Monday, July 07, 2008

Tiny dogs and instincts

Tonight, JB had his 2nd screaming match with a little dog.

A few weeks ago, he was low to the ground and a dog barked at him and he threw all four limbs out to each side and screamed a yelp that was at once adorable and new- we had never heard anything like it in pitch or intensity. Also noteworthy was that though he was clearly startled, he did not fall apart or cry. He gave this (insufficiently described above) yelp and looked to us to get him up higher... the noise he created startled the dog into backing up a little too.

Tonight, a friend was holding him, introducing him to the dog (one of those little, white, fluffy jobs) and JB went, "Ahhhhh." Then when that didn't work, "AAAAAAaaaahhhhhhhhh." and finally, "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH." Again, he didn't start wailing or crying, but at that point, when I went to him, he grabbed me tightly around the neck. I reassured him and sat him down and we looked at the pooch together.

There is no doubt, he was a little frightened, but he was not terrified, or inconsolable, or unwilling to look and hang with the dog. It honestly seemed to me that he was warning the dog back, marking his space, and/or making his presence known. Once he knew we were with him, he even smiled at the tiny, furry, beast.

I am blown away by little kids; how they are all different, how they cope and learn. I love the animal instinct that played out in the scene described above and yet, I could practically see him "reasoning" his way through the experience. I don't know if this is just an isolated example, or emblematic his personality... something like, "I'm mellow, but don't mess with me, or I'll start barking."

Anyway, I could study this kid as a full time job. I think he's the bomb. I can't wait to find out all the ways he will grow and learn to push our buttons and become whoever he will be...

Sidebar about the "pushing our buttons" thing: Katy and I have been trying to teach JB to wave for weeks now. His cousin Cam (2 weeks younger) has been waving since before mother's day. JB claps and high-fives, but doesn't wave. Cam waves like miss america. She's got both the sweep-the-hand wave and the open-and-close-the-fingers wave. We sit them in front of each other and JB tries to slap Cam's waving hand to her discontented amazement. So, anyway, Katy and I wave hello, we wave goodbye. We move his hand to show him how to make the motions. We try to move his fingers open and closed. We play hello mama/mommy... goodbye mama/mommy for what seems like hours. He won't wave to us for anything. But 3 or 4 times now, we've caught him waving at things when he doesn't know we're looking... his bear, his blocks, and his new planet-mobile: hand opens, fingers spread and hanging out there, hand closes, hand opens- all fingers out, hand closes... It's an unmistakable wave.

We're like, "the little shit knows how to wave, he is just ignoring our begging... leaving us hanging... pretending he doesn't know what we are talking about."

Katy wants to get a t-shirt made for him that says, "I am not a circus animal."

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Duh, silly mommies! Of course he is not doing it just because you WANT him to. Kind of like how my 3yo sometimes pretends that she can't talk when we're in public and repeats "Mama, mama. juice, juice. Mama..." He's totally messin with you. That's sweet...