Damn It Lillie and the Play Group Intervention


Christmas cookies baked with loving hands and paws.

Christmas cookies baked with loving hands and paws.

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.

17 thoughts on “Damn It Lillie and the Play Group Intervention

  1. That’s amazing haha. Romulus and Remus is quite the nice reference. But they do grow up very fast don’t they and yet the love between a dog and child never changes as they get older.

  2. Oh my yes. They do grow up fast. Very amusing. I chuckled out loud at the “Damn it Lillie” I raised two baby bluejays who were abandon, or orphaned. JayJay actually learned to mimic my words. He talked and thought he was human. My hubby, who startles easily, would yell “Damn You!” every time our little dog barked and startled him. ;) To my dismay, JayJay picked it up and would yell it, back in his little bird voice.

  3. What a great story of friendship. I love the damn it Lillie comment, because one of my former cats must have thought his real name was “Boris no” the first year of his life.

    And I had to laugh out loud at the playdate part. I tried to take part in those large group playdates but I didn’t do well there. I can’t stand small talk and the constant developmental comparisons drove me nuts!

  4. I’m glad we’ve outgrown playgroups in our house, but the “playgroup” that I loved was one I attended when my oldest daughter was an infant, simply because it allowed me to commiserate with the other moms about not getting any sleep.

  5. I think my two (now grown) boys may still prefer our golden retriever’s company to each other’s–and certainly to mine. I firmly believe everyone should have a pet. I can’t always say the same about children. ;-)

    Thanks for the smile.

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