Recently, we puppy-sat my parents' Morkie, Teddy. He's the same age and breed as our Yoshi, so the girls were excited to have two dogs to play with. Teddy, on the other hand, was decidedly less excited to have three little girls chasing him around. At some point on Monday, the craziness of them swarming him got to be a little too much for Teddy and he nipped at Chloe. This resulted in many blood-curdling screams, but nothing more than a small scrape on her hand. Quite reasonably, in my opinion, my thoughts turned to Old Yeller and I called my mom to make sure ol' Teddy was up to date on his shots.
After the crying and the bandaging and the kissing of boo-boo's subsided, I starting fixing their peanut butter and honey sandwiches and I asked the girls if they had ever seen the movie Old Yeller. I knew we had seen some sadistic children's movie, but I wasn't sure if it was this one or The Yearling. They couldn't remember either. "What's it about?" they asked.
"Um, it's about a boy with a dog that gets rabies and so the boy has to shoot it." No point in beating around the bush.
The girls were quiet for a moment and I wasn't sure if they were silent with horror at such a concept or merely searching their mental movie database to recall if they had seen it or not.
Bronte spoke first. "What does the dog do?"
"He tries to bite people once he gets sick. That's why they have to put him down," I reported, internally congratulating myself on my refusal to sugarcoat life and death issues and pretty pleased with how well they were taking it.
"No, I mean, like, can he talk and stuff?" Bronte clarifies as she passes me the squeeze bottle of honey.
"Uh, no. No talking. Or stuff."
"Can he sing?" Carys chimes in (she's only three so "sing" comes out more like "thing," but I knew what she meant).
"No, he doesn't sing." I'm getting a little fed up with this line of questioning.
Chloe is next. "How 'bout email? Can he send an email?"
The teaching moment has passed; this much is clear. Why would I expect an 8, 6 and 3 year old to be interested in an average, rabies-infected cur when they can watch farting, crime-fighting (and talking, singing, email-sending) guinea pigs instead? (Author's note: If you haven't seen G-Force yet, now you don't have to, but my apologies for the spoilers nonetheless).
I cut their sandwiches into triangles, arrange them on plates and bring them over to the table where the three girls are sitting, looking at me expectantly. I hadn't answered that email question yet and amazingly, they look as though they think this still might be a possibility.
Bronte restates Chloe's original question, just in case I forgot: "Well, Mommy? Does Yeller send emails?"
"Eat your sandwiches."
I walk to my office, listening to them discuss all the possible talents a movie dog might possess, and add Space Buddies to my Netflix queue.