Monday, September 19, 2011

Anger Management

"Life is too short to hold a grudge, also too long." -Robert Brault

I can't stay mad at the dog. I just can't. My daughter, however, is a different story.

But why? Why do I come home to a steaming turd sitting on the floor, courtesy of Luna, yet feel guilty scolding her?

If my daughter committed an equally naughty offense, I still wouldn't be over it hours later. Days even.

Let me paint a poop-colored picture for you: Peanut and I came home from a day of work and daycare (I do pickup.) Peanut goes in first while I empty the car. I follow. We greet Luna and give her the love and affection she's been craving for ten hours.

But on this particular day something I spotted out of the corner of my eye interrupted our reunion...

A dogsh!t surprise at the edge of the area rug, right by the fireplace. (I will spare you a picture.) As soon as I saw it, I shouted, "LUNA, NO." And she knew.

Immediately, her mood changed. Her ears and tail dropped. She slinked away. Then as I said, "BAD GIRL," she started nervously wagging her tail. She knew she was in trouble. She knew she had done something wrong.

There was probably a thunderstorm or something that spooked her during the day. This happens a few times a year. Doesn't make it any less annoying to come home to.

Look at that punum.
How can I stay mad at her?
I grabbed Luna, in case she had forgotten about the pile of crap she had left for me. (I had no idea how long ago she did it. And I wasn't about to call in the CSI folks.) I made sure she saw what I was upset about. (Even though I hate doing that.) I told her "NO. BAD DOG," again.

Then I carried her to the bathroom and shut her in there in time out while I cleaned it. You could tell she was sorry because she didn't whine the whole time she was in there.

And that's why I feel bad punishing Luna. Remorse. She is so sorry. She loves us so much, unconditionally. And when she does something she thinks jeopardizes that love (it doesn't), she feels awful. All she wants is forgiveness.

The Peanut, on the other hand, could care less about seeking forgiveness or feeling remorse. She recently threw a hissy fit over the fact that I had cut in half the piece of chocolate chip banana bread I was giving her AS A TREAT for her first day of pre-K. Oh, the horror.

The offending slice
She completely lost her mind. Screaming, "That's not how I want it." And "That's not how mommy does it." (Nice to make me feel inadequate... again.) Over a piece of CHOCOLATE CHIP banana bread for a pre-dinner snack. Usually, I can get her to calm down. But this being the first day back to school, she was extra tired. Thus, my normally tranquil Peanut had morphed into Little Miss Spazzypants.

I told her she couldn't have the banana bread until she stopped crying and apologized. She wasn't stopping.  I walked away to cook dinner. When I heard her finally calm down, I went over to explain to her what had gone wrong. I was even going to offer her the banana bread again, unsliced, despite the meltdown. IF she apologized. You know what she did instead? Kicked me. (I sense a disturbance in the force.)

As I write this, I'm getting angry all over again and it happened almost two weeks ago.

You know why? No remorse. In her eyes, I was wrong. I had made her upset by cutting the banana bread in half. How dare I? Then I was at fault again by taking it away. The nerve.

That's why I hold grudges against the Peanut. Even long after the tantrum. Even long after she's moved on and is in a good mood again. Even then, I'm looking at her through squinted eyes and with furrowed brow. I'm still hanging on to that anger and frustration.

The sorry she eventually offered wasn't really a sorry. No remorse. She could learn a thing or two from her canine older sister.

My wife often jokes she'd rather get a second puppy than have a second child. One of these days, I just may take her seriously.

Then again, Luna would be devastated. And I really couldn't bear upsetting her.

Can you guess where the Peanut gets her inability to apologize? That's right.


  1. Glad to know its not just me, or my kid...

  2. Here's the thing, you can't be upset with Luna, she was locked in the house for 10 HOURS! What was she going to do, in a way you felt bad that you left her alone for that long. Now if you left your daughter there for that long, don't worry I won't tell DYFS, you would feel the same way. Maybe you should send Luna to daycare too. It's gotta be cheap right?

  3. No, Ashley. You are not alone. And Luna would never kick me...especially if I were going to give her love.

  4. I knew I should have just gotten a dog. They don't have those evil eyes..... I refer to my three year old as Mayhem, the tiny terrorist.

  5. John, the dog is trained not to go in the house and does it as a very last resort. It's wrong and bad no matter what the circumstances. Stop being so soft.

  6. Clearly Luna has been taking the same How To Be Both Demanding And Ungrateful In The Same Sentence While Blaming Parents For Your Behavior workshops as my son! Honestly, the only thing that keeps me sane sometimes is reading blogs like this to remind me that I'm not the only one.


  7. Little point here, which you may or may not agree with. While coming into the house and seeing something like this is not the best thing in the world telling the dog no accomplishes nothing. From what i have read when i was training my Siberian Husky is that if you do not correct the dog within the first 5 seconds of the event happening then they have absolutely no idea why on earth you are shouting at them, not even if you are pointing out the poo, they can't think like humans.

    However i can see why you got upset about it, i would to. We have been very lucky with our dog and only had these little events happen twice in total, and both times was as a puppy and was our fault for not letting him out after he had eaten his dinner.

  8. Yeah we've read all of the books too. I'm not sure I agree with that. If you show a dog the mess and then tell them no, they're not stupid. I mean, it's still a dog...but it has some brains in there. it knows it shouldn't do what it did.

  9. Quite possibly just going on what i've read but like i said above, i have not had much experience of this since it's only happened to us twice as a pup (cross fingers)

  10. My daughters are the same exact way. EXACTLY. Glad to hear I am not the only one suffering through this guilt driven experience.

  11. Sorry J.... I gotta side with John and Ben. They're both right. It serves no purpose to yell at Luna. Dogs have no clue why you are yelling after that long a period. Even showing them the big turd (probably little in Luna's case) isn't gonna do anything.... except for Luna to say to herself... "Poop must be bad. I shouldn't poop at all, yet I can't stop from having to do it... I'm so confused... Oh I need a bone to make these problems go away"

    Oh and having a daughter.. somedays I'd trade mine for three more sons, rowdy sons at that.

    Better not slice her bananna bread again my friend. This time it was a kick, next time it could be a bat.


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