Son loves his pet more than mom!
Q: My son, age 4, has always said how much he loves me (“this much” with arms stretched wide). Lately he’s pulled his arms in a bit for me, and admitted that he loves the dog “this much more.” Frankly, it upsets me a bit.
A: Of course he loves the dog more than you. The dog doesn’t make him clean his room or pick up toys. Quite the opposite. The dog encourages him to tear things up and pee anywhere with abandon. The dog not only doesn’t make him wash the Cheetos off his hands before dinner, he actually does it for him. What’s not to love?
The fabulous thing about the love of a 4-year-old boy is that it is fickle and it can be bought. Cheap. The next time his arms don’t stretch as wide as they once had, just tell him you are taking him to the Dollar Tree this afternoon to buy a cheap plastic piece of junk that was made in China just for him. (Let’s see the dog compete with that!)
As he is playing with the ridiculously fragile bribe for the 4.5 minutes that it will stay intact, remind him that the dog has never bought him anything. Ever. And when the flimsy dollar toy disintegrates in his little hand, turn around and point your finger at the dog and say, “Bad boy, Fido. I can’t believe you broke his brand new toy!”
This particular problem of over-loving a pet is pretty common, and the very reason why I encourage my children only to pick out hideously ugly pets like iguanas and hairless rodents. Really, anything physically repulsive with claws and sharp teeth should do the trick.
We did have a huge rat once named Lacy who had a gigantic cyst under her arm that caused her to limp and her hair to fall out in patches, but the kids still loved her dearly until she met with an unfortunate “accident” that the vet charged me $15 for.
My point is, it could be worse. Your son could be crushing on somebody else more than you right now, like your mother-in-law or the pharmacist at Walgreens. Both would be disturbing, and much worse than his passing infatuation with the pooch. But if it is really bothering you, I can give you the number of the vet who treated Lacy.
Jeanne Martin is a freelance writer and graphic designer by day, one sarcastic mother of two by dusk and completely unqualified to write this advice column at any time.