Dreams Dashed, Just Like That.

Just like that, a dream I’ve held for the last half a decade have been dashed.  My heart is more than a little broken.

Ever since I found out I was pregnant, I began dreaming of the day I could take my little one with me traveling to dog shows.  I know so many moms who take their infants, toddlers, pre-schoolers, children, and teens with them on the road…  and they all absolutely love it.

When Lily-Ann was born, I knew she wasn’t the type of baby who could go to a dog show.  If she wasn’t being held she’d cry.  And there was no way for her to be the constant focus of attention at a show.

When she was a toddler, nothing had changed.  And I envied those parents who’s little ones would nap in a stroller while they did their “down and back”.  You put Lily in a stroller and even if she was previously tired, she’d pop up alert and ready to go knowing that something must be going on.  She was a baby and toddler who was WORN not put in a stroller or bucket – so if she was in one of those places she knew something interesting had to be happening.  She also had stopped napping at 11 months old, which didn’t help matters.

As a pre-schooler she LOVES dog shows.  She made her debut as a junior handler at the SKOC show last Summer:  https://td365.wordpress.com/2011/09/04/junior-handling-debut/  And was just awesome.  But she’s still a high needs kid, that hasn’t changed.  She needs your focus at least 95% of the time.  She proved that to me tonight.

I knew she couldn’t handle traveling to dog shows when she was little…  but I’d hoped that by the time she was five it would be a very real possibility.  Tonight though?  Tonight was a disaster.  It took everything in me not to completely lose my cool and fall apart.

We were at handling class…  the first time I’d taken her to handling class.  Usually it’s just me, the dog, and sometimes my younger sister Jewles.  With the dog show in Saskatoon this weekend, and Lily having never worked with Alice before, I thought the two of them could stand to have some practice with one another.

Lily-Ann was obnoxious.  She managed to get through about five minutes before she kept announcing that she was bored and thirsty and wanted a treat – over and over again.  She wouldn’t listen to instruction (from myself OR the instructor).  So after she finished one trip around the ring, I set her up on the sidelines with treats and my phone (on which she has nine or ten apps).  And I went back in to practice with Alice.

That didn’t work either.

The kid kept running back and forth in and out of the ring, disrupting everyone.  So after repeated attempts to get her to listen and just sit down for even five minutes, I packed it in.  Not even half way through the class.  I grabbed all of our stuff and we left.  I have never been so embarrassed in my life.  Her behaviour was atrocious.  Not only did she ignore me when I repeatedly told her to stay out of the ring when it wasn’t her turn, she ignored the instructor as well – who told her to “get out” when it was obvious she wouldn’t listen to me.

So yeah.  Embarrassed by how awful she behaved (seriously, she was shockingly awful, I’ve never seen her behave even close to this before…  ever), and brokenhearted to know I will likely never be able to trust her enough to take her with me…  to enjoy something together that I love so much.  Maybe by the time she’s in high school…  but certainly not before.  I’ll probably still let her do junior handling whenever there’s a show in the city – so twice a year.  But she’ll never get the experience to do well when she can only participate so infrequently and when she’s not able to attend classes between shows.

Yep.  It’s just not going to happen.  She loves showing.  Absolutely loves being in the ring, in the spotlight…  which only makes it harder to bear, and harder to understand.

Seriously…  I can’t even express how awful she was tonight.  We’re not talking just silly little kid antics.  I’ve come to expect those.  But constantly ignoring everything anyone said to her???  yeah, that’s not cool.  And yes… I realize that at this point, I’m starting to ramble.  But it really was the WORST parenting experience of my entire life.  Don’t even ask me how the drive home afterwards went.  Good freakin’ grief.

About Tobi-Dawne

Tobi-Dawne Smith is many things to many people... photographer, canine behaviour expert, equal rights activist, green politician, lactivist, intactivist, writer, crafter, dog handler, third wave feminist, etc. But most important in her life is her role as mother to an amazing five year old. Learn more about TD at http://www.tobi-dawne.com/ follow her blog at https://td365.wordpress.com/ get to know her daughter at http://lilyannslemonade.wordpress.com/ or check out her work at http://tdphotography.me/

Posted on May 2, 2012, in Dogs, Family, Parenting, Wee Girlie and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Hey Kiddo – welcome to the real world of parenting. The only suggestion I have is baby steps. You were really hoping for a lot from her tonight which unfortunately was an unreal expectation. You need to take baby steps with her. She is a child with her own mind. Permitters imposed suddenly won’t work. She is a lot like Zane was when he was little. I had the same issues when I’d try to take him to Jamie’s softball games. I ended up getting him to try to focus for 5 minutes at a time – no fidgeting no nothing…no luck either. I finally went back to basics. It sounds terrible but I would put an egg timer on the table and get him to sit quietly for one minute – no luck – so then I’d get him to sit on his hands and we’d have a staring contest with each other for 30 seconds. I would gradually increase it. He got better and better at focusing.
    Occasionally I notice he still sits on his hands when he’s trying to focus on conversation etc…(watch him at family functions- he still does it once in a while). Before you know it my dear niece, she will be able to focus and join you in the ring.

    baby steps

    • Usually, as long as she’s either got my focus (which she had 100% when she was in the ring) or got a few apps (which she had on my phone when she was ringside) she does just fine… in any situation. Tonight though? It didn’t matter how much attention, or how many apps, she had it wasn’t going to do the trick.

