When I saw the sign on Ms. Evelyn’s preschool door that it was Pet Week, I should have just walked away.
But that was when the Mommy Guilt reared its ugly head and I found myself signing up to bring Ike into school for show-and-tell on Friday.
Ike, formerly known as The Devil: our 75 pound black-lab mix, adopted from the Humane Society six years ago. The dog who once tried to exhume a freshly buried dead basset hound next door. The dog who once ate an entire popcorn garland in the making… string, needle, and all. The dog who once ate a full box of crayons and shit a rainbow. The dog who attacked the new mailman who was just trying to deliver a children’s book entitled The Kissing Hand.
Long story short, Ike is not the most well-behaved dog in the world. Certainly not the kind of dog that most intelligent parents would willingly bring into a room full of three year olds.
But poor Bucket Head, I thought to myself. He’s the third kid… I never have time or energy (or desire) to do anything special with him. I’m going to bring his dog into school and watch him bask in the glow of being in the spotlight for once. It’s going to be great! Boo-ya!
It wasn’t great.
Don’t worry — no children or teachers or school supplies were hurt in the process. He didn’t gobble up a child’s lunchbox or poop in the classroom. He didn’t even hump the pillows in the reading center. It wasn’t that bad. But it definitely wasn’t what I expected.
First of all, I wasn’t expecting that one of the kids would be absolutely terrified of dogs. When we burst into that preschool classroom, cute little Carmella jumped onto one of the tables and started screaming at the top of her lungs “I’m scared! I’m scared! Help me Ms. Evelyn! Don’t let him get me!”
Ike doesn’t really like screaming. He doesn’t even like singing. This is a dog who assumes the pounce position and immediately starts to bark whenever it gets too noisy at home. So Carmella’s little freak show was definitely not going to get our visit started on the right paw.
Let me illustrate the scene with a little math equation for my engineering friends:
1 spastic dog + 1 screaming preschooler = chaos ²
Never fear. I brought a secret weapon! In my hand I had a little quart-sized plastic baggie filled with dog biscuits. My plan was to have Ike sit and let the children approach him one by one to give him a treat. In my mind, I had this fantasy of Ike calmly doing all his tricks… sit, stay, down, shake, speak… one after the other. The children and teachers would ooh and ahh over how smart he is. And Bucket Head would get to show all his friends that he is the coolest kid ever for having such a smart dog and fun mom!
What really happened is that Ike pulled me so hard into the classroom that I dropped the baggie onto one of the tables and was using both hands, arms, and legs to corral him away from screaming Carmella and over toward the circle-time rug. While I was doing this, Bucket Head sauntered over to the baggie, opened it, and emptied all the dog biscuits onto the table. All twelve of those three year olds (every one except Carmella) ran to that table like a SpongeBob piñata had just exploded. Before I could even open my mouth to intervene, the kids had circled me and Ike and had started throwing the biscuits at us. You probably know this already, but three year olds don’t have the best aim. Ike caught a few of the biscuits though, and the ones he couldn’t catch, he just lunged for like a starved tiger, practically ripping my arm off with each fevered pounce. I kept trying to get the kids to back away with the treats but the scenario had downgraded from a melee to a feeding frenzy, and it was really hard to hear over Carmella’s cries from on top of the table. Once the biscuits ran out, Ike started to bark for more. Ike has a really loud bark. And Carmella didn’t like the sound of Ike’s big boy bark.
Just like what happens with every piñata, there was that one kid who didn’t get any treats to give to the dog. And naturally, that one kid was pretty upset about it. He did what any three year old would do in that situation; he started bawling like Carmella.
The two teachers in the room were pretty busy at this point soothing the two crying kids, and Ike was starting to foam at the mouth from the all the excitement. It was clearly time to go.
It really hadn’t been the show-and-tell fantasy I had hoped it would be. But luckily, Bucket Head looked none the worse for wear. As we were leaving, I overheard his best friend say to another boy: “I’ve been to Bucket Head’s house lots of times and Ike really likes me.” The other boy said “Lucky!” So maybe it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Next time though, I’m definitely bringing the cat.
With big slobbery dog kisses,
© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.