Humble Pie at the Playskool Kitchen

One dog forgets his size while the other requires an escort to the backyard.

Rufus and Scout. Amplifiers of chaos. Two extra children to raise.

When all hell breaks loose, Rufus and Scout are the first to get the boot.

“Scout! Kennel! Go!”

He’s too swift to spank; I tap him on the butt with the toe of my tennis shoe. He runs in the opposite direction. Hides under the dining room table. Freezes in the shadows until I finally get close enough to scoop him up and just carry him to his kennel.

He’s gone in a flash.

I give up.

“Fine,” I say. “Stay out. Whatever.” You’re small enough to not frighten anyone, though your yap is obnoxious.

Rufus at my feet – and legs and hips – turns in the hallway like a yellow school bus stuck on a one-lane country road. “Rufus, move!”

When he, like a horse at the stall door, is on the other side of the baby gate, I can finally open the door to greet whomever. Or entertain guests without “the boys” underfoot. Or play with Abigail and Izaak without snouts in our faces or gobs of dog hair rolling across the hardwood.

“These guys were your idea,” I tell Zach. But I know we both picked them, and they’re here for better or worse.

I’m tested, but I’m committed.

And now I’m committed to check my tone when the boys need correction, to keep my cool when all hell breaks loose.

Because, when at the play kitchen, Abigail microwaves a pink tea cup full of bouncy ball, Scout’s nose brushes her hand. She yells, “Scout! Go away!” She wags her finger at him. Looks at me for approval.

I once heard someone say if you ever need a reality check, listen to your child discipline her dolls.

Or, in this case, her dogs.

Suddenly, without knowing it, she’s serving up humble pie at the Playskool kitchen.

You better believe I’ll raise my voice when she bolts into the street. You better believe I’ll speak sternly when she tries her hand at slapping us, refusing bath-time.

But, when emotions bubble over, will my response to chaos teach Abigail the art of patience? The art of grace under pressure?

Her actions are her own, but, oh, how children mirror the ones they love.

Is my reflection Christlike?

Ps: for sizing reference, Rufus is a Collie and Scout is a Sheltie. And Abigail has officially entered the “terrible twos,” though I abhor that label. Maybe I’ll muse about that next week.

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