I love taking my 3-year-old daughter to the dog park with our puppy, but for a twisted reason no one would guess.
Everywhere else -- the grocery store, post office, playground -- strangers stop whatever they're doing, bend down, and inform Skylar how adorable they think she is. So this teaches her to develop inner beauty how?
At the dog park, human cuteness means nothing. Here, strangers pay attention only to Slater, our year-old Dachshund-Pinscher mix. Thank goodness for borderline insane people who are convinced that their pets either are human or vastly superior to humans. (Incidentally, as much as you try convincing others, and yourself, that your beloved Canine-American will not become just a dog once you have a child, that's exactly what happens, because my wife and I used to say the same thing.)
The dog park is such a Bizarro World for our daughter, it makes her compete for dog-level attention. She'll run along with Corgis and Cockapoodles and chase their tennis balls. One time, she even rolled over on her back and barked. And yet not once will the gray-haired lady with the Golden Retriever named Coconut ever look up at Skylar from her water bottle that's really filled with vodka. Not once. And I thank her for it.
The dog park is a cruel yet therapeutic preview of life for Skylar at age 14 (or 35, or 45) when she'll become an invisible nobody, like her dad or former Family Ties actress Tina Yothers -- who must rely entirely on intelligence, humor, or some other learned personality trait to come across.
How do you teach your children that outer beauty doesn't matter when everyone else around them acts like it does?
Image via Corey Levitan