Monday, January 12, 2009

Favorite Puppy

Soon after Spark was born, he developed a severe case of jaundice. His doctor prescribed a "billi blankie," which basically looks like an electric blanket that glows an eerie shade of flourescent teal. He had to remain wrapped in this blanket for 22 hours a day for about a week. He couldn't sleep in the blanket very well, so my wonderful mother stayed with us for that week, and we took turns rocking him and holding him while he slept.

I know, the experts say you can't spoil a child, but I think that week of being held for 22 hours a day pretty much spoiled any chance of Spark falling asleep on his own or sleeping on his own.

For his first Valentine's Day, I stopped by the grocery store on the way home. I had held out, planning to not submit myself to the commercialization of this "holiday." But, then I caved. I suddenly felt the need to get my three-and-a-half-month old baby boy a Valentine. So, I stopped at the grocery store. It was crowded with all manner of creation. I went straight for the cutesy, candied aisle, weaving my way through countless last-minute men.

I saw some plush animals, picked up a $5 fluffy little gray-and-white puppy with a pink heart embroideried on his ear and took him home for Spark. Spark chewed on it for a second and then the pup was cast aside. I sat it on a shelf in his room, and he was forgotten for about a year.

Then, when Spark was almost 18 months old, I decided it was time for him to try falling asleep on his own in his own bed. So, I tucked him in, we said prayers together, and Spark looked at me with scared little eyes. I reached up on his shelf and said, "Here, hold on to this puppy while you go to sleep."

The two have been inseparable ever since. I wish I had a before shot of "Favorite Puppy" as we all call this guy, but I don't. He's been to countless doctor appointments with us, across the country and back again, and each night before bed, the question of the hour is "Where is Favorite Puppy?" as everyone searches frantically for the ragged dog.

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