Tag Archives: little kids

Dog Park Rookie

When I got a dog I was excited to start going to the dog park. I thought it might be just like going to the playground with little kids, standing around shooting the breeze with other parents. In fact it’s been so long since I’ve lingered at a playground that I thought the dog park might be a fun way to get back into the flow of information.

Boy was I wrong. The dog park is a different world with its own set of rules and customs. I am so out of my depth at the dog park, both functionally and socially, that it’s like there’s an invisible fence around it, and my collar is set to the wrong frequency. I keep getting zapped.

On Sunday I was standing around talking to the dog moms and dads when seven dogs attacked mine. I mean like an eight dog pile up, teeth bared. I didn’t know what to do (a theme of mine as a dog owner), so I grabbed him out of the mess, expecting the others to do the same and then come hug me. That’s how it works on the playground: everyone rallies around the victim and scolds the assailant. When my kids have been on the wrong side of this situation I apologize, then make them apologize. If skin or bones have been broken, I might send cookies.

Not at the dog park. The dog park is Lord of the Flies. Keeping their hugs to themselves, the other dog parents explained to me that their dogs were attacking mine because he was running around with a leash still attached. It made him seem weak. In effect, he seemed like a wimp and was kind of asking for it.

My thoughts raced to the playground, to the kid with the runny nose and the collared shirt who always got picked on. I couldn’t believe it: my dog was that kid. I’d left his leash on so that I might have an easier time catching him if he ran off, him being fast like lightening and me being slow like me. In effect, I was that mom overdressing her kid for the playground, interrupting his play to administer juice boxes and sunscreen. I was killing his chances of being cool.

When I had little kids I knew better. I’d send them to the playground in t-shirts with trucks on them, the bigger the trucks the better. They wore sneakers that lit up and brought their own gear to the sandbox, plus extra gear to attract friends. This is the language of the playground, and I was fluent.

On the playground we made little of each others’ kids’ frailties because we needed to make friends. Maybe that lady’s kid didn’t share, but if she was the first adult I’d spoken to in five hours I’d overlook it. But people in the dog park aren’t trying to make friends. They don’t need friends; they have dogs. In the dog world things happen quickly, the balance can be upset in an instant. They don’t have time to be nice about it and then bad mouth you after you leave, playground-style. Stuff at the dog park is nipped right in the bud.

One nice thing about dog park people is they don’t brag about their dogs. I used to leave the playground completely downtrodden after hearing how everyone’s first grader had breezed through the entire Harry Potter series. The only bragging I hear from dog owners is from the rescuers who tell a lot of stories about how bad off that dog was when he’d been rescued. I embellish my rescue story a little to gain some street cred. To no avail.

So Apollo and I aren’t cool at the dog park. In fact he makes a habit of sneaking up on strangers and peeing on their sandals. He’s that kid, but we’re working on it. I have admitted to myself that he’s the least cool of my sons. But he’s off the leash and we keep going back. I just ordered a fanny pack online, so I figure that should help.

Is Anyone Else Tired?

Remember when that new, zealous guy started work at your office? The one who thought it would be more productive to come in a few minutes earlier and stay a few minutes later? Next thing you knew, your nine-to-five job was eight-to-six, for the same pay. I wonder if this is what’s happened to motherhood.… Continue Reading

Jigsaw Puzzles With Toddlers

If you’ve ever done a jigsaw puzzle with a two year old, you know what it means to run through the entire range of human emotions. You hope, you cringe, you pull your hair out. At some point, you’ll be disgusted, elated and then relieved. It’s a worthy exercise, and its success depends on your… Continue Reading

Greatest Mother in the World Spotted in YMCA Parking Lot

As published in the Rye Record on January 22, 2016 I saw a woman leaving the YMCA yesterday with a baby strapped to her chest, another, slightly larger one in a stroller, and a three year old holding her hand. She was infested with small children. I stopped to watch. How in the world are… Continue Reading

Nine Years on the God Squad

As Published in The Rye Record on June 9, 2014 I think it’s kind of funny that the same culture that thinks seven-year-old kids need a snack in the middle of a sporting event also expects those same kids to top off a six hour school day with 75 minutes of religious instruction. Imagine being… Continue Reading

Survivor: The Birthday Party

For my oldest son’s fourth birthday I took 15 kids on safari in my backyard. I transformed the space into the African savanna and led them all in pith helmets and sunglasses on the adventure of their lifetimes. I was living in New York City at the time, and took three separate trips downtown to… Continue Reading

As Time Goes By, I May Be Getting Older

As published in The Rye Record on June 7, 2013 I just saw my 7-year-old neighbor driving his parents’ car down the street. I did what any thinking, responsible adult would do. I rolled down my window, scrunched up my face, and asked, “What the heck are you doing?” “I got my driver’s license,” he… Continue Reading

The Hot Seat

As published in The Rye Record on March 15, 2013 Is there anything more awkward than the parent-teacher conference? It embodies all the stress and apprehension of a performance review with the added discomfort of being perched on a teeny tiny chair. Like most moms, I’ve squirmed in my fair share of these chairs, waiting… Continue Reading

How Legos Can Save the World

As published in The Rye Record on March 1, 2013 I had a pretty productive stay-cation over February break. I cleaned out three closets, gained two pounds, and rekindled my love affair with Legos. My 6-year-old pulled out that beautiful old box of colorful bricks, and I heard Peaches and Herb singing “Reunited.” It really… Continue Reading

Mastering the Bigger Game

As published in The Rye Record on February 10, 2013 Last weekend I met a high school basketball coach who told me, “We are not here to help your kids win. We are here to help them grow up.” I tensed the muscles in my arms to keep me from throwing them around this man. How… Continue Reading

Pin It on Pinterest