I’m trying really hard not to turn this into a place where all I ever do is talk about how smitten I am with my dog. I mean, I know she’s the cutest animal ever to grace the planet and everything, but there comes a point where even fellow animal lovers start to go: “We get it. She’s adorable and you like her. Congratulations! You DO realize that she can’t walk on water but can and does lick her own ass every chance she gets, right?”
There has to be a line, is what I guess I’m saying.
On the other hand:
1) MAH NEW BABY!
2) She’s the only family member I can write about with abandon and never stop to worry that she’ll be upset with me about it.
Heck, I didn’t even bother giving her a pseudonym. I probably should’ve. Ummmm… did I say her name is Licorice? I meant to say her name is… uhhhh… Fuzzy Foofibottom. Obviously.
[I considered a pseudonym, actually. Which is kind of sad. And then I was all, eh, screw it. LICORICE LIVES ON THE EDGE, MAN!]
The Dog Emailer makes everyone fill out a C-BARQ on their dogs upon entering training class, and GOODNESS did I gloat and grin as I worked my way through line after line of rotten canine behavior, checking off “NEVER” for how often my precious snookums engages in each of them. Because she’s practically perfect in every way! Her manners are impeccable!
The universe—sensing that I’d just taken more than my fair share of tokes off the karmic hubris bong—decided that would be a good time to let Licorice in on the little secret that she, you know, LIVES HERE now, and doesn’t need to keep trying to impress us. Over the course of the next three days, she:
1) peed on my bedroom carpet (first accident ever)
2) started refusing to potty outside (preferring, instead, to eat grass and poke at fire ants, and then cry when they bit her)
3) began waking up in the middle of the night and barking/crying in the hopes that someone else in the family had a burning need to come rub her belly
4) my personal favorite—and some might say the crown jewel of it all—walked outside, located some cat poop thoughtfully left for us by one of our crazy neighbors’ 19 cats, and rolled around in it with abandon.
[Oh, humility. How fleeting you are, right up until bathtime.]
Anyway, she is still Completely Awesome, naturally, but more Awesome With A Side Of Rotten, you understand. And I can write and write about that and she doesn’t mind in the slightest.
Chickadee’s favorite way to anthropomorphize the dog is to say, “Licorice! Hey, Licorice! Breathe if you want .” We are trying to explain to her that that’s utterly ridiculous, because it’s not as though the dog is going to STOP BREATHING to voice dissent. Everyone knows the only fair way to ascertain her opinion is to, instead, say, “Licorice! Eat this piece of pepperoni if you agree!”
And the truth is that I’d rather deal with a poop-crusted dog than some of the stuff we’ve been fielding here, lately, and not just because the dog doesn’t care if announce that she’s a little shit(ty) sometimes.
I look at my husband and see an incredible man with a nearly boundless capacity to do The Right Thing even when it sucks hairy donkey balls. It is one of the things I love best about him, and also the thing I worry about most with him. I also feel like the Transitive Property of Spousal Annoyance means that while he’s sucking it up, I fall into a murderous rage on his behalf. It helps no one and I know that. Still, seething has always been one of my strengths.
I look at my daughter and see a child-woman leaps and bounds beyond where I was at her age, in so many ways. I am so proud of her for so many things. And I know that the push-pull we engage in these days is as old as mothers and daughters, and I hope she knows that when I assure her that yes, I really am trying to ruin her life, I’m kidding.
I look at my son and still see the ghost of the laughing toddler he used to be, and wonder if he will ever be that happy again. Conversely, sometimes I tell myself that these are his Hard Days, and once we get through these, easier times lay ahead. I hope. In the meantime, I struggle daily with the urge to scoop him up and shield him from the world, to put him in a little bubble with endless ice cream and Bakugan and only people who love him exactly the way he is.
Pseudonyms or not, those stories are ones that require careful consideration before sharing, or cannot be shared at all.
So I asked Licorice if she minded if I told you about the cat poop, and she ate the pepperoni I offered, so there you go.