Yesterday, J’s first day at home for holiday break, was busy and yet not overwhelming. We actually managed to do two short runs with the Wii Fit and, by the second one, J was actually into it…my only problem was that he is motivated by my “keeping time” saying “one, two, one, two, one, two” so the second time around I was pretty out of breath because I have to run with him.
At around 11:30 (an hour or so after our “runs”,) I asked J to go for a walk with me and he happily changed his clothes and headed out the door, repeating the word “walk” as he went along. And then…
A rather large golden retriever roams the neighborhood from time to time. He is a sweet, old dog and seems like he’s not particularly interested in humans as food, entertainment or prey. This dog ambles around like this was his territory before all these houses were built; he bothers no one and no one bothers him. Of course, trying to explain this to J is virtually impossible because he is so afraid of dogs (especially big ones) that he totally blocks out whatever one is saying.
So, on a cloudy but pleasant morning, we walked out of townhouse to take a brisk walk and there was the dog, as big and brown-ish as ever with a pleasantly clueless look on his face. J retreated, squealing and screeching, as if the hound of the Baskervilles was on his heels. Between the two rows of townhouses, while the dog cluelessly loped around in J’s general vicinity, my son and I performed a ballet that could best be described as comical. It was more Donald O’Connor than Gene Kelly…skilled, gracefully athletic, but funny nonetheless.
Have I mentioned that J and I have a two-inch height difference? He is now taller than I am, and he definitely outweighs me. I am not a delicate flower growing in a field, but he outweighs me by about a hundred pounds. I am strong, but J is stronger and, when anxious, a lot more determined to climb on top of me than I am to keep him with his feet firmly planted on the ground. When we met this dog outside our townhouse yesterday, I was the pole and J was the pole dancer…if you see something similar posted in You Tube, it might be us, captured by a neighbor’s cell phone camera.
We retreated. We, in fact, retreated in Keystone Kops fashion to the safety of our home. That there wasn’t a J-shaped hole on the door is a miracle. He controlled his fear long enough to let me use a key, but when he came inside he ran to the middle of the kitchen saying “Ikohkay…I-fahn” which translates to “I’m OK. I’m fine.” He walked around repeating this and made no move to change into his pajamas again, instead he came to the family room and sat on the couch, looking like The Beatles when they finally get on the train at the beginning of A Hard Day’s Night. I sat next to him and told him I totally understood how he felt, and I apologized for not checking if the dog was around before stepping out.
Five minutes later, J said “walk” and stood up with great determination. I have to admit I was more apprehensive about attempting this outing than J was. I asked him if he was sure and he repeated his request quite firmly, only this time he grabbed his Slinky for company and protection. Yes, the whole Indiana-Jones’-whip thing. (I’m starting to wonder if his Rasta hat is a fedora and his fleece jacket a leather one…the Slinky is, quite obviously, a weapon.) I opened the door and instructed him to wait on the porch. I took a few steps out into the middle of the street and looked both ways. No dog. I waved J towards me and he skipped out, immediately holding my arm (though not tightly) as he arrived at my side. “No dog” I said and signed, and we walked. For a few minutes that was our operating plan…steps, wave, catch up, walk… The dog was nowhere in sight and we completed our walk in peace and, thank you, quite happily. The overenthusiastic chihuahua we met on our way back seemed like small potatoes compared to “the Beast” we met on our first attempt.
So today we are once more in a short battle of wills (noodles, no, you know the drill) and then we’ll do our short Wii Fit runs and take our walk around the neighborhood…checking the horizon for dogs first, of course.
As I finish this entry, J is sitting on the couch, his feet resting on our coffee table while he listens to a classical music TV station. It’s back-to-back Haydn and there’s a huge smile of pleasure on my son’s face as he leans against the pillows with his eyes closed.
Maybe, in his mind, Indiana J is outwitting a horde of dogs…with his Slinky.