Tuesday, October 22, 2019

On Dogs, Toddlers, and Big Sisters

God made the wild animals according to their kinds...and God  saw that it was good.  (Genesis 1:24)

They say Yorkies imprint on one person.  I have certainly found that to be true with my little dog, Teddy.  He is the most timid dog I have ever seen, and I am his favorite, and only, person.  Oh, he will tolerate Selah if I am not around, because she is quiet and calm and will sit for hours petting him while she reads.  But I am Teddy's refuge.  When he eats, he grabs a bite, runs to me and chews, runs back and grabs a bite, runs back to me and chews...
When I went to Virginia last month, they tell me he laid by the back door the entire time, waiting for me to come home.  For days afterwards, if I walked outside and didn't take him, he went crazy, barking at the door, wanting me to come back, afraid I was leaving him again.

Just like a toddler...

I am 65 years old.  I have been "hands on" parenting minors now for almost 45 years, much, much longer than most people.  By the time my youngest child is grown, I will be 71 years old.  It's been glorious, but I can see it coming to an end, and it makes me sad.  Yes, I have the most beautiful grandbabies, but as any grandma will tell you, while it's a fun thing to be a grandma, it's different from being a mother.  Not better, not worse, just different.  Grandbabies have a mother, and you are not it.  You get to indulge: in my case, be the grandma who sneaks sprinkles into the toddler's hand while mommy isn't looking. Now, he just needs to learn to be sneaky about bringing the sprinkles, so mommy doesn't see and say no...

So imagine my surprise when my little dog began to show signs of being a toddler!  And my teenage daughter, Angel-Leah, showed signs of being the older sibling who loves to torment the younger sibling, because, as she says, 'he loves you too much, and you are my mommy!'

I was quietly standing in my bedroom yesterday when I was hit by a 7 pound tornado.  I looked down to find Teddy on his hind legs, front paws wrapped around me, his head on my thigh, looking up with big brown eyes under a mop of hair (I should really groom this dog more often), pleading for rescue.  I picked him up just as 16 year old Angel-Leah burst in behind him, falling on my bed and laughing hysterically.  Teddy stared at her calmly from my arms with a look of "haha, Mommy has me now!"
"Why are you being mean to my sweet little dog?"  I chided.  Between gasps of laughter, she described the chase.  She jumped at him, chased him through the living room where he collided with a chair and didn't stop, around my 9 1/2 foot long kitchen table, through the bathroom where he caught a glimpse of me in the bedroom and skidded to a stop as he made a sharp turn, running like a rocket to me.
"It was so funny!" she declared.

And I remembered big sisters who tormented little sisters, telling them the white squiggly line on Hostess cupcakes was angel writing, and the angels would get mad if she ate it, then eating it off her sisters plate later.   Older brothers who tormented little brothers, hanging their personal items on the ceiling fan where they went around and around, around and around.  Big brothers who tormented their little sister, hanging her dolls from the balcony of her dollhouse, putting the baby in the dollhouse toilet, calling her "America" and making her cry (I never could figure that one out...)

Now I have big "sisters" teasing the family dog, because she can, I guess.

Maybe my toddler days aren't over, after all. Because, just like grandkids, Teddy has a mother, and I am it!