Friday, February 4, 2011

Kids, Dogs, and Hugs

It is no secret that I love my dog. I mean, he is the best dog ever. He is a typical Golden in that he is always there, ready for affection. He seeks it out. If you are a guest in my home, and are sitting in a chair in the living room, there is a good chance he'll walk up and bump your hand with his nose. He is easy to love, and easy to hug, and easy to pet.

Sometimes I wonder if I give him too much affection because it is so easy. And when I say give him too much affection, I mean too much affection in front of Sam. From the very beginning, I told people that my kids would have to love dogs. They would have to love Fonz, because they would no choice. He is here, and you had better get used to him.

It isn't that Sam doesn't like Fonz. I think she does anyway. But he is so big and she is so small. He used to knock her over pretty consistently, until she got a little more steady on her feet. Her face is still the perfect height to get slapped in the tail by a happy wag. And while she doesn't greet me at the door every night, he does, and he always gets a little bit of attention for it.

So she sees that. And she sees me tell him good-bye when we go someplace. She never seeks him out to give him affection, (although to be honest, she really doesn't seek anyone out to give them affection). And I wonder sometimes if she gets a little jealous. Jealousy mixed with stubbornness does not bode well.

The other day, she had a plastic bottle that came with one of her babies. And out of nowhere, she whipped it across the living room and hit him in the head. I was shocked (not really, because she really likes to whip things across the room) and I sprang into action. I sternly told her that she was NOT to throw things and hit Fonz in the head. And then I told her to apologize to him.

The stand-off began.

Sam has a way of shutting down and getting very quiet when she doesn't want to do something. Either that, or she throws a screaming temper tantrum. But, when she knows that she is supposed to do something that she doesn't want to do, she gets quiet. And when she wouldn't apologize to Fonz, I made her sit on the step.

And so she cried. And she tried slipping off the step and hugging me. And then she cried some more. And she tried going to K for help. And K told her that she needed to apologize to Fonz. And then she cried some more, got quiet, cried some more.

After about 15 minutes of this, perhaps more, she finally whispered, "Sorry Fonz".

YES!! Mom wins!! Consistency DOES pay off!!!

But it made me wonder...when she hurts Charlie (another story for another day) or me or K, she is very quick to apologize. She apologizes for things that she shouldn't even apologize for. She is the first to say "Bless you" when someone sneezes. She always says "please" and "thank you" (sometimes both-while signing "thank you"). So why this reluctance to say "Sorry" to Fonz?

Does she see the love I give so easily to Fonz and wonder why I don't give it to her as well? It isn't that I don't hug and kiss her and tell her I love her, (because I do) it is just that she is always moving. And so mostly, the affection happens on her terms. At night, before bed. Sometimes, during the day, I'll ask for a hug, and she'll come running over to me and veer away at the last second because she was distracted by something shiny on the ground. So you see what I am dealing with here.

I love my dog. I love my kids. I love my husband. Trust me Sam...there is enough love to go around. I guess I need to make sure that next time something shiny distracts her, I grab her and hug her anyway.

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