Tiny-Small wants to get married to Underdog. She’s already planning the wedding and says they are going to have ten kids. Which seems entirely possible since one of them is a dog. Tiny-Small has some funny notions about weddings and marriage. For instance, she thinks dancing alone is a binding, marriage contract and that the state of New Mexico recognizes marriage between a human and a cartoon dog. I’m not going to break the news to her that both of her assumptions are false until she’s at least 16.
She does, however, have some concerns about being married to a dog. For instance just this morning she said, “You can’t get in love unless you brush your teeth. Nobody wants to kiss you if you have dog breath. I hope Underdog brushes his teeth like I do.” I’m kind of shocked that she is worrying about kissing and getting in love at the ripe old age of four, but since it’s with a cartoon dog I feel pretty safe about it.
Dog breath is a serious concern. As a child who lives with three dogs, she knows first hand how bad dog breath can be. I am pretty sure she’ll be handing out tooth-brush wedding favors at their reception. Maybe she’ll even schedule a pre-honeymoon teeth cleaning for her canine paramour. I know I would.
The funny thing is I know exactly how Tiny-Small feels. When I was a kid I fell in love with several cartoon characters. The one that comes to mind first is Justin, a rat, from The Secret of Nimh. I would have married him in a heartbeat if I could have. He was so gallant and brave. Like a knight in shining rat armor protecting Mrs. Brisby from all of the mean rats. Remember them? They had been given some toxic potion in an experiment that turned them into highly intelligent, furry beings. Or they were electrocuted or something. It’s all sort of fuzzy. Probably because I only had eyes for Justin. Anyway they were kind of like the rat versions of Spider Man…another character I wanted to marry. Justin seemed like the ideal man, except for the whole being a rat thing. He still does in some ways.
Tiny-Small is in love with Underdog at the age of four and brushing her teeth meticulously in preparation for the day they meet in person, dance, and fly away together. It’s lovely. I am happy for her. As the future mother of the bride I am all a glow.
I’m also glad she is brushing her teeth. Even if it is just to prevent having dog breath. Because we all benefit from that, except for the dentist. He won’t be buying a yacht because of us. Underdog is keeping us out of trouble already!
There’s no need to fear–
Underdog is here!
With fresh breath, fluoride, and a side of dental floss.
Loco-Lou-Lou (yes, Jim, I know it should be loca, but you try explaining that to a toddler) is our puppy. If you have read previous posts you are well aware of that by now, but for all you newbies out there she is a little maniac of a dog and my daughter loves her. She loves her to pieces. They might even be soul mates. Anyway, Loco had to spend 24 hours at the veterinarian clinic because she was spayed.
The entire time Loco was gone my daughter looked for her. She looked under the bed, outside, in the bathroom, in the shower stall, and even in the basement. She called her, “Loco,whe awww uuuu?” She asked us, “Loco?” It was just heart breaking. I tried to explain to her that Loco was at the vets getting an operation. I tried to convey that everything was going to be OK and that Loco would be home in the morning. My endless talking would satisfy her for a while, but after some time had passed her search would resume.
It can be very frustrating communicating with a toddler at times. It’s like we are speaking two different languages and I am never certain that she understands what I am saying. This got me thinking about how difficult it must be for her to articulate her sense of loss. Loco was gone and she missed her. She was sad and she couldn’t really share that with anybody. Several months ago our dog Yoda-Booda was run over by our neighbor. She died, but we have plenty of home movies of her playing, rolling around on the floor, and chasing her own tail. To our daughter, Yoda-Booda just went outside and never came back. We will probably never know what Tiny-Small thought or felt because by the time she is able to express herself she probably won’t really remember enough to say anything about it. Now, when she sees Yoda-Booda in our home movies, she asks, “Booda?” I tell her that Booda died, but she has no concept of death. She just looks up at me with her big blue eyes and says, “Dies?” The whole time Loco was gone I feared that our daughter thought she was gone for good. I couldn’t bare to imagine the pain she was enduring silently and alone. She understood that dogs could leave and never come back because she had seen that happen. She didn’t quite grasp that Loco might be gone for only a day, but it was obvious she also couldn’t accept that she was gone for good.
The next morning was one of the happiest reunions I have witnessed in my lifetime. Loco-Lou-Lou came in the front door and ran straight to my daughter. My daughter was screaming “Loco-Loco-Loco!” and then she knelt down and threw her arms around her much missed and adored puppy and buried her face in her fur. She was beaming with happiness. For the rest of the day Loco and my daughter were stuck together like glue. It really is something to see the bond that can develop between a little girl and her dog. It’s a very special relationship and one I am so grateful my daughter gets to partake in. What a lucky little girl and a lucky little puppy. They get to experience true love at such an early age.