Thursday, April 03, 2008

Want a cookie rituals

Our dog Gloria was our last family dog. She was a mutt from the pound in Lima, Peru. She was the first smart dog we ever had. And she was totally bilingual.

So she could do things that our other dogs couldn't. Like sit and give you her paw. I realize these aren't stellar examples of her intelligence, but for us it was pretty cool.

And one of the best things was that she could do them in Spanish.

You'd say, "Want a cookie? Una galletita?"

She'd cock her head.

"Sientate, por favor."

She'd sit down. You'd squat down and put out your hand.

"Dame la mano."

And out would come her paw.

"Gracias!" And you'd give her the cookie. And pick her up and hug her and kiss her and tell her how much you loved her.

She was a dog, but she was family. For dog lovers, you know what I'm talking about. There are times that you like your dog more than you like some of your friends and family.

And so, not to compare myself to my dog, but, well, sort of. . .

I realized the other day that I love these kinds of little rituals. And they're really not so different from the "want a cookie?" back and forth.

Sometimes, when Nick tells me he loves me, I'll say, "You do?"

To which he'll nod. And then say, "Do you know how much I love you?"

I'll shake my head. "Noooo."

"You don't?!"

So then I look up at him, and as earnestly as possible I say, "No."

These things are always said with the same inflection, the same feigned lack of knowledge, the same feigned surprise.

So he will go on to list the newest reasons. Or the original reasons. Or any reasons. It feels like sunshine.

I love this back and forth. And he knows for a flat out fact that I will never, ever pass up the opportunity to hear how much I'm loved. Or why.


  1. I love this post!

    I love those kinds of rituals. I have them with the kids, the cats and MathMan. I think it's a comforting, belonging kind of thing that people do. That's when I know that I've become attached to a person or animal, when I have those little rituals.

  2. yes. I agree. Sometimes I love Phoebe more than should be allowed for such a little dog.

    And I love hearing that I am loved too. By someone who speaks English and not Dog.

  3. DCup - Thank you! I think you are exactly right - it's such a sign of closeness, of familiarity.

    Slightly Disorganized - Yes. Absolutely understand on both!

  4. That just made me realize that my cat has trained me, not the other way around... He jumps on my bed paws my cheek and I start petting him. Anytime I'm not paying attention to him, he touches me with his paw and gets me to pet him. If I ignore him, he does it again. It never fails...

  5. An actual excerpt from an actual conversation that I may or may not have actually participated in on a semi-regular basis, of late:

    Me: You're awesome.

    Him: Your FACE is awesome.

    And for some reason, it works. Every time.

    I'm glad you have someone who makes metaphorical cookies in your flavor. :o)

  6. Beach Bum - Ha ha ha! You are right - pets totally do that.

    Dagny - I think that conversation. You ARE awesome! And so is your face! :)

  7. Great post! I love cookies, specifically thin mints and pups. More Gloria stories, please. I like the vocabulary which forms in deep, familiar relationships.

  8. That is SO sweet.

    Ritual creates a rhythm of positive reinforcement, which creates stability, which means we have a better chance of not sweating the little shit and leading happy lives.

    Oh: Flower, Starr, Carter, Mimi, Georgette.

    I've loved all my dogs, though Carter was my BOY.

    Jeez. I never wrote all their names in a row like that. It brought a bit of a tear to my eye.

  9. HKW - I love thin mints! And dog stories!

    Rich - You made me cry wtih the Carter link. And you're right about ritual and positive rhythm.


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