As I write my chapter on Child’s Play, my children seem to get goofier…or am I simply more open to “play”?

Last night, we had almost finished dinner. Shadow, our black lab, stared intently at me. I looked down near my foot. There was a bread crumb barely big enough for a mouse, but apparently he wanted it. I started laughing. “Can you believe it?” I shook my head. “A miniscule piece of bread has his attention.”

My son, Ryan, panted anxious dog-speak, “Shadow’s saying ‘IwantitIwantitIwantit!'”

Shadow the dog

Ashley responded with a low-throated whine, “Or he’s saying, ‘awww, please let me have the cruuummb… I’m staaaarrving!’ Just like when he wants to run out to the backyard to chase the crows, ‘leeetttt me ouuutt! I haaavvve to get them!'”

Labs are food-driven. They also bred to love the chase. Both of my children had cleverly mocked Shadow’s two (main) idiosyncracies, and their make-believe imitations hit my funnybone. As my husband and I carried on with silly dog-speak, I could hardly believe our table had been reduced to puppy-dog imitations… and hanging tongues.

For overly-serious me, it was pure pleasure.

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