Tuesday, October 9, 2007

G is for.....Good Grief Girl....Be GENTLE!

"Oh Honey....be soft and gentle...soft and gentle!" or "Oh My Sugar Bear....I don't think Toby cat likes that...do you?" These two statements can be heard around our house at least once a day. There is just something about a 2.5 year old, and a cat living in the same house that generates lessons of fair and humane contact with animals, on a daily basis.

I used to think that toddlers and young children that routinely hurt household pets were rough and tumble sort of children. I was WRONG. Sugar Bear is a very tender hearted, and emotionally connected sort of child, but often I have to remind her to be soft and gentle with her buddy, Toby cat. Through many moments of rough play, I have come to see that she isn't EVER trying to be mean to him....she is simply loving him...albeit loving him TOO HARD.

I can see it in her eyes. She is looking at him...and talking to him in a quiet little tone, then the love sparks in her eyes and she just wants to squeeze him...love him...hug him....HARD! I can relate to that. There have been many moments in my daughter's life where I have had to hold myself back from squeezing her so very tight that her head just might pop off. Seriously people...have you felt it? The NEED to hug so tightly that it may hurt. In no way do you want it to hurt...but your emotions are so intense that you feel propelled to just squeeze and squish until it hurts. It is such a crazy release of deep deep emotion.

I believe whole heartedly that such is the case of Sugar Bear and Toby cat. Who can blame her. Toby is cute. Toby is soft. Toby is so very cuddly. There are just moments where her love is so intense that she is unable to hold back. We all know that impulse control is just NOT a skill many young children possess. It is a hard lesson to learn sometimes.

The trouble lies in that Toby is on to her. He is weary of her...and her python like love. I am not sure the love is reciprocal. He tenses up when she is around, and he darts and dodges. This seems like an invitation to play to a 2 year old that thinks the world revolves around them. "Oh look mama...Toby is playing hide and seek! I get him!" The cat lunges away quickly, so that the only thing left to snag is his tail. Thus the nasty tail grab maneuver, and the subsequent yowl of the cat. "Soft and gently Sugar Bear....soft and gentle!", I say. Sugar Bear replies, "I just trying to love him mama." I think to myself...oh my yes...it is truly hard to love one who doesn't want to be loved, and so it is with Toby cat. So over and over I find myself reminding, "soft and gentle....soft and gentle" but in the end, I realize that it is easier said than done.

It often starts out quite unexpectedly. Sugar will be playing. Hardly noticing Toby at all, but like all good cats....curiosity gets the best of him, and he just has to get a closer look at what she is doing.


"Well, Hi Toby! How are you today? Can I give you a little tickle under the chin? Oh yes....you like that don't you?"


"Now don't try to run away kitty. I just loving on you. STAY RIGHT THERE!"



"Now if you just had listened I wouldn't be having to hold you so tightly. STOP struggling Toby....TOBY...I said I am just trying to LOVE YOU!"


"Love, love, LOVE......Loving you so TIGHTLY! You love me too, right?" RIGHT?"


"MOM! Toby gots an attitude. I was just loving him! MOMMMMMMMMMMMM!"


It is then...I step in...and say.....yup, you guess it...."Soft and Gentle honey, Toby likes it soft and gentle!" Will she ever learn?

11 Live It or Love It:

Autumn said...

Our dachshund knows just how Toby cat feels! He is loved so very much by Gavin. My mantra is "Not so rough, be gentle!"

david mcmahon said...

Those are beautiful photographs. My favourite? The second-last frame.

Wonderful work, Corey.....

(And I'm glad you like the headlines on my posts!!)

Stargazer said...

Toby is such a cute cat. And he doesn't hurt your child for being rough with him. So adorable

Nikkie said...

Oh that is so funny Corey! I love the pics too...your blog is so amazing to read!!

Char said...

Those are the cutest pictures!

Leendaluu said...

Love the montage...you captured the situation so eloquently!

Mama Zen said...

At my house:
"Settle down."
"Play gentle."
"Be sweet to Snoopy."
And, repeat.

Gorgeous pictures!

Deb - Mom of 3 Girls said...

Oh yes, I can relate! We got our kitten when Becca was a few months past a year old. The kitty would let Becca do anything to her at first - haul her around by a leg or tail or whatever part of anatomy Becca could get a hold of. Then the kitty learned how to run - and hide. And she grew too big for Becca to pick up easily. Becca still tries to love her pretty strongly (I just love how you put that!) so I'm often using the 'gentle' wording as well until the kitty is able to get away. :)

Donetta said...

We have big dogs that I have to keep my son from trying to ride. She is so sweet.
The kids used to try to dress them

bellevelma said...

Corey, when Snags was your daughter's age, he got hold of a baby bunny that was in our back yard. Tiny slip of a thing... Anyway, his version of soft and gentle was, naturally, NOT. And after he put the bunny down it wouldn't move. I thought it was just scared, but after several hours it was obvious he loved that poor thing to death.

Our dog, like your cat, caught on rather quickly and even though she's small, she can hold her own and walk away when he comes near.

I can tell you Snags is much better at 6 than he was at 2 1/2.

Joeprah said...

what a patient animal. I love how certain animals sense to be patient with children and understand what it means to be nurturing. Cool cat and oh yeah, the photos obviously tell a great story.

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