BAD DOGGIE, GOOD DOGGIE
Our second child, Heather, was the picture of an angel. Big innocent blue eyes, blonde hair that she liked to wear in braids, and the sweetest smile you were ever likely to see. But behind that baby face, behind those big blue eyes beneath that pretty blonde hair, was a tiny little devil, just waiting for the right time to strike.
One evening, my husband , Don, and I were actually enjoying our newspaper in silence. Each child had gone to their respective rooms and were playing quietly. You've probably heard parents say that when things get TOO quiet, it's time to check on the children. It's true . All was not as well as we thought because suddenly our dog, Max, in the back yard starting barking frantically. My husband went to the back door, looked out at the dog, around the yard, didn't see anything unusual so he simply yelled at Max to "Lay down and be quiet."
No sooner had he sat back down and picked up his paper, then the dog started again. Again Don got up, this time going out into the yard, petting the dog, looking around, seeing nothing out of the ordinary. Max had been fed. He had fresh water. He must just want to come inside with the family, but his behavior the day before had banned him from inside, at least until I had forgiven him for knocking over and breaking my favorite potted plant. Don scolded him, told him again to 'Lay down and be quiet'.
A THIRD time, Don settled back with his paper when the barking began again. This time, his patience had worn thin and out he went WITH his newspaper, which was always our method of 'correction' with Max.. When Max saw Don coming with the paper, he ran inside his little dog house and wouldn't even stick his nose out. The scolding was louder and more angry this time.
But Max was not to be quieted that evening. When the barking started yet a FOURTH time, I said I'd go check, something has to be wrong. Max just doesn't get that excited over nothing. Besides by this time, my husband was so aggravated with the dog, I was afraid that we'd be petless the next time he returned from a trip to the back yard.
I went out, checked all around, petted Max, tried to see if he was hurt somewhere, didn't see anything and started back toward the back door. That's when I happened to raise my eyes to the top of our 2 story home. There on the roof, and not a flat roof, but a sloped roof, was our 3-year-old Heather, standing on the peak watching me. I nearly went into cardiac arrest
I broke into a run, yelling as I went to Don, "HEATHER'S ON THE ROOF." He jumped up and was right on my heels. We ran upstairs to her bedroom and sure enough, her window was open, the screen was popped out and she had crawled out onto the roof. She had her Raggedy Ann doll clutched under her arm and she was singing and talking to her doll. We stood there frozen for a few seconds. We didn't want to scare her and we didn't want her to 'run' from us, as small children are apt to do when they know they're in trouble.
So we stayed at the window and started talking to her. Finally we talked her into coming back inside. Trying to avoid child abuse, we tried to explain to her what a dangerous thing she had just done and how badly hurt she could have been. To make sure she couldn't gain access to the roof once she'd forgotten what we just told her, we pushed her chest of drawers in front of the window.
Several days later, Max was again madly barking in the back yard. This time I walked out and immediately raised my eyes to the roof, knowing that Heather wouldn't be the cause of the dog's distress this time. But sure enough, there she was. Oh my goodness gracious sakes alive, how did that child get out on the roof AGAIN.
It was an instant replay, racing through the house and up the stairs with her Don right behind me. The little scamp had pulled out the dresser drawers and used them like a ladder to get to the window. This time when we talked her back inside, there was no calm explanation. There was yelling. There was punishment. And there was Dad with a hammer.
The window was nailed shut. Problem solved! At least THAT problem on THAT day. But our little Heather would never be a boring child.
Every day was an adventure for her AND for us.
© copyright Donna Hale Chandler
DONNA HALE CHANDLER
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