. . . Or, How I Almost Got Arrested For Child Abuse.
The girl's favorite new game is called "Let's pretend I'm Gino!" Gino is the dog who lives upstairs from her. The other day as we were getting ready to walk to the park, The Girl handed me a long piece of curling ribbon and asked me to tie it around her neck like a leash. Since I like my charges to stay alive while I'm taking care of them, I said no. Instead, I offered, I could tie it around her wrist. She agreed, and then proceeded to give me detailed instruction on exactly how to scold her when she didn't follow the orders I had to give her. ("Stay!" "Bad dog, Gino! You need to LISTEN to me!")
Once I have the directions down, and it took quite a while to understand how to do it all perfectly, we set off. She pulled at the "leash" like the bad dog she was pretending to be. (Did I mention that Gino is the yappiest dog EVER and terrifies her?). I scolded her, using exactly the words she gave me. She did it again.
Suddenly, I notice a traffic cop looking at me strangely.
"Excuse me ma'am, can I ask you a question?"
"Of course, officer!"
"Why do you have that child tied up like that?"
"She's pretending to be a bad dog named Gino! He's her neighbor's dog! She doesn't like him! He scares her!"
"Okay, ma'am, whatever you say."
After that, we untied the leash.