Are You There, God? It’s Me, the Mom Who Doesn’t Know Anything

My 9 year old daughter has discovered  the secret to dealing with the opposite sex.  Actually, she did not make the initial discovery.  Author Leslie Margolis’ character, Annabelle, in the book Boys are Dogs appears to be the first, though fictional, person to chance upon the bag-a-boy bible of the century.  Dimples’ friend read the book first, and deemed the wisdom imparted therein to be of such great importance that she loaned the book to Dimples.  I picked up Dimples from school and she could not stop talking about  the book.

According to Dimples,”This girls gets a dog, and then she gets a manual for training the dog.  And she realizes that all of the advice for training her dog also works on the boys at her school.”

These are middle school boys, if that shines any light on the topic.

One example from the book:  “The fun is in the chase, so don’t do it.”  This is advice that Annabelle reads after her dog steals her favorite stuffed animal and Annabelle chases the dog, grabs the toy, and ends up with a half-decapitated hippo.  As soon as Dimples read the line of advice out loud to me, I said,  “Remember when I told you the exact same thing?”

Dimples stared at me.

“Remember?” I prompted.  “I told you that the more you act like you like a boy the sooner they will stop liking you?”

“Uh, yeah, Mom.”  It was clear that Dimples either did not remember this sage advice or that she saw absolutely no connection to the Dog/Boy Training Advice in her book.  I flipped through the book, and realized that most of its wisdom had been imparted by me at some point or another.  Not as effectively, apparently.

What was even more interesting was when Dimples decided to try some of the advice on our bulldog, Wonderbutt.  She informed me that we needed to reward him for recognizing his name.  I’m not exactly sure where that falls in the boy-training continuum, but since we have had Wonderbutt for a year and a half, I am pretty certain he knows his name.  Whether or not he chooses to respond favorably to someone calling it changes by the second.

And then she started to give me advice, which I found even more amusing.  After years of attending dog obedience classes and memorizing “positive reinforcement” techniques, I think I have a pretty good handle on all of the acceptable dog-training rules.  It’s not my fault Wonderbutt defies the wisdom of the Dog Whisperer.

When Dimples starts telling me that I need to give my husband, the Esteemed Cap’n Firepants, a biscuit whenever he puts the toilet seat down, we may need to have a little talk.

Around 10 last night, Dimples finished the book – which she had started after school.  She came running to tell me that she was done.

“So, what did you learn?” I asked, wondering if Annabelle’s method had backfired at some point.

“She realized that it wasn’t the dog book that was changing things.  It was her that was changing.  She was becoming more confident, and that helped her with everything.”

Oh yeah.  That was the advice I’ve been meaning to give her.  Oh well.  Like she would have listened to me anyway…


Posted on April 17, 2012, in Children, Dimples, Dogs, Family, Humor, Parenting and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 41 Comments.

  1. Miranda Gargasz

    Obviously, I need this book! With a house full of boys, how could I have missed this?

  2. My kids think I don’t know anything. They’re always telling me things that I’ve told them, swearing that I never did. Maybe I need this book. Feel free to send along any other suggestions.

    • I can’t imagine why Dimples thinks I’m an idiot. Just because I’ve been unsuccessfully trying to train a dog for 18 months who has eaten our floor and our furniture, she thinks I am inept.

  3. Ah yes, I know how you feel. I am the dad who is a idiot now ya know…. I am mean, unfair, oppressive and I do not understand…

    yeah…. I understand very well what little boys are like when teenagers for I was one… they look at me and tell me, you were never a little boy…. huh… what was I then?

    Ah well,,,,, sometimes being the vilage idiot has it perks.. hehehehe…. Love your post for it made me laugh at my own situations.. funny at one time I knew it all…. now I know nothing… perhaps I will get them this book and hope they read it… 🙂

    Your friends,
    the collies and the village idiot chuck 🙂

  4. Hahaha!!!

    I’m totally going to download that book.

    This summer I was in Teaching classes with a bunch of non-doggie savvy women. We got into a discussion about dog-training and kid-training and somehow I managed to explain how they were fundamentally the same. Give a kid a reward for good behavior, ignore bad behavior unless it is an emergent situation… It boggles their minds. Haha! Except the instructor, who said, “You are so right! You may be one of the few people I’ve ever spoken with who sees that connection.”

    The others looked at me in astonishment. I just compared kids to dogs and got commended for it! Haha’

  5. it just hit me. my KIDS are wonderbutts. aside from the chewing on the sofa, the similarities are spooky. thank you, whatimeant2say and i guess leslie margolis.

  6. Confidence is a pretty important part of training anything I think.

  7. hope she remembers the confidence lesson when she has kids of her own that …. lol..sorry it;s just so… oh I so get it… sigh

  8. Love the title on this post. Well played.

    • Thanks, Mrs. Voices, for noticing. I wasn’t sure if I needed to make an overt Judy Blume reference to tie everything together. But if at least one person got it, then I am happy!

  9. As always, your post made me laugh! Perhaps you need to write a children’s book, weaving all of your wisdom into it and publish it under a pseudonym so Dimples will not know its you 🙂

    Make sure you give Cap’n Firepants his favorite biscuits when he puts the toilet seat down – it will help to reinforce the positive behaviour 🙂

  10. Oh man. My daughter is only 3 and she already thinks I am the dumbest. She thinks people age in reverse, so she is far wiser than I am. She tells me to wait and see and that I will understand things better when I become a little girl. I think I am in for a lot of trouble.

  11. well… at least she’s reading, even if she isn’t listening to you 😛
    I’m not so sure an elementary school boy would pick up on the fact that he gets a cookie from a girl every time he does something right… it could totally work 🙂

  12. If boys are dogs, I don’t want to know what men are.

  13. We’ve nominated you for the Sunshine Award

    We love your blog and hope you enjoy the award 🙂

    Bella and DiDi

  14. Gotta love how that works out… But at least she’s learning one way or another, right? And when she’s a bit older and starts to notice that you’re right on about this stuff, she may start to listen more. That’s how it was for my poor mother too! 🙂

  15. Bad news… You’ll gradually know less and less as Dimples goes through her teens. On the upside, by the time she turns 30 or thereabouts, you’ll get smarter by leaps and bounds. 🙂

  16. Great lesson for her to absorb!

    by the way, if anyone has a book that explains women, I’d really like a copy.

  17. I am a big believer in positive reinforcement for kids and other mammals, hence the jar of candies on my desk. I guess someone else beat me to publishing the book.

    Do you find it odd Dimples believes an anonymous author before her own mother?

  18. Dear ‘ol mom advice goes through one ear out the other? It is an interesting concept though, this book- now I am interested in reading it!

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