It’s impossible for a mother to conceal what she feels from an infant or a toddler. I have learned that I can’t afford to be anything but completely cool and relaxed no matter what happens. The electricity and heating go out on a freezing winter night, but I’m totally fine. The flight gets cancelled 6 times, but I’m in a happy place. Three enormous Baskerville-type dogs are charging straight at us and I go, “Look at the beautiful doggies! Hi, doggies!”
My reaction to dogs used to be completely physiological and visceral. I’d have adrenaline gush out of my ears whenever I saw even a little puppy. But it’s easier to train myself not to feel that than to deal with an anxious toddler. And it has to be completely sincere because it’s the emotions they catch, not the narrative.
So now all the people in the neighborhood think I’m some sort of a crazy dog lover. They bring dogs for me to pet, so I have many opportunities to practice my zen state.