They say your youngest child is the one who’s the most spoiled. That’s the one you let get away with everything the older ones never did, the one who seems to have no rules to follow at all. They say it’s because now you’re older, you’re more tired, you’re more lenient and more mesmerized by those big, begging eyes and adorable face.
The thing is, I never thought I’d be “that mom.” I’ve always been a more conservative parent, saying no before I might maybe say yes and having consequences that really did follow the threats I made. My kids are all well mannered and well behaved. It makes this turn of events all the more shocking to them, even more so because our youngest child isn’t a child at all.
It’s a dog.
For me, that youngest, most spoiled child in our family is our 6-year-old shih tzu, Bella. Three older daughters, ages 16, 13 and 10, precede her, and all shake their head in amazement when they see Bella get away with something they never could. They can’t believe I’ve fallen so hard for her sweet face and pleading looks. They can’t believe how many things I say yes to for her that I never did for them.
- She leaves her toys all over the living-room floor.
- She jumps on the couch.
- She plops herself on the clean laundry.
- She sits at the table and begs for a bite of everyone’s food, even though she has her own (on the floor) just a few feet away.
- She eats her food, spitting out bits of it onto the floor as she picks through for “the good pieces,” and leaves the rest.
- She sleeps in our bed every night, and we never carry her back to her own after “just a few minutes.”
- She insists on hogging all the blankets and pillows during family movie night.
- She gets to ride shotgun in the car every time, without having to call it first.
- She rides in my lap when I’m the passenger.
- She annoys the neighbors, making a loud, obnoxious spectacle of herself in the front windows when people go by.
I tell her it’s a good thing she’s cute. I tell her I’m going to sell her to gypsies for 50 cents the next time they come through town, just like I used to tell my girls when they were her age and they misbehaved. Then she gives me those eyes, that adorable look that seems to apologize and promise she’ll never do it again, and I say it’s okay.
Just. This. Once.