He stands behind her and holds out his toddler hands as she, apathetic to his presence (in the immediate and universal sense), focuses her usual intensity and devotion on the adult master with foodstuffs in hand. The tail wags. It thwaps against his outstretched hands one at a time in rapid rhythm and the thrilling certainty of that quick sequence is too, too novel for him to process cerebrally, so the excitement skips straight to his pleasure center and he erupts in the shrillest way his smallness can manage. He stands there, hands as drums to her tail-stick, and cracks up, his laughter like 5th octave sparklers shooting out of him and showering the floor around him with bouncing light. All the day is erased- his two refusals to nap and the subsequent unintelligible tirades, surly refusals, and constant requirements. Now he is perfect and worth it and enough reason to improve the planet as any one soul ever was. He manages to cackle and squeal at the same time, too purely enthused for his usual throaty laughter. Instinct clicks and he takes hold of the magical tail- this marvelous, disembodied instrument of delight- and it fits just perfectly in the tube of his closed hand. She could care less that he possesses her, which is her gift to him. Her disregard allows him to orchestrate each experience: he conducts the experiments in her solidity, her tolerance, and texture. He measures the heat of her ears, counts the spots on her belly, and tests the elasticity of her lips. She allows, allows, allows and does not direct, does not interfere until he needs to learn that dog toes belong together on the paw and nipples must stay put, and she teaches simply and consistently by the powerful act of removal. Tonight, she remains approachable, grab-able, and she sits where she is, removing the tail from play and offering instead a soft, firm back only slightly wider than he, an ideal challenge for a boy to try to wrap his adventuring arms around, so as to contain in his hold all the wonders of the species that formed his dear plaything, his pet.