My middle daughter developed White Coat Syndrome, a paralyzing fear of doctors, when she became a human pin cushion. She had an unknown illness so we kept testing without thinking.
She was, and is, vibrant and curious but terrified of taking any physical risks. As a kindergartener, she screamed (a massive understatement) every day during her swimming lessons. And wouldn't sleep for weeks because of the anxiety.
And here we are at the next childhood milestone - biking. Teaching her to ride a bike sounded about as fun as a root canal. My husband decided to bribe her with an animal. Six months and buckets full of tears (from her and me), she rode. Crashing and leery of everything, but riding nonetheless.
She asked for a cat. Simple enough? It was until the damn thing ran away hours after Ava held it.
She then asked for a kitten, because a kitten can't run away. Right. Now I had a kid who could ride a blasted bike but couldn't see straight because her red-rimmed eyes were swollen from endless crying.
She asked for a dog. We already had an eighteen-month-old lab (think Marley & Me). I put my foot down. We were not getting another puppy.
I tried to get a twelve-year-old mastiff. It would calm Ava, a life sized stuffed animal.
Perfect - I think yes.
I loaded everyone in the car. My cell phone rang. The lady hesitated before confessing on the bluetooth for all little ears to hear, "The dog died. But if we're still interested in a large dog I have a St. Bernard puppy."
We are not getting another puppy.
We got the damn puppy. All 130 pounds of her.