I’m pretty good with dogs.
Jib is an extraordinarily well-behaved puppy. (Sure, he’s 9. I still call him a puppy.) He listens well, dutifully comes to me when I call him, he even carries the paper in for me on Wednesday mornings. And if he does occasionally do something that he shouldn’t, he at least has the decency to look ashamed about it.
“Lies. Jib never does anything bad.”
Part of Jib’s compliance may come from his general disposition, but I believe that no small amount comes from the time I’ve spent working with him. Teaching him right and wrong. What he’s allowed to do vs. what’s off-limits. Etc. etc.
And Alex is… Well, Alex is completely insane.
“Invisible bats are trying to eat my spleen. I need spleen armor. Fetch me 100 yards of Naugahyde and a box of glow necklaces. Stat.”
So I think that, because of my successes with Jib, I’m occasionally taken aback when my daughter refuses to “perform” things that she knows how to do. For example, some mornings she’ll copy almost every animal sound in the following video, and giggle while doing so:
But other mornings? Nope. Doesn’t feel like it. Forget it. Not doing it.
She just lies there and sucks her thumb, ignoring all my encouragements for her to sing along.
That’s enough singing, Daddy.
Now I realize that this is a very weird thing to say, but in these moments I have to remind myself that she is not, in fact, a dog. She will not perform “tricks” on command. She’s a little human being, with her own personality, moods and inclinations. (Each of which become increasingly apparent with every passing day.)
Her raison d’être is not to ensure that I’m happy with everything she does. It’s for her to be happy with everything she does. And if that means an occasional morning spent just listening to that stupid train go through the alphabet rather than singing along with it?
Well then, dammit, that’s how it’s gonna be. I’m not your monkey, Dad; get used to it.
Guess that means I should return the rawhide alphabet blocks and shock collar.