The End of the Summer Stare-Down

My dog stares at me. All the time.

Without a sound. Without playful pants-leg tugging. WITHOUT CEASING.

She just stares in dead silence — like one of those psychics who can bend spoons with her mind. She’s sweet and all, but I figure this animal’s either trying to mystically transport a leash into my hand or set me on fire. I can’t be sure.

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Can you see the pressure I’m under here?

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During this particular stare-down, I’m trying to eat breakfast. I can only assume she wants me to fling my bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats across the room in a fit of rage so she can lick up her share.

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Here I’m trying to kick back on the screened-in porch. Ah, but there will be no escape from THE STARE. She will not be denied.

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I can feel her eyes drilling into mine while I wash dishes: THERE ARE CHIPMUNKS. RELEASE MEEEEE. 

When she hasn’t retired to someone else’s bed, this dog is standing on all fours, waiting, wishing, staring. Boring holes into me with her burning expectation and palpable disappointment. It’s kind of her thing.

Oddly enough, it’s pretty much the same thing my kids do to me all summer long. They too have perfected the LONG PLEADING STARE.

“Can I play video games?” LONG PLEADING STARE. CHESHIRE CAT GRIN.

“Can I go on Video Star and make a music video about our staring dog?” LONG PLEADING STARE. BATTED EYELASHES.

“Can we go to ____ today (fill in the blank with some ungodly expensive water park/aquarium/someplace I would never want to go in a million years)?” LONG PLEADING STARE.

“Can we watch ‘Teen Titans Go’ all morning long til our retinas are burned to a crisp?” LONG PLEADING STARE. (It’s far too early in the a.m. for this conversation, but through slitty eyes, I assume my children look a lot like this):

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There’s been A LOT of staring this summer.

I get tired of being the bad guy so I’ve crumbled under the stare-downs more times than I care to admit. On perfectly lovely summer days, my children have watched too much of everything. (In fact, they’re doing that now so I can write about it.)

But sometimes on my stronger days, I return the stare-down with a good ol’ fashioned garbage can to lug out. Or a leash to walk that relentless dog. Or heaven forbid, a summer math packet. That’ll learn ’em.

Here’s the stare I get then.

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Summer is a blessing and a curse. There’s easy laziness one minute, dead-eyed boredom the next.

There’s happy-happy family time one minute, followed by “stop-touching-me-I-hate-you-I’m-telling-Mom-you-said-Shut-Up” the next.

And while we’ve taken a nice little sabbatical from schoolbooks, there are still plenty of dirty looks to go around. They’re just not coming from teacher. They’re coming from MOM.

I can stare too, you know.

I’m much sadder than usual to see summer end, to tell you the truth. Both kiddos are inexplicably bound for middle school, which traumatizes me.

But I still have man’s best friend to keep our little tradition of doleful disappointed staring alive until next summer.

A comforting thought indeed.

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Hap-hap-happy back-to-school everyone!

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