      Trying to be positive, I’m telling myself that if I made it through that, I can make it through anything. And I don’t think Jewles wanted Lily coming along on our road trips anyway – so she’ll be happy. At least someone is getting what they wanted. LOL

  2. Sounds like you’ve got a spoiled, out of control kid. Maybe spend less time playing with dogs and more time parenting? She has obviously never been taught boundaries or respect for others. Nip it in the bud now before she becomes a teacher’s worst nightmare. Good luck.

    • Wow! You obviously don’t know my kid. And seriously? Kids aren’t vegetables, they don’t spoil. The girls teachers love her, as does everyone else in her life. She’s normally a good listener, and is as good as any four year old at respecting those around her. If this was how she normally behaved, would it really have been such a shocking experience for me? I tend to think that if I was used to her acting like this that it would have been expected. But thanks for coming out. 😉

      I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t want anyone ever thinking that I do. That’s why I post the bad along with the good. The teachable moments along with the meltdown ones. They’re all worth learning from. And yeah! I was seriously let down tonight, but that doesn’t make my kid any less of a super star. And trust me, she’s well aware of my disappointment, and we’ve talked together about how things could have gone differently – and what we both could have done to make things more successful.

    • Seriously? A mother posts about a horrible, extremely abnormal day in her life and THIS is your response?

      One bad experience does not a spoiled child make.

      Her mother happens to be a wonderful, caring, articulate, and extremely socially and politically conscious woman who is an excellent, thoughtful, attentive, and purposeful mother. While she doesn’t need me to defend her I will anyways. TD has stood up for other people as long as I
      have known her (over 17 years). It’s nice to return the

  3. hmmmmm….don’t really think that was a helpful response Jane

  4. My guess is Jane is a 40 year-old man who still lives with his mother. Sans children of course. But to be fair, I suppose if you were new to your blog and didn’t know you or the lil one, it might (might) be easy to jump to the conclusion that you’ve got a spoiled brat on your hands..

    But I’m sticking with my first observation. 😀

    • I think there are enough clues in the post indicating my shock and surprise at her behavior last night that anyone who was really interested could see that this wasn’t normal behaviour for her… but trolls seldom read with an open mind looking for truth. 😉 But yes. I approved her comment as I figured it’s a chance to allow me to clarify – just in case someone wasn’t able to pick up the clues within the post. Thanks for your support!

  5. awwww Tobi you are an amazing mommy and she is a very lucky little girl to have you. We all have times like you had with her today and you did the right thing by having the talk with her afterwards. Try having 5 kids lol they are all very well behaved kids but they throw stuff like that in there once in awhile as well. I think its there way to test to see what mom will put up with lol.

    • Thanks Tanya! (((hugs))) And I’m done with the days of multiple children, having grown up with six siblings (all of whom are far younger than me, including a couple who are young enough to be my own children) I was done with it AGES ago. LOL I think I’ll stick with my one. 😉 And who knows, it could very well be about testing limits.

  6. Great written …. don’t have kids and no dog .. so I can’t really comment on this one, but I like the way you tell your stories.

    • LOL I think this post was less about telling a story and more about whining to anyone who’d stop in long enough to read, but thank you just the same. 🙂 I’m feeling a lot better today. I know it will likely be a very long, long while before the girl will ever be ready to travel with me, but we’re lucky in that there are two local shows every year. Most places only have one (if any). So she’ll still have chances to be in the ring “just like Mommy”.

      • They say that it’s easier to travel with young kids then older – because everyone around you … are more supported when kids are younger. Only seen how much more help young kids parents get on flights.

      • Decidedly so. The younger the child, the more sympathetic people tend to be. LOL

  7. Jane needs to stop missing doses of her meds. Even the most well behaved child will have a moment that makes mom go “what the…” My 2 boys were trying to clobber each other over a pack of Barbie ponytail holders once at a yard sale, when both of ’em had crew cuts – not enough hair put together to need a ponytail holder. Sorry you had this happen TD. Maybe when she’s a little older it’ll be better, or maybe there’s some kiddie shows she can try.

    • LOL Thank you Sharon! I can completely picture your boys in my head. Sounds like a scene out of a family movie. 😉 It definitely helps knowing so many parents have been through a similar non-characteristic spaz moment. Today the girl woke up, her usual self, manners returned, back to being polite. No idea what the we-interupt-our-regularly-scheduled-lovely-child-with-this-Jekyll-and-Hyde-kid thing was all about, but I am glad that it seems to be over.

  8. I had a child like that. I love my son but I can’t really share the parts of my life I always wanted to share with my child. My mom used to joke that he was not a one trick pony. He has always been independent and strong willed which are good traits just not ones that really allowed me to connect to my child doing things I love. So I do things he loves and find new ways to connect. He’s 15 now and truly his own but I still have difficulty getting him to participate in the things I want to do. Oh well – at least I know he won’t succomb to peer pressure.

  9. Jane should just go sit in the corner by yourself with the dunce cap on – REALLY now!!

    TD, you are an amazing person – inside and out, and I am SO sorry that Lily-Ann wasn’t on the same page as you. But, don’t beat yourself up about it. So, she can’t join you – maybe that will teach her a lesson? If left at home while you go and have fun might just knock that lil tude outta her 🙂

    Hang in there…have a glass of wine, box of chocolates, and remember, she will grow up and you will look back on this as a fond memory – maybe…lol



    • Thanks Tigger. I really appreciate your support. I have to hope that it will become a teachable moment in the end. As for a fond memory? Don’t see that happening… but give it twenty years and I bet it will be one of those moments I laugh over. Kinda like I now laugh over having to scoop poop out of my cousins bathwater when I babysat her as a wee thing. I was mortified back then, but it’s definitely laugh worthy now. 😉

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