Throughout her prolonged adolescence the puppy has consistently maintained an elevated opinion of herself. I make the mistake of reading my recent blog to her and she picks up on my critique of her non-show-worthy physical attributes.
She flashes me that furrowed-brow stare I have come to dread. “What does a low tail set mean, anyway?”
I would rather take out the garbage, scrub the toilet, anything except discuss her physique, but she should hear the truth from me. “Well, it really means that you have a fat ass.”
The puppy never backs down from a potential argument, and unfortunately for me, wins more than her share. “Have you seen yourself walking away lately? Lardo.”
I have been earnestly watching the calories, and this stings more than it should. “What have I told you about name-calling?”
The puppy knows she has me and zeroes in. “Like mother like daughter. Lardo. Lardo. Larrrrrdoooo.” She does the puppy equivalent of a giggle which basically sounds like: Hickety, Hickety, Hickety. “Your feet point outwards too. Nobody calls you “easty-westy” whatever.”
Perhaps I can rescue my self-respect after all. “That’s because I used to dance ballet. In ballet it’s called turnout. All the positions in ballet start with the correct turnout.”
Ever logical, she asks, “Okay then. Why can’t I dance ballet?”
And that’s how the puppy becomes a ballerina.
I introduce her to the concept of barre work. The series of positions bore her, although her plies and releves show promise. “I want the jumps and turns. Show me the jumps and turns,” she squeals as she jetes over the sofa.
“They’re called jetes and chaines. But we need to do the positions first. To warm up.”
The puppy is wiggling with excitement. “Forget warm up. I’m HOT. I don’t care what they’re called. Show me. Show me. I wanna MOVE.” She executes a rather fine tour-jete in her next pass over the sofa.
Although a Perils-of-Pauline string of injuries cancelled my own dancing days eons ago, for this new role as Ballet Mistress I have resurrected an old Capezio leotard and tights, and the puppy has thoughtfully contributed by chewing the feet from my last pair of knee socks, thus creating instant leg warmers. I pull my hair back into a bun, add chopsticks, and consider adopting a mysterious foreign accent. We all want to impress our offspring. I am no exception.
As usual the puppy is less than complimentary. “You look like a sausage stuffed into that getup. I hope you don’t plan on wearing it in public. It would embarrass both of us. Back to me, me, me. Teach me stuff. I was born to dance.” Another jete and she sends a floor lamp spinning. I hastily glissade over to the ancient turntable.
In her short time on the planet, the puppy’s musical tastes have embraced Dylan, the Stones, and Janis with a sidebar to Jim Hendrix’ Purple Haze during her recent mushroom activities. (When she was a squalling baby there was an annoying Barney phase but luckily dinosaurs don’t have the staying power they used to.) Now she is classically motivated, especially drawn to Tchaikovsky, with delusions of being the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker Suite. I try to accommodate her as well as I can and blast both speakers onto the front porch, which nicely approximates a little stage.
She is beside herself with joy amid delusions of fame and footlights. She turns in imitation of a pirouette. Actually, not half bad but she concludes with a move that is more Snoopy than Pavlova. “Ooh, I’m dancing. La, la, la.”
She is in fact dancing and it is most definitely la, la, la.
Causes Mara Buck Supports
Kennebec Valley Humane Society, Amnesty International