September 1, 2001

Today's Pic
Lazy Saturday afternoon, watching West Virginia get their butts stomped.
One year ago (or thereabouts): She's a beautiful free-spirit kind of person; sometimes I can't decide whether I want to hang out with her or be her.

This past week, while visiting my parents' house, we had Sam's pictures taken professionally. (I'll scan them in for you just as soon as I can get the scanner down from the shelf and reinstalled.) Mom decided that, while her grandson looked adorable in just about everything he wears, he could nonetheless do with some new little outfits for the pictures. Also, the studio's pamphlet suggested that we bring along any "personal props" we had, in order to make the pictures more stylized. A two-month-old has few "personal props," but we decided to be resourceful. Some West Virginia University paraphernalia, perhaps.

We went shopping that morning. Sadly, at this point in the shopping season, most of the more adorably clothing for boys seemed to be of the cool-weather variety. Finally we decided on a lovely green and purple jungle animal outfit, which happened to be flanked on the shelf by a box of stuffed animals, including...a hippo. Like father, like son, right? We purchased the outfit and the toy.

Hugging SpecklesSomewhere in the process of taking the pictures (for which, by the way, we ended up needing to make two separate appointments; our first photographer was impatient and rude, and Sam's slight fussing had her rolling her eyes and tossing her head), Speckles the Hippo found his way into Sam's arms and was promptly detained for questioning and snuggles. Mind you, this was the child who was previously mostly uninterested in toys of any kind; I could place a rattle in his hand, and it would remain there for only a few dutiful shakes before being dropped to the floor. We knew that he was able to grab things. He just wasn't inclined to do so - until now. Speckles was an immediate and obvious exception.

Chewing SpecklesOver the next few days, Sam held, hugged, shook, and chewed on Speckles. In the car, he would squeeze Speckles about the neck as he wailed in protest at being buckled to his seat. When he got sleepy, he would rub Speckles back and forth across his droopy eyelids. When he was feeling playful, he would grab Speckles by the nape of his neck (do hippos have napes?) and wave him over his head. Sam learned to lift Speckles all on his own, cradling him to his chest and refusing to let him go.

The whole thing was so sweet, my teeth hurt to look at the two of them.

My uncle, hearing of Sam's devotion, remarked, "Sounds like the Cougar Cat of the next generation." Of course, the very idea made me cringe, remembering my own tearful reaction to Cougar Cat's disappearance. Perhaps I should send Mom back to the store to obtain three or four of Speckles' identical twins, just in case. After all, at least I was verbal when Cougar Cat and I began our friendship. If Speckles were to disappear when Sam was, say, a year or so, I can only imagine trying to console or comfort him.

In the meantime, Speckles holds a special place of honor in our family bed, sleeping above our heads so that he can be easily reached first thing in the morning. Sam's morning dance has become a dance for two.


Sam watched his first football game today. Eric, Sam, and I sat in front of the television and watched the Mountaineers get creamed in their first game of the season, against Boston College. Sam didn't seem to mind the outcome; he shook his hands at the screen and babbled happily whenever the crowd cheered or screamed. I, on the other hand, am rather bummed.

I'm still, by the way, looking for an online source of collegiate infant clothing. I know that the WVU bookstores have tiny Mountaineer-wear, but they don't appear to vend them anywhere except over the counter. Help!

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