You would think that since I have an only child, I wouldn’t have to deal with all the drama that comes from having multiple children. And until a few weeks ago, that was totally true. I’ve never had to put a stop to an argument, never had to be diplomatic about loving my children equally, never had to split my attention. All that changed when we got a dog.
From what I can tell, Laura and Moxie really love each other. They get along wonderfully and love to play together. When they are apart, they really miss each other. Laura races downstairs in the morning to let Moxie out of her crate. Moxie even tried to follow Laura into preschool one morning and whines when I come back from school without Laura. So they’ve gotten close. Most of the time, Laura talks about how much she loves Moxie.
The rest of the times, Moxie is merely a source of annoyance, a furry creature here to look menacingly at Laura and her toys. Moxie has never chewed anything that doesn’t belong to her, but she has on occasion made off with something soft and fuzzy that is not hers. Naturally these contraband items have always been Laura’s toys, a fact which does not escape Laura’s notice. Through shrieks of outrage at her toys being carried away in a dog’s mouth, Laura has more than once proclaimed that Moxie is mean to her.
Sometimes Moxie doesn’t even look at Laura’s toys, but at Laura herself. This prompts the accusatory shout of, “Moxie is looking at me!!” How am I supposed to put a stop to a dog looking at a child? Even better is, “Moxie is breathing on me!!” Now, I don’t particularly love being breathed on either, but again, what am I supposed to do? Usually the only solution I can offer is to tell Laura to move or go somewhere else. So naturally Laura’s mind led her to the only possible conclusion. Since I am always telling Laura to bend to Moxie’s will (move somewhere else if she breathes on you, don’t look at her and you won’t see her looking at you, etc), then I must love Moxie more than Laura.
Yep, in the middle of the vet’s waiting room not long ago, Laura turned to me and said in a quiet little voice, “You love Moxie more than you love me”. Uh oh. Thoughts raced through my mind, trying to figure out how to be diplomatic until it hit me. Moxie is a dog. This is so easy. I told her right there, in front of Moxie, that there was no question in my mind that I loved her so much more than Moxie. Laura smiled the sweetest smile, I sighed in relief, and Moxie breathed on my knee. We were all happy. Until we got home and Moxie looked at Laura again. Cue the shrieking.