Bad Dog!

I was a bit unprepared for today, as today’s tale was supposed to run in the Chronicle. I only found out it didn’t when I looked and saw it wasn’t there. So today’s tale is from my notes. It happened about two years ago, when our oldest was only three and our youngest was only 1.

Before getting into this little story, there are two things you need to know. One is that we have two large rambunctious dogs who are perpetually in trouble. The other is our policy on crying. Crying is okay as long as it’s real. Once it turns into “I’m going to cry to get my way”, however, we tell the kids they have to go finish crying by themselves and they can come back once their done. Okay, got it? Those are the two things: No crying for attention, and dogs that we’re always yelling at.

Now I have to bring a friend of ours, one “Ms. Gail”, on to the stage. On this particular night, she offered to babysit for us. It was her first time watching the kids, and shortly into the evening our youngest hurt himself. This is not a surprise. That’s what always happens when a friend babysits the first time. I think it’s a fundamental law of the universe.

The unsuspecting Ms. Gail is a talented teacher and an experienced parent. She knew exactly what to do with an injured one year old.  She picked up the little guy and sat on the couch, where she held him, cuddled him, and tried to “ooh” and “ah” him back into happiness.

She would have succeeded too – if our three year old had not walked over to her, shook his finger in his little brother’s face, and shouted “No! Bad Dog! Bad Dog!”

The wailing intensified. The dogs ducked their heads and ran away. Ms. Gail was both horrified and incapacitated with laughing – not an easy way to be.

She told us all about it when we got home. We explained the rules and she said “See, now that makes sense. I get it now.”

That was good. I was glad. But she never did explain it to me.

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