We have a set of Irish Twins in our family. Only, one has two legs and strawberry blonde hair and the other has strawberry blonde hair, four legs, a tail and is named Lillie.
“How come I only have a dog for a sister?” is the question asked on a regular basis by the two-legged child.
The two are nine-months apart in age. Sure, we were living the American dream with a cute little golden retriever puppy and a baby on the way. Only the cute little puppy ate her way through the house the way a gopher tunnels through a bountiful garden.
Despite the carnage, our four-legged child was a huge source of entertainment for the two-legged child.
“Let’s play eat the baby’s socks.”
“Now, let’s play take the baby’s shirt off while she giggles incessantly.”
“And, let’s play gnaw on a raw hide bone loudly every night in the nursery while we listen to mommy read, Guess How Much I Love You.”
Our two golden peas in a pod were the cat’s meow until the two-legged child squatted in the neighbor’s lawn during an evening stroll mirroring the four-legged child relieving herself as only canine’s do.
The two-legged child even learned how to table surf as she crawled onto the top of the counter to snatch a piece of pizza.
One of my biggest fears was that my toddler daughter would grow up thinking her name was “Damn it Lillie!”
In the best interest of socializing an only child and saving her from a life as Romulus and Remus, I succumbed to the play group for some two-legged child to two-legged child interaction.
It took me 35 years and hundreds of first and last dates to finally tie-the-knot, so the mere mention of the word, “date” sent shrills up my spine as I’m not exactly a social creature.
Play groups are an interesting phenomenon.
Long ago, in a land far away, when home-keeping ruled, children roamed the neighborhood in packs. Dolls were played in the morning, lunch was in the backyard where the pack landed, bikes were ridden in the afternoon and kick-the-can or ghost in the graveyard was played until dark – or until mom and dad finished cocktail hour with the neighbors.
Times changed, women found a new independence in birth control pills, burned their bras and turned them in for brief cases and very tall corporate ladders. The new, improved organized mother was born along with the play date.
Not unlike my many socially awkward “dates,” it was like pulling teeth to get my two-legged child to interact with the other play group participants.
As she remained clamped to my leg, another bad habit gleaned from the four-legged child, I engaged in mompetion-type conversations comparing walking, talking, toilet-training and toddler MENSA test scores as she observed how two-legged children behave.
A play date was considered a success if my two-legged child didn’t eat someone else’s socks, scoot her behind on the carpet or God forbid, bite someone.
Almost a decade later, the two are inseparable as ever. The toddler has grown into a civilized tween who no longer table surfs and is responsible enough to walk, feed and nurture the four-legged child.
Damn it Lillie – you both grew up way too fast.