I always enjoy babysitting our grandchildren and pet sitting our grandpuppy Buddy, the Golden Doodle. MG on the other hand feels nervous about being responsible for the kids and feels more at ease when only pet sitting Buddy.
MG’s relaxed attitude toward Buddy may have something to do with the fact that MG can make Buddy mind him with little or no resistance and that the little guy is satisfied with a plain old dog biscuit for a treat. The grandchildren, however, require more patience and negotiating skills and much more elaborate treats to satisfy their taste buds.
When our Second Son and wife planned to take their ten-year-old second born to Washington, DC, for his turn to visit the seat of the federal government, they asked us to spend the Memorial Day Weekend sitting with their three remaining children and the family dog. I was certain I had hit a motherlode that I could mine for a blog post. Surely the little rugrats would misbehave, fight, say something naughty, and/or get into non-stop mischief. I mentally rubbed my hands together with anticipated glee.
MG departed for a three-day golf outing in the midst of what was a four-day weekend and left me on my own to wrangle the rugrats. He appeared immensely relieved to be on his way.
Today [Tuesday] is the last day of my tenure as sitter, and nothing has gone as expected. To my utter dismay, the diabolical rugrats have betrayed me on an unprecedented scale.
They are behaving beautifully. I don’t understand it. Either something is seriously wrong with them or they are engaging in a sinister conspiracy to drive me insane.
They play games without whining or fighting.
They pick up their toys and games and put them away.
They eat everything I put in front of them.
They shower and go to bed at night when told without asking to stay up later.
They actually did their chores without complaint when reminded.
They were even helpful to me with my chores.
What fresh hell is this? Thus far, the weekend is a complete disaster! I have nothing gross or amusing to write about. How is that possible?
Hold on—a phone call is coming in from the middle school. It’s my elder granddaughter, The Princess. She forgot to take her gym bag and phys ed is in thirty minutes. Would I please take it to her at school? At last, an imperfection, albeit not a drastic one. Unfortunately, she was so sweet and grateful when I arrived with the gym bag, I couldn’t be angry with her. Damn. I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up.
Just when I resigned myself to the fact that the weekend was a total loss blogwise, the one inhabitant of the household that I expected to be the least of my problems was the one who came to my rescue—dear, sweet, affectionate little Buddy.
I was alone with Buddy after the school busses whisked the rugrats away. I had an entire day of solitude to deal with the revisions to my current work in progress—or so I thought. Whenever Buddy needed to be let out to answer nature’s call, he had been trained to ring a bell. It’s a cowbell. It’s a huge, loud, annoying cowbell hanging from a cord beside the back door. It’s a very huge, very loud, and maddening cowbell that Buddy rang incessantly, destroying my concentration.
When Buddy came to the door to be let back in, he was covered with mulch and tree droppings that clung to his fur. I couldn’t let him in the house without an intense brushing to remove all the debris caught in his fur. No sooner did I finish than he sat down in the mess I had brushed off him making more work for me.
You’d think I would have learned my lesson and not let him out again, but that cowbell nearly drove me out of my mind. I relented and soon regretted relenting, because he did it all again.
This time, I went out to check on him and caught him in the act. There he was, lying in the mulch, not looking the least bit guilty for his transgression. I snapped his photo with my iPhone to document his guilt—mulch and tree droppings sticking to his fur—and then I proceeded to brush him clean again. Oh, my aching back.
Compared to Buddy the Baddy, my grandchildren were little angels. When those adorable, angelic grandchildren returned home from school, I greeted them with affection and renewed appreciation for their splendid behavior, feeling shame for wanting them to misbehave for my own selfish ends.
I told them what I went through with Buddy and how many times I had to brush him. That’s when they told me how much Buddy loved to be brushed. That gave me pause.
Um, you don’t suppose that since Buddy loves to be brushed so much that he deliberately rolled in that mulch just so I would have to—nah. He couldn’t be that cunning, could he? Could he?