I'm in a podunk town in Texas this week visiting my sister.
There are four kids with me, my two and my niece and nephew who are the same age as my two. We have the rest of the family coming over this afternoon and both moms (my wife and my sister) seem to be in full cleaning mode while I watch the kids in the backyard.
I am a bit bewildered as when I offered to watch the kids both gave a sigh of relief. Honestly, out of the jobs that need to be done, watching the kids was the easiest of the bunch, at least that's my take. Let them run around, eat some dirt, maybe play catch me-catch me, and then go sit on the porch while I give them something sharp to play with. That should keep them entertained for hours before we go to the emergency room. Why are the mom's so relieved?
But I think I know why. Being around two mom's, when I used to being by myself, is a tad bit stressful when watching the kids. I think Dad's are a lot more loosey-goosey when it comes to this. And I think that's a good thing because mom's worry way, way too much. Thus the source of their stress when they are watching the kids.
The kids are running on the backyard. I hear twice, twice, from two different sources of "be careful." They are running on grass. Honestly, it would never even occur to me to say this. Grass is god's way of telling you not to fall down on concrete, come over here where it's nice and soft. If it's not a lesson that they have learned yet, the sooner the better. At least at this point the teeth they knock out will actually grow back. You don't want to make that mistake when your 12. But that's more of a dad's philosophy.
They say "Don't climb that!"
I say "Don't fall off." Much, much better I think.
They say "Don't eat that!"
I say "Black and yellow kill a fellow." I grew up eating varmints.
They say "No jumping."
I say "tuck and roll, then pop up in a fighting stance." You never know when the next ninja attack is going to come from.
They say "The dog can't climb ladders."
I say "Don't haul the 5lb dog up by the neck because dogs don't climb ladders."
Well, that's what I should have said but I didn't because as a good dad, I wasn't paying attention. That's another thing that I am constantly being accused of. Conspiracy I say, conspiracy.
So when we were all sitting outside again I didn't give the advice that I should have about dragging a 5lb dog up a ladder by it's neck. But in my defense, the rest of the group was now outside. We were talking and enjoying ourselves and all of a sudden I look up.
I see the tail end of Roxy, a Pomeranian, just swinging back and forth. The right leg was twitching. Honestly, I didn't know what the hell I was looking at right at first. I mean honestly, who expects to see this? Did the dog jump and get caught in some weird time vortex and was suspended in midair? Could the dog fly, like super dog because that would be way cool. Maybe it isn't a dog at all, but an animangus who was using a levitating spell. That would be cooler than super dog.
But nope. It was my 3 year old daughter who had fallen in love with the dog and wanted to play with it. All. The. Time. She loved to take the dog for "walks" which I'm sure the dog interpreted as the Bataan Death March.
And it was my 3 year old daughter who was now trying to power lift the dog up the ladder so that the dog could then go down the slide with her. But she was losing some steam but was stubborn enough not to let go. She was just catching her breath, while the dog was not because the leash was attached to the collar. The collar, of course, was attached to the dog's neck. And it was swinging like from a hangman's noose.
It was the moms who jumped into action while I was trying to process what was going on. They quickly got the dog down. Don't worry, she's fine. The vet assures us that that leaning will go away in a matter of weeks. We can all learn to live with the night terrors.
My daughter was not happy. It was HER puppy. Anything that she likes is hers. Like knives, baseball bats and Sherman tanks. I can relate.
So let me say it now, so she will have the advice before the incident: Dogs don't climb ladders.
But they might fly off roofs. Let me know how that works out.