Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Walk in the Park

"No symphony orchestra ever played music like a (little) girl laughing with a puppy." -Bern Williams

Walking the dog is not what it used to be. Not what it was two years ago. Heck, not what it was two months ago.

Best picture ever taken of Luna
Two months ago, we'd venture out into the dark... winter's chill still hanging in the air. I'd use a flashlight to locate my little black dog and her little brown poop.

I would go alone.

But spring has sprung... which means my dark, solitary walks with Luna are no longer in the dark and are certainly no longer solitary.

"Daddy, may I please come with you on your walk?"

How could I possibly resist that?

So she comes. But before she does, she has to "get ready." And by "get ready," I mean she has to "get her stuff."

Her shoes need to be located, her Lammie needs to be located, her toy baby stroller needs to be located.

The ultimate walking companion
Meanwhile, the dog waits patiently by the door, looking up at me with her sweet haunting puppy eyes as if to say, "I thought this was our quality time together... why is she coming?" (side note: when reading my dog's voice, you must do it as if she's a middle aged Hispanic man. Think Cheech Marin. This is the voice I gave her even though she's a female Asian breed and I'm Italian-American).

The dog starts to whine as my daughter scours the house looking for a toy to take for her Lammie to have while she pushes her in the stroller.

I try to tell her that Luna has to "go," and is waiting... but this just makes her eat up more time.

When we're finally out the door, my daughter insists on going first. This means we're walking so slowly we might as well be going backwards... because she has to stop at every raised portion of sidewalk and lift her toy stroller over it so she doesn't hit the bump. And the dog looks up at me as if to say, "See what you've done? This used to be nice." (Did you do it in the Cheech Marin voice?)

Luckily, our street dead ends into the park (major selling point) so all we have to do to get there is walk down the block. But walking down the block with my daughter is like walking through midtown Manhattan with Derek Jeter. Anyone and everyone wants to stop and say hello. Not that I'm complaining. She deserves - and demands - the attention.

Walks used to be this easy
It used to be, when I walked Luna as a puppy, people would constantly stop us on the street to pet her because "she's so cuuuute." I called her the mayor of our town. How times have changed.

We get to the park and Luna wants to go one way, and my daughter wants to go the other. Every time. Without fail.

Now, I'm one of those dog owners who lets his dog off the leash in the park. Yeah... that guy. Why? Because she listens to me, is friendly, and pays little to no attention to other dogs. Problem is, when my daughter is with us, and she's running off ahead in one direction and the dog is sniffing around in the other direction, I get a little frantic inside.

"Stay close, honey," I shout as calmly as possible to my daughter. I then yell to the dog to "come... this way." At the uttering of those two commands, Luna slowly makes her way towards me. When she's within reach, I put on her leash. Her tail drops and she gives me another look of disgust as if to say, (cue the Cheech) "You have ruined my life with this little girl, you know."

Uh... put down the camera and catch up to your daughter
Once my dog is leashed and my panic has subsided, we walk...  together... kind of. I still have to occasionally shout "stay close" but no longer have to bridge the distance between the two of them. And then... the running ahead becomes a walking ahead... and she eventually asks me if I could carry her stroller.

When I resist, she asks me to carry her.

"Sweetie, this is a walk. So we're walking."

So now I'm carrying the stroller... and the dog hasn't even pooped yet.

Since we got the dog when we still lived in the city, she's used to taking walks to go number two. She still won't go in our yard. And she takes her sweet time.

My girls... both high maintenance in their own ways
When she finally goes, my daughter makes a big deal out of it. She has to come over and count the turds before I pick them up. Then we have to sing the instrumental part of "You Can't Touch This" while Luna does her post-poop MC Hammer dance.

The poop seems to energize the both of them because we're basically sprinting out of the park at this point. Once again she has run way ahead of me, and the panicky feeling returns. I am, of course, holding the toy stroller and a bag of feces, in addition to the dog's leash. My pockets are also filled with whatever toys my daughter had brought along and since discarded and any "pretty leaves for mommy" she has picked up along the way.

This is why they invented cargo shorts.

A simple, otherwise mundane task like walking the dog is never simple and mundane with a four year-old.

1 comment:

  1. Chase thinks he is a dog. Every time Diesel takes a poop he squats down next to him and pretends to poop also. Then hs screams "Daddy pick up my pooop" (three times) no matter how many people are around staring at this little boy with species-confusion problem.

    I'd trade for Penelope's walk ritual any day.

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