I was frying ground turkey in the kitchen--because it would have been weird for me to do it anywhere else--and preparing the fixins for tostadas when I heard my youngest son crying at the door. He'd been in the front yard playing. All the neighborhood kids were out because Mother Nature has finally seen fit to give us sunshine and happiness. It's not at all unlike Matthew to sob his everloving head off at nothing in particular. Matthew's range of emotions is big. Small things are, apparently, life and death situations for the boy. Armed with this information, we don't usually respond in huge ways to Matthew's crying. We've learned to carefully assess the situation before showing any emotion on our own faces. Still, the crying I heard from the the other side of the door sounded different. Wounded. Traumatized. In fact, I couldn't honestly decide which of my children was crying until just before I opened the door.
It took me awhile to figure out what he was saying but then, in a moment of clarity, I realized that he was sobbing out the words, "A doggie bit me."
And sure enough, on the back of his arm and the back of his leg, he had teeth marks. The arm bite was broken through the skin but wasn't bleeding. It turns out, our neighbor's dog had bitten him.
The story, when pieced together by two four-year-olds, is that the dog bit Matthew in our own yard. We still don't really know if Matthew did anything to provoke the dog, if he was playing and a playful nip turned into a broken skin bite, or if the dog suddenly got angry and went for blood. Matthew was fine, aside from blubbering and carrying on for a good long while. And, since I like my neighbors and didn't want to jeopardize our relationship, I simply told them what happened and said that Matthew was perfectly fine--wailing and gnashing of teeth notwithstanding.
He hauled the dog into the house and she apologized profusely. She even instructed her four-year-son to apologize. "Tell Matthew you're very sorry that happened." He looked at her, bewildered.
"But, no, mommy. I didn't do it. It was the dog. I didn't bite Matthew."
"I know, but just say sorry."
"BUT I DIDN"T BITE!" (It was really quite hysterical.)
Later, when Garrett came inside, he heard us talking about the situation.
"Wait, what? Matthew got bit by a dog?"
"Yes, the little one next door," we told him.
"Oh! I love that dog. He doesn't bite!" Garrett went to the dog's defense.
Matthew looked at him and declared, "Well, he bites me because I'm made of chocolate."
Then I doubled over in the kitchen, laughing almost uncontrollably. Thrown by my laughter, Matthew looked at his dad. "Right? Daddy? The doggie bit me because I taste like chocolate."
Oh. Man. Priceless.