I simply love it when the children and I have time to chat without distractions because it gives them the chance to air their little grievances. This morning Seth and Sarah were all ready for school with about 10 minutes to spare. I stood by the door watching for the bus while Seth sat on the floor and Sarah sat on the couch. The family dog was flat on the floor, sound asleep and exhausted after a busy day yesterday when he escaped through his hidden dog fence and ran around the neighborhood for hours. We have since figured out that his collar is broken so in the meantime, we were discussing how we cannot under any circumstances allow him go outside when the bus came, as he usually does, and having Parker as the topic of conversation reminded Seth of something that hurt his feelings…..and naturally, it was my fault.
From the floor, he spoke up. “Mom? MY favorite animal is the dog. Caleb’s favorite animal was the SNAKE but then as soon as I decided MY favorite animal was the DOG he changed HIS favorite animal to the dog, too.”
(Caleb is his big brother and almost 4 years older than Seth.)
I turned away from the window to look at him. “Well, you can both have dogs as your favorite animal, besides, I’m sure that Caleb still likes snakes better.” But as I said this I realized that Seth was correct; Caleb has become a Dog Expert and watches lots of videos on youtube about……dogs. And has been begging me…..for a dog of his own. Well, it’s beside the point. Having siblings means having to share your favorite things with them. Life isn’t fair, ya know.
“And I feel ignored….” Seth continued, wide eyed. “I feel ignored because now, when you see a dog, you say, ‘Caleb, look at the cute dog’ and….. I’m ignored.”
He began to get actual tears in his eyes over this thought. It was obvious it came right from the heart.
As he buried his face in his hands, ashamed to be crying, I looked at Sarah, shrugged my shoulders, and bugged out my eyes, meaning; “Can you believe this kid?” She raised her eyebrows at me and it quickly became clear she was on “his side.”
She said, in a lecturing tone, “Well, Mom, the name Caleb MEANS DOG.”
“All this is MY FAULT?” I asked.
“You could have named Caleb Seth and Seth Caleb.”
I was stunned. So I raised my arms and said dramatically, “I would like to apologize to the entire room, especially YOU Parker, because you ARE a dog and you have to listen to all this. From now on,” I turned back to Seth, “If you and Caleb are together with me and I see a dog, I’ll say SETH LOOK AT THE CUTE DOG.”
Parker is elderly now so it touched my heart that between the three of them, he was the only one to slowly creak to his feet and walk over to me in order to accept my apology and get his ears rubbed.
Seth was smiling again, no doubt imagining Caleb’s face when he realized Seth took back his favorite animal and he would no longer receive motherly notifications about dog sightings,
then……thank heavens…..the bus arrived.