She loves all the animals and dolls I've made her, in all seriousness. But this is the one she carries around, takes to the grocery store, and snuggles with at night. This pink and white dog, given by a kind co-worker and promptly named Pink Dog. Sigh. I can admit it.
I wish she loved one of my toys the best. Yet, it isn't just Pink Dog, L has somehow developed a bit of a dog collection. It started with John's hand-me-down Bernard. But it really began when we saw some dog movies: Milo and Otis, Mist, and, well, okay, Hotel for Dogs, and she was given Pink Dog. Later, when I was sick John got them each a sheep dog from the drug store (each named for the movie: Mist). Then another co-worker gave them dogs. And there were yard sales, bribery