's friendship. It's support. It's all those things and fun, so you need to laugh, and that's what Jennifer and I do pretty well.

I think that our attitude is likely the same that most people have, and when it goes back to stress and all that fun stuff. It's funny that a lot of people that have fertility issues -- they stress out over it and then finally after years of trying, they have a baby and then the next year they're pregnant without any medication because they're no longer stressing over the idea of trying to have a kid, and that probably has a lot to do with it -- the blame game, the stress, the pressure of trying to have a baby for your parents, for you, for your spouse.

I mean it's not the end of the world. We do want to have a baby, but we're working towards it, and there are still plenty of options that we intend to exercise either first, second, or third ... so we're moving forward.

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