We took our children to the zoo today to celebrate the first official day of summer vacation. Because we’re good parents like that.
We arrived early in the day in the hopes of catching the animals being active before sleeping off the hot afternoon. We weren’t disappointed. When we got to the lion exhibit the male lion was parading back and forth, back and forth. The Girl-Child loves big cats (well, all animals) and decided to bond with him. She was glued to the dividing wall growling and roaring to this big fella. Pretty soon I saw a family rush over and heard the mom telling her kids, “Listen to the lion, come see the lion roar.”
I didn’t dare correct her. It reminded me of a time that Girl-Child was about 2 1/2, still in a stroller, and I took her into Kohl’s with me. We were on one side of a rack of clothing and there were a couple of older women on the other. As usual, Erika was growling and barking like a puppy. One woman said to another, “Do you hear that? There is something in here. Go get somebody.” What was I going to do? Admit that it was my daughter? I acted scared for my precious baby’s life and ran away.
Erika’s love for animals and penchant for imitating their sounds has a long and sordid history. My favorite story, by far, is from a few year back.
When Erika was 3 1/2 years old we had just gotten Big Bad Louie as a puppy. He had horrible manners and at that time I was delusional that with thorough training we could raise him to be a proper pet. I also once thought that a perm and green fingerless gloves would make me look like Madonna. I had put a sign on our storm door that read something like this:
We are training a new puppy. Please do not talk to, or try to pet our puppy until he is calm and quiet. Thanks.
One day I ordered pizza and preemptively tossed Lou out the back door so that he wouldn’t molest the pizza guy. When the pizza guy arrived I had already opened the door, but ran back to the kitchen to fish out my driver’s license and check. When I got back to the foyer I see my 3 1/2 year old on all fours, barking, jumping, and growling at the pizza guy. I see him standing on the front porch and right in front of him taped to the storm door is my note about puppy training.
What do you think I did?
I firmly said to Girl-Child, “Quiet, back off, sit, SIT!” then returned to the door, paid, and quickly said, “Training isn’t going well,” before slamming the door and pouring a drink to enjoy while waiting on family services.
The Girl-Child might grow up to be a veterinarian. Or a dog trainer. Or a voice actor. Or a sideshow freak. All of which produce a self-sustaining income. It’s all good.