Monday, January 21, 2008

The Babies 'R' Us Black Hole (Or The Backseat Pug 2)

Target has always been a retail black hole for me. I go with the intention of picking up paper towels and dog poop bags, but return with $6 tank tops, castle-shaped bundt pans, more Gladware than there are meals in a month, a hangdog expression on my face, and a foot-long receipt to explain to my husband. So imagine my surprise when we went to Babies R Us this weekend and Vince was the one who descended into the black hole.

Things began innocently enough. Vince trailed behind me obediently pushing a cart into which I tossed items like My Brest Friend and Boudreaux's Butt Paste (no, I did not make either of those names up). Before long, he was wandering off on his own, and I would find him mooning over frou frou baby things such as fancy changing tables and bright little nursery rugs. I had to slap his hand when he picked up an overpriced blue bedding set while glaring at the gender-neutral green linens I'd selected. And for some reason, he became quite obsessed with crib bumpers. In the end, I acquiesced to his demand for jungle-themed wall decals. As soon as we got home, he ripped open the package and started plastering the walls with them. This did not go over well with the Pug, who put on his best "poor, neglected me" face. To assuage his hurt feelings, we decorated his bed area with decals as well.

When that didn't cheer him up, Vince decided a trip to the neighborhood dog park would do the trick. Upon our arrival, Oliver decided to ignore every wagging tail and butt-sniffing nose of the dogs around him. Their friendly overtures rebuffed, the welcome wagon ditched him.

Watching my abandoned baby, guilt began to weigh on my conscience. Why was he not interested in playing with the other kids- I mean dogs? As his mother, had I been too overprotective? Did I keep him too sheltered? Should I have urged him to make friends more often?

Suddenly, Oliver started nosing in on a nearby group of dogs. Hooray! Perhaps I was worrying needlessly! But just as the concern over my parenting skills was beginning to subside, I noticed that these weren't just any dogs; these dogs were rough-and-tumble, brawling, growling pit bulls, and my maternal worst nightmare was realized: my baby was running with the wrong crowd! Rooted to the spot, I watched in horror as teeth and claws flashed dangerously close to my baby's gigantic, vulnerable eyeballs.

In the end, Vince stepped in and extracted Oliver from the melee. Guess the lesson to be learned here is that sometimes we need Dad to take charge. But don't think this means you'll be seeing crib bumpers or color-coordinated baby rugs in our nursery anytime soon!

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