A friend of mine used to have a Labrador retriever who was, as Labrador retrievers are wont to be, somewhat food obsessed. This friend spent a great deal of time fielding the dog’s requests for (animal and human) food as well as (often unsuccessfully) preventing her from rolling in and then scarfing down the festering remains of old bologna sandwiches in the dog park. “I sometimes wonder what would happen if we let her eat as much as she wanted,” my friend once mused. “I mean, if we just opened the bag of dog food and said, ‘Here! Go nuts!’ Would she eat the whole bag? Would she throw up and just keep eating anyway? Would she ever stop?”
I think about that friend — and that dog — sometimes when Isaac ropes me into a discussion of just exactly how much brown sugar constitutes “lots” of brown sugar on his morning oatmeal. My version of “lots” is, apparently, quite miserly compared to his. And I wonder, sometimes, what it would take to win his approval. How long would I stand there, spooning sugar into his bowl, before he was happy? And how much would he eat before stopping, satisfied, or, more likely, winding himself into a glucose-fueled frenzy of dictatorial hyperactivity followed up by a tearful meltdown?
Maybe, one morning, we’ll try it and see what happens. It would be a morning on which we had childcare, so that we could drop him off like a grenade with the pin pulled and then run, run, to take cover before the explosion.
Or maybe we won’t.