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50 Pounds of Solid Courage

As we approached the green-faced witch, I whispered, "Say it."

Alexis gripped my hand tightly as she slowly inched closer. She cautiously whispered, "Trick-or-treat" before quickly dragging me away from the stranger.

"Good job!" I told her. Most days the kid makes Michigan J Frog look outgoing. I try not to worry about her painfully shy ways, except for when it borders on rude. No child of mine is sticking out a bag and silently demanding candy. Period. "Now, next time let's see if you can remember to say, 'Trick-or-treat,' AND, 'Thank you,'" I urged her.

"OK," she replied.

And so it went, house after house, person after person. I repeatedly reminded her to be polite, and she repeatedly tried to rip my arm out of its socket as she dragged me far away from the strangers. Depending on who you ask, her success rate differs. I think she managed to be polite to about five people, but if you ask Alexis, she'll say it was way more than that. As we rounded the neighborhood, Alexis asked to stop at our house so she could tell Daddy how good she had done.

After she was done reporting her successful use of manners, I asked Mr. Husband to find the Bulldog's leash. I figured we would take her with us and hit a few more houses. I might have mostly been interested in acquiring some gummy candy, but I'll never fully confess to anything other than wanting to get the Bulldog engaged in a little exercise.

Alexis was THRILLED to have the Bully Beast as a companion. Meg was sporting her ridiculous pink princess costume (Sorry, but a face like that demands to be forced to wear clothing). I held her leash in one hand and a flashlight in the other as Alexis danced around the two of us, trying to find a way to grab one of my hands. All the while, she chattered to Meg and pointed out the houses that looked like they were handing out candy.

At some point this summer, I forgot how much of a spectacle a Bulldog can be. If you ever find yourself desperate to get people to talk to you, get a Bulldog. I guarantee that the snorting and wiggling and general exuberance the breed radiates will have people stopping in their tracks to acknowledge the beast with you. The trip down the street to trick-or-treat was no exception. EVERYONE stopped to pet The Beast, some even digging out cell phones so they could take a picture of her obnoxiousness.

"Everybody likes our dog," Alexis commented proudly.

"She's pretty crazy, isn't she?" I asked.

"Yeah, but I love her," Alexis replied.

And then something happened. As we walked down the street, Alexis stopped struggling to find a way to hold my hand. She started to let the distance between us grow. Then she --SHE WHO IS TOO SHY TO MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH A STRANGER-- walked up to a door.




"Trick-or-treat!" she said to the homeowner.

I stood twenty feet away, unable to move. I was in shock. Totally, completely in shock. If I had tried to take a step, I'm certain I would have tripped over my own jaw as it sat dropped to the ground.

Then she did it again.

So, I now have a plan. Any time the kid is about to embark on a mission that involves strangers, I'm going to strap the Bulldog to her back. Apparently courage comes in the form of a 50-pound, slobbering, wrinkly, stinky dog.

(The kid thinks she's Madonna and needs to have at least six wardrobe changes per day. By the time she had worn the Violet costume to school and for photos, she was TOTALLY over it. So, she went trick-or-treating as Gabriella from High School Musical, except she only wore the wig for about 3 seconds. So, really she was just a short person in a red dress.)

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Reader Comments (18)

I'm betting that big scary thing in the background is in front of your house, right? ;0

Glad she was able to get into it. Yay Alexis!!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElaine A.

Gotta love that dog. And that girl!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShellie

Great story! Never underestimate that puppy power!

November 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThree

Our corgi gets the same reaction. Maybe it's the short?

Also, I got over being scared of thunderstorms because my grandma's golden retriever (who was the dog I got to love as my own growing up) was scared of them, and I had to be brave for him. I was maybe five or six, I remember deciding that clearly.

November 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline

good for Alexis--and thank God for the puppies!

November 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSusie

Sometimes having a friend by our side is all we need.

November 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAndreAnna

@Elaine--Of course! That's Hector, the monster who guards our sidewalk.

November 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBurgh Baby

Dogs are truly pack animals. Getting a second dog confirmed that for me. Apparently toddlers are too.

November 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

no dog but I think the sugar rush helped my 4 yr old. At first it was "Mom come up with me to the door" and after about 30 mins it was "Mom stay back on the sidewalk" fine by me exc. she's too short to reach the doorbell so I had to make a mad dash after I rang it out of sight! Fun to watch our kids personalities. Love the wig!

November 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSheila

Yeah Alexis! Dogs are great for courage. I know they have always been helpful for me!

November 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercaramama

Bulldogs are a riot! There is on in our cul-de-sac; I will never get over hsi fat little body and his pushed up face haha!
Good for Alexis!!

November 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCanadianMama

I got over being scared of thunderstorms because my grandma's golden retriever (who was the dog I got to love as my own growing up) was scared of them, and I had to be brave for him." rel="nofollow"> Work From Home

November 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkanishk

That's a head scratcher. What on earth could Meg matter? And yet, we don't question these things. We celebrate them. Way to go, Alexis!

November 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Our Golden Retriever is the reason Shark learned to stay in his room all night. Bless that dog!

November 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I feel better now. I thought you meant Alexis was 50 pounds. That's more than Diva weighs! Forget about poor little Peanut. MA is painfully shy, too. To this day, at age 13, I still have to tell her to look people in the eye and speak up. You can get away with it at 3 (even though I encouraged it then, too) but at 13, it's bordering on rude. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and look at people!

November 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie Yost

OMG...Loving the wig!

November 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNap Warden

AWESOME!! WTG Alexis, what a big girl :)
Love the outfit, so very out there

November 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenty

Catching up after a few weeks of vacation (although, technically, I'm still vacationing for a few more days)... I LOVE all of her wardrobe changes! I had that my girlies never want to wear more than one. Limits the possibilities, you know.

November 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKatie in MA

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