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?
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|
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.