For the last four years, we've been using this Little Tikes picnic table for the boys to sit at and eat their meals when they got old enough. The normal procedure involves this whole rigamarole where I feed the animals first and then finagle the 4-leggeds to the hallway where they stare at us dolefully from behind a babygate for the 45 minutes it takes Rowan to eat three goldfish crackers. The difficulty of this maneuver depends entirely on the amount of animals in the house, i.e. whether we are babysitting my dog-niece or fostering at the moment. Two dogs=easy. Two dogs + Molly the foster dog=like running through a cage of deranged gorillas holding bananas lined with monkey crack (she was a wee bit into food thank god she's been adopted love ya but lose my number).
|as you can tell, they are starving and weak|
I decided a couple of weeks ago that we are phasing out the picnic table to have the boys start eating at the "big table" where we can hopefully have many a fun-filled family dinner with more conversation and less smearing of pasta sauce into your brother's ear. It's a lofty goal, what can I say.
Thus far, it's been working out fine. The dogs love it because they can beg from a closer distance. And I don't want to jinx myself, but I haven't been scrubbing any Ragu out of anyone's earhole. But the other night, I caught Hopper doing this thing where he was reaching down, holding a chicken nugget acting like he was going to give it to the dog and just when Bean got over his total complete shock and leaned his head over to take it, Hopper would snatch it away and say "I don't think sooooo" in this sing-song voice.
Now, this annoyed me on several levels, firstly because that nanny-nanny boo boo sing-song voice thing that kids start doing around this age bugs the ever living crap out of me. I know I have many more years of it ahead of me and I'm going to attempt to weather those years with grace and motherly love enough to not shove a sock down his throat when he does it. (But: GAH). Secondly, being in Rescue for many many years means, I've known way too many cases where a family unceremoniously dumped their beloved pet in a kill shelter because things in one way or another went south between a kid and a dog. While I understand children a lot more now that I have a couple, I still tell you without a doubt that the Scales of Blame tip HEAVILY towards the kid side. It's incredibly important to not only socialize your puppy with children but also teach your kids not to instigate and to respect a dog's boundaries. This being my mindset, I decided to drop a little wisdom on the boys, hopefully culminating with my children having a healthy, respectful attitude towards our dogs and for Bean to get grip because, there is NO way he's getting a chicken nugget.
Here's what I said instead:
"Hopper! Do you know that Bean could literally take your hand off right now if he wanted to?? His teeth are strong enough and your fingers are right there by his mouth, but he's not doing it because HE IS A NICE DOG. You keep teasing him and he may change his mind do you understand me? STOP MESSING AROUND."My child now believes that every dog is going to eat his hand off if I'm not looking and deals with it by insisting on sitting on his hands every time a dog enters the room. I'm debating whether to tell him the truth any time before he's, say, twenty.
Bean would never eat his hand unless I dipped it in gravy.