Friday, August 19, 2005
What I Have Learned About Toddlers
It's a gorgeous afternoon, so Trooper and I decided to spend some time in the backyard. He seemed to prefer lounging in a shady corner of the lawn, lazily chewing on a toy, to any sort of enticement to roughhouse play on my part, so I thought it would be safe for me to go inside for a "just a minute" to use the restroom.
Sure, I knew that he's not allowed in the backyard unsupervised, because Madeline told me he recently exercised his gastronomic impulses on an unsuspecting shrub. But the dog was planted in his comfy spot and focused on the chewing; nothing short of my picking him up and carrying him into the house like a sack of potatoes would have distracted him.
Less than two minutes later, I stepped off the back stair to discover the discarded chew toy, sans chewer.
"Trooper?" A faint jingle. Did it come from the side of the house? I glanced. Nothing. I returned to the yard, wondering if my ears had deceived me.
"Trooper! Where are you?"
Another jingle-jingle-jingle from the side of the house made me take a closer look. I was met by a tail-wagging, yet slightly guilt ridden, dustbunny with something in his mouth that looked like the end of...
...a light bulb. Dear GOD! Don't let it be broken!
So far this week, my attempts at getting him to surrender a toy in our games of fetch have been met with apathy at best and bucking bronco insanity at worst. Fortunately, though, for a puppy who's not particularly responsive to "drop it," "give it," "leave it," or any other incarnation of a give-me-what-you've-got command, he was surprisingly compliant. I felt like I was defusing a bomb; the slightest provocation could send him into an ill-fated chomp. With the gentlest, least threatening, least playful voice I could muster, I secured him by the collar and made him sit so I could pry open his dirt-caked mouth and rescue the (blessedly intact) light bulb.
I do not know what other mischief he has wrought in the crawlspace underneath the house, but I replaced the screen that covers the entrance and took a wet paper towel to his dusty snout. And that is enough excitement for one day.