If only Molly, our sweet but spastic goldendoodle, could comprehend words other than “biscuit,” “ball,” “poo-poo,” etc., this is what I’d like to tell her right now:
“Molly, you are going to be a big sister soon. Being a big sister requires big responsibility. You will be 2 years old in a few weeks, so I expect you to be a big girl and act your age.
“Though the 90 percent of the attention this family receives now falls squarely on your hairy back, that’s going to change soon. It’s no longer going to be about you, 24-7. You’re going to have to share, and often give up, the spotlight. But I’m sure you’ll find the attention sharing to be worth it, because you’re going to have a new buddy in your little brother. You’re going to love him as much as you love mommy and daddy. I’m sure of it. He’s going to look up to you (only literally for a few years), and will learn from you throughout his life.
“You have a lot of positive traits to share with our son:
- I’m sure he’s going to have a great sense of humor from all the times he laughs at you, whether you are chasing your tail but just can quite get a grasp, or diving headfirst onto your bed in anticipation of a tasty rawhide.
- I’m sure he’s going to be the baby with the cleanest feet, as you’re quite generous in doling out your little wet kisses. In fact, you’ll be happy to note that you’ll finally have somebody who cannot say “no” to your advances. How awesome will that be?
- I’m sure you’ll teach him about good hygiene, as you sprint to your rug to have your teeth brushed or up the stairs to leap into the tub for a bath.
- I’m sure you’ll be his constant companion, awaiting flying Cheerios and carrot sticks when he’s sitting in his high-chair. Just please eat everything that falls, OK? We don’t want to raise a picky eater.
- I’m sure you’ll be there to show him how good little boys and girls are potty trained.
- I’m sure he’s going to want to learn to swim after watching you paddle across the lake after a stick.
- And I’m sure you’re going to teach him how to be obedient when you’re asked to be a good little girl.
“Of course, I know that with the good comes the bad. I can’t change you, try as I might, but good little girls need to lead by example. We don’t want our son to learn bad behavior by watching you:
- Stand at the back door and bark at blowing leaves or just because you’re bored.
- Run up to strangers and tinkle on their feet.
- Take treats from strangers.
- Run away when we yell, “Come here” or “Get in the house.”
- Hop around in the back seat of the car while mommy and daddy are driving.
“Later in life, as you grow from a good little girl to an upstanding adult, I expect you to have a long-lasting and positive impact on your little brother:
- I expect you to sit with him while he watches all the cartoons and Disney programming that mommy and daddy cannot bear.
- I expect you to be his best friend, even when he’s going through his awkward phase. Just never rub it in that you can grow a long, full beard but us Lopinots cannot.
- And I expect you to teach him about the importance of lifelong learning. Yes, that phrase about old dogs not being able to learn new tricks won’t apply to you. You’re too smart and you have too much fun learning new things.
“But the biggest subjects I expect you to teach our son are love and life. Yes, someday, Molly, you’re going to be an older sister. A much older sister, in fact. You see, dogs just don’t live as long as humans. It’s a sad, sad thing. All that joy that you will have brought into our lives over the next 10-12 years will be taken away from us at some point. I’m sure that mommy and daddy will cry. In fact, I guarantee it. But I’m also sure that our son will cry even more. He’ll be entering a new phase in life. It will be the first time that he has to live his life without his little buddy, his big sister.
“So cherish your time with him. Lead by example. And be a good big sister, Molly. Though Sarah and I won’t always be looking at you, we will still love you just the same. You have a lot of responsibility in raising a good little brother.”