Since turning thirteen, last Friday, the doll has made a point of telling me exactly how old she is every single day. “Hey Mom, guess what? I’m 13!” or “You know mom, I’m 13!!” She tells me in passing. “NO!! REALLY?” I want to ask her in return, but instead, only smile. I remember how much “older,” I thought I was when I turned 13. So much older, in fact, I told the younger kids down the street I could no longer play with them simply because doing so would make me look immature. Yet on a daily basis, mostly due to boredom, I made exceptions.
Growing up, the age of 13 seemed so large and magical…like taking the next big step in development. Before long I would be ready for high school and beyond. Being thirteen was empowering!
When the doll was a little girl, she wanted a puppy. At the time, we had a perfectly good old dog and I had little interest in adding another pet to the mix. So I told her “When you turn 13 we can revisit the idea of a new pet…” My plan to placate her worked and no new puppy entered our home. But this tactic did not deter the doll. In fact, every few months she would ask “Mommy can we get a new puppy?” And each and every time I would reply, “When you turn thirteen, we’ll see”. Perhaps as a way to change her own tactics, one day she asked if instead of a puppy we could get a rabbit. Looking down at her I said, “Oh no…those things come pre-loaded.” She gave me a puzzled look in return and then dropped her questioning.
One day, when her speech impediment got the best of her, she asked, “Mom, so when I turn firfteen can I get a puppy, right?” Instead of correcting her, I took advantage of her misspeak and without missing a beat, I replied, “That’s right. When your FIFTEEN you can get a puppy”. She then lamented, “Why is fifteen so far away?” “Doll, I want to make sure you are capable of being responsible for another living creature,” I said happy I was able to add two years to the original agreement without her realizing.
Several years ago, we adopted an older dog in need of a home which I had hoped would squelch the doll’s desire for a puppy of her own. If anything though, her desires were reignited. As the years continued on, little changed in her mind. On her birthday last week she said, “You know, I’m pretty responsible now…” “And your point is?” I asked. “I could take care of a pet. I mean really Mom, what’s two years?” Smiling back at her I laughed replied, “Exactly doll, what’s two more years? Look, we already have an old dog (12) here who probably can’t or won’t tolerate another puppy/dog…” Giving full thought to my argument, she nodded before adding, “Okay, but I don’t like it”. “No one says you have to…” I added before closing out our conversation.
At thirteen, unlike her brother, I do believe the doll is mature enough to handle the responsibilities involved with owning and raising a new dog. However, her recent track record with two hamsters and a school guinea pig have left me a bit skittish in determining whether I should let her in on the mistake from years ago. While I continue to wrestle with the idea, I’m fortunate knowing she doesn’t like to read this blog (too embarrassed for me) and God be willing, none of you will tell on me…
Please and Thank you!