Thursday, November 8, 2012

It worked!

"It worked!" Alice exclaimed as she walked up to the back door this morning.

"What worked?" I responded.  Then, before she could answer I saw exactly what I needed to know.  There was our cat squaring off with the dog from the neighbor's house behind us on our back patio.  The cat, tail bushed out and big hissed and advanced a hopping step forward.  The dog (whose name is Spot) crouched down, haunches up and tail wagging excitedly, yipped playfully.   The dog was actually smaller than the cat so it was more comical than scary, but none-the-less the cat was freaked out and the dog was trying to play in the cat's territory (our back yard).

Alice had been out back on her own for a little while yesterday and she loves the dogs on the other side of the back fence.  She plays with them through the fence, talks to them and even manages games of fetch.  They are sweet little things that want to play, but our backyard is not their home, we are not their owners AND it would be easy for them to escape our backyard into the bigger world with all its traffic dangers and what-not.

Unbeknownst to me, while playing games with the dogs, Alice had pulled rocks out from the bottom of the fence in order to allow them to dig a hole under it so they could play with her on her side of the fence.  I had seen her carrying rocks when I'd peaked through the window, but didn't consider the rocks might be from the other side of a neighbor's fence since our yard has tons of rocks and she often collects them and builds things with them.  The success of the littlest of the two dogs in achieving entrance to our backyard was what elicited Alice's, "It worked!" and caused me to connect the dots about the origins of Alice's rock finds.

Laughing inside, but very stern on the outside, I first asked Alice how she would feel if the dogs wandered out of our yard into the street (our gate pushes open easily) and got lost because they were no longer contained in the safety of their yard?  She looked at her feet and muttered, "not very good." and I said, "well, luckily that didn't happen, so it will all work out.  You have to learn to think these things through and your parents have had practice.  That is why you have parents here to help.  Next time you decide to alter a structure, talk to one of us about your plans K?"

We now are about to head out back and I will be watching with an Eagle-eye while she replaces every stone.  She also had to miss out on a mid-day playdate with a friend.  Not because she is in trouble, but because this is how natural consequences work.  The hole has to be fixed and we still have to get schoolwork done too.  Its a bummer but a good lesson at the same time.

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