Sunday, September 19, 2004

the dog/child paradigm

It's hot in my house. It's a big house, no central a/c, only two working window units, and a couple of strategically placed fans.

The two functioning units are in the kitchen and my bedroom. So, when I come home from a day like yesterday - several hours driving around in ultra-hot Houston with the top down, followed by two hours on stage, under hot lights, wearing snappy looking, but polyester, clothing - I'm not likely to drop my drawers in the breakfast nook just to get a breeze.

So, of course, I head up to my bedroom and arrange myself right between the a/c and the fan and get as naked as possible.

(Note: cold weather is better than hot for one reason: in cold you can always add layers, in hot, there is really only so naked you can get...)

Unfortunately for my dog, this means she gets absolutely minimal attention from me. I pour the food, I pour the water and I run up the stairs, leaving a trail of fashionable, but possibly sweaty, clothing behind me. To Sophie, this is unacceptable.

You see, she's not allowed in my bedroom.

Now, Sophie is a weird little dog. She's pretty smart, she knows what she's not supposed to do, but has difficulty controlling her impulses. (In this way she's much like my son, who is, in fact, a lot like me...) For instance, she knows she's not supposed to jump up on people (partly because she's knee high on all fours, which puts her enthusiastic greetings pretty much at crotch level...) So, when new people come over she does this cute little jump up, sit down, jump up, sit down, jump up, sit down dance. She even has the grace to look embarrassed at her inability to sit for more than a third of a second.

She also knows she's not supposed to get on the couch. But, lately she's become a wuss when it comes to thunderstorms. So, at the first crack of lightning, she comes over to where I'm sitting on the couch and first puts her nose under my wrist and nudges my arm around her neck. The >pat< >pat<

And, she does it like she thinks I don't know that she's getting up on the couch. Like, "I'm not on the couch. I'm on your lap. It's TOTALLY different."

But last night she did something new. She has snuck upstairs during thunderstorms in the middle of the night, but last night there was no thunderstorm. Just a need for company. A need for attention. A need to be reassured by mom that even though I've totally ignored her, I still love her. My son used to yell to me from the bottom of the stairs when I crashed in a nap after work - "Mom? Mom? Mom. Mom? MOM!!! Mom?" "WHAAAAAAT?!?!?" - just to make sure I hadn't snuck out and run away while pretending to get some rest...

Last night Sophie did her impression of a child at bedtime. I was already half asleep when I heard her jingling tags at the bottom of my stairs. She didn't have to go out. She had food. She had water. There was not a cloud in the sky.


>jingle< >jingle<

I ignored it. I fell into a fuzzy sleep.

Three times I heard the jingle in my sleep, half woke up, and fell back to sleep. It finally dawned on me that the jingling wasn't at the bottom of the stairs any longer, and I woke up fully. It was 3am. Sophie was on her way up the stairs. I watched her with my eyes half closed. She got close to the bed, then went into my bathroom and drank out of my toilet.


She came over to the bed, laid down next to it for a half a second, got up, poked her nose at me, and went back down the stairs.


If that had been all, I would have gone back to sleep and not even remembered it. But she did the whole thing - jingle jingle, up the stairs, slurp slurp, lay down, poke, down the stairs - twice more. It was all I could do to not just laugh out loud at her.

It's still hot out, but today I'm downstairs spending time with my pup: petting her, talking to her, rubbing her with my feet... I'd play catch with her, but she won't get up and is just laying naked in front of the fan.

Lazy dog.

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