No One Felt Like Laughing Anymore.

Shane is a responsible, funny, quiet, bright, beautiful, quick-witted boy, and I love him with all of my heart and soul.

But he has never put away a single thing in his life without being asked.

When something leaves his hand, it just lands – plop! – wherever. And there it stays, for the rest of time. His room looks like a hurricane hit it. There are papers, Pokemon cards, books, coins, magic tricks, empty bags, broken necklaces and CD cases everywhere. When he plays with a toy and decides to move on to something else, the toy is dropped in the middle of the room and he goes to the next thing.

Not only does he not pay attention when he lets something go, he also doesn’t recognize the seriousness of his actions. When he and Bill were decorating for Christmas, they came across a dead light bulb. Shane held it up and asked, “Dad, what should we do with this?”

Bill said, “Oh, it’s burned out. Just toss it.”

And Shane tossed it – quite literally – a few feet away, onto the cement garage floor, where it shattered. They spent the next 10 minutes cleaning up millions of tiny shards of glass.

So when Shane was eating chicken wings and left his plate on a stool in the living room, it wasn’t really a surprise to anyone – except the dog.

Our beloved mutt couldn’t believe her good fortune. Four huge globs of meat, right at her eye level! She snatched a leg and swallowed it whole. She was working on a wing when Shane came back into the room and got the second bone away from her.

We were all pretty sure that the dog was going to die. Dylan had read a story about a dog that died after choking on a bone, and he announced this loudly. Shane started to cry. Bill remained stoic. I choked back tears. We all stared at the dog as if she would fall over dead at any second.

No one spoke. We turned off the movie. It was a comedy, and no one felt like laughing anymore.

I didn’t yell at Shane for leaving his chicken bones at doggie-eye-level.

I tried that tactic with Dylan years ago, when he left a pile of chocolate on a low table. The dog ate it all. When we discovered the shredded candy wrappers, I screamed at Dylan, “SHE COULD DIE!” – which, I think, was my attempt at getting him to understand the seriousness of the situation.

But what I did, instead, was cause my baby’s eyes to flicker from optimism and hope into sheer terror. I’ll never forget that look. There are some Mom moments that I’d give anything to change. I should have just taken him in my arms and told him it was going to be okay.

Maybe I was just too afraid that it was not going to be okay.

So I didn’t yell at Shane, but I didn’t hold him either. I called the animal hospital and scoured the internet for information. Then we all just waited to see if the dog would die.

Two days later, we called our vet – who told us that as long as the dog hadn’t choked, and as long as she hadn’t punctured her intestines, she was going to be fine. And the dog was fine.

The very next day, Shane left a bag of peanuts in his backpack. Then he dropped his backpack on the floor.

The dog tore the bag to shreds and ate every single nut.

Shane didn’t learn a single thing from this experience.

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