Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Canine Rivalry

I'm going to hold off talking about another piece of attachment parenting- avoiding "baby trainers-" until I can muster a few more constructive things to say. Something about all of the swirling, crashing and looping hormones following a miscarriage leaves little but vitriol when discussing people who try to convince parents to do harmful and bizarre things to their infants all for the sake of "scheduling" or "convenience." Who has children for convenience? People who want accessories and are allergic to dogs?

So, yes. We shall save the shysters and con-men (Gary Ezzo, Michael and Debi Pearl, the loony tunes who wrote the "What to Expect... series, et cetera) for another day.

Today, speaking of dogs, we will carefully examine the relationship between a two year old and her loyal pooch. To do so, we need to first analyze the two year old. Contrary to popular belief, "Two's" (as we will call two-year-olds) are not "terrible." Tumultuous, yes. Tantrum-y, of course. As tempestuous as the sea, and as tormented as the most sensitive artist, Two's are also very energetic, loving, and are adorably learning compassion and empathy. Or, at least mine is.

For example, she just tripped and fell over Lola. At 75 lbs, and black with white markings, Lola is very hard to miss. However, my two year old has taken to trying to walk without looking. I think she's developing her sixth sense. At any rate, she fell right on top of the dog, who barked and jumped up. After tears and cuddles and reminders that our eyes need to watch where we are walking, she flopped back onto the floor with Lola, who went back to the same spot on the floor and resumed her lounge. "I'm sowwy, Lola, sowwy bumped. Bumped Lola," Gianna explained to Lola, from a distance of approximately three millimeters.

(Note: Dear Baby Trainers- I have never asked my child to apologize, nor have I expositorily taught her to apologize. Having modeled apologies myself to and around her since birth, though, she somehow is miraculously managing to pick it up! No switches or spankings involved! Imagine that! What a strange phenomenon- I actually treated my child the way I like to be treated, totally neglected to cram "apologies" down her throat, and hot diggity damn, she's doing it herself! In the appropriate context, even! Love and mush, Clara. P.S.- Let's all hope we never meet in a dark ally. Mr. Clarateaches would love to spend my potential bail money on something different. Insert hearts here, Clara.)

Things are not always so fuzzy and warm. Lola vacillates between fear and loathing, and curiosity and nosiness. I do not leave Gianna and Lola alone together, especially since we leave markers and chalk here and there. Over time, these art materials have managed to procreate, and rogue bands of markers turn up everywhere. Using the powers of "slight of hand," Gianna can fashion an impromptu tattoo right on Lola's fluffy white chest within moments of my eyes aiming in another direction.

Recently, Gianna has decided that Lola needs another collar. My tape measure is just the right thing to make that new collar, and she follows Lola throughout the day, trying to attach it. Lola skitters through the house, ears back, eyes horrified at the thought of strangulation by standard measurement. However, when I re-direct Gianna's attention to something else she finds entertaining (some differential equations, perhaps, or some Greek translations. It depends on the day), in approximately thirty seconds, Lola is peeking around the corner, looking for her strange little girl. An ice cube tray crammed full of play dough was vigorously offered to the Dogasus yesterday. Lola declined. Repeatedly. Then she walked away, while staring back at Gianna. As soon as she flopped down into her new observation spot, Gianna followed with more delicious play dough cubes. I redirected Gianna to the center of the floor, enticing her with more plastic utensils with which to mangle the dough. As soon as Gianna was occupied, Lola lifted her head and stared at me. And at Gianna. And back at me. Before long, she was walking back to Gianna, sniffing and poking her head into Gianna's business. And the dance continued.

On Gianna's end, she lives with concern that the dog will get her things or food. On the way to the kitchen for a "Grow-Lola-bar," (granola bar) Lola will typically follow us and at some point pass us and run for the kitchen door. She knows that following Gianna means following the action. Gianna, seeing this, yells frantically, "Lola's grow-lola-bar, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! NO LOLA'S GROW-LOLA-BAR!!!!!!!!"

"Does Lola eat granola bars?" I ask her. "Nooo..." Gianna says uncertainly, and by the time we get to the granola bars, Lola is circling like a shark and Gianna is screeching to Lola. I put Lola outside, and retrieve a bar for the girl. Lola peers through the window while Gianna starts to eat the bar, and then Gianna squishes her bar into the window, screeching, "EAT! EAT GROW-LOLA-BAR!!!" This scene repeats multiple times a day, with various edible and inedible items.

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