penny in a castle

A digital chapbook.

My life as a dog

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My mother loved to tell stories.  She especially liked to tell us stories about how we had done funny things as kids.  I think the memories helped her laugh through the hard times.  It helped her to remember us when were younger, less serious and more imaginative.

One of her favourites that she would pull out regularly was about my middle brother. Sometime around age three or four (it’s hard to know because we are all ageless in these stories) he started to act like a dog.  Not just for a few hours but for months on end.  And he was pretty thorough about it as well – barking, jumping up on people, running around on all fours.  He didn’t just pretend to be a dog – he was the complete embodiment of “dog.”  Great method actors could have learned a thing or two from him.

As a six or seven year old I found this behaviour highly embarrassing.  I walked 10 feet behind him and my mom (who refrained from putting him on a leash – although I’m sure it was tempting at times).  Mom didn’t have a driver’s license and we took the bus everywhere – to the store, to the library, to the doctors.  I refused to sit anywhere near them and pretended they didn’t exist.  If you had asked me about it, I would have said “What, that kid over there that’s acting like a dog? Don’t know him.”

They say what goes around comes around.

I’m a firm believer in that.

My youngest son has always had an affinity for what he calls “puppies.”  Ever since he was a toddler when he was good, he would tell us he was being a puppy (rather than a pickle, which is what we would call him when he was not so good).  He loves to pet dogs he meets on the streets – although he prefers not to be licked, thank you very much.  And his favourite stuffed animals to take to bed are puppies of many shapes and colours (although one who is called “puppy” looks more like a rat or kangaroo, but who am I to argue?)

Recently though, he has begun to act like a dog.  He asks to be called “Arf-Arf.” (Not terribly original I know).  He barks and sticks his tongue out, panting.  He frequently walks on all fours and barks.  If I don’t watch him, he will eat bits of food off the floor.  Occasionally, instead of kissing me, he licks me (which frankly, I’m not thrilled with).

So far we haven’t had any calls from the kindergarten teacher concerned about the transformation of their student. As far as I know he hasn’t bitten anyone (thank goodness).

The behaviour is a bid odd, occasionally embarrassing, and yet at the same time so cute and hilarious that it can’t help but make me smile.  I now understand why my Mom let my brother be a dog as long as he wanted to – while it lasted for months, it still wasn’t long before he went on to the next thing. Which turned out to be a team of troublesome imaginary friends that needed to be consulted for every activity.

Already my own son seems to be out growing his puppyhood – as he has recently taken to pretending to be Captain Raptor the space pirate dinosaur.

Life moves on quickly enough and children grow up too soon.  I know my life as the mother of a dog won’t last long – but I’m hoping my kids continue to share their imaginary worlds with me as long as they continue to explore them.

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Written by pennyinacastle

February 23, 2015 at 3:32 am

Posted in Random thoughts

Tagged with , ,

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