I do believe Dog was a game hatched in recent weeks at school, but I didn't hear about it until Oliver's first sick day at home, last Friday.
"Mama," called a weak voice "I need to make a collar."
"What, Oliver? A collar? Why?"
"Because I am a dog."
Y'all can be damn sure I took that kid's temperature and was shocked to find he had not a speck of extra heat.
"Mama, do you have any ribbon?" Ol asked, a few hours later.
"Sure, honey, here you go." Because I have a ribbon box, and on occasion, I am willing to share it generously.
I'm sure y'all know where this is going, but I did not. He soon came upstairs with a ribbon/safety pin/tagged collar on and was smiling beatifically.
"Look, mama, I also made a leash. Will you walk me?"
Seriously, people, I nearly crapped.
"No, Oliver, I will NOT walk you."
"Why, mama? My owner at school does. I also need a bone."
WHAT THE WHAT?!?!
Channeling zen and forcing my voice to stay steady, I replied, "Ol, people don't own other people. Why don't you tell me more about this game, because so far, I am not comfortable with it."
"Oh, well X owns me, and Y and Z tell me to fetch. You know, I also need a bowl. I love dogs. Sometimes I get thirsty. It is a fun game."
I am normally very zen about weird playground shit and nonsensical games. I'm sure I did all manner of ridiculous idiocy as I came of age, and I do believe strongly in play and pretend and role reversal and all that granola-type jazz.
But another kid "owning" my kid and "walking him" while others throw bones so he can fetch?
No, I'm sorry. No.
Since Ol was sick and clearly going to be at home with me for a while, I said my piece and thought that surely, this game would blow with the winds into the graveyard of all weird games before it. I mean, really, when Jack was in 1st grade, the girls played Kitty Cat until the teachers stepped in for some reason that was both reasonable and I can't remember now.
Today, Ol went back to school. I was thrilled and went out to rake leaves. When I came in, I saw a message from the nurse: Oliver is nauseous and looks miserable.
I went back to school, picked him up, later learned that he'd had birthday celebration cupcake which his tender tummy is not yet ready for and which prompted the nausea, took him to the doctor and while standing in line at CVS to get Gatorade heard this: "Mama, today I want to make a dog bowl."
We returned home, him skipping all the while -grr- and while I dealt with the slug-infested Halloween pumpkins, he snuck to the basement and made a bowl. Which I found him faux-drinking out of when I walked back in.
My patience left two days ago, so I really just couldn't feign any interest or support for this weirdness. Not least because he had the collar back on.
I spoke to the teachers. It's a teachable moment. It's so odd. You just never know, y'all. Especially when it comes to tiny eccentrics. Bless him. But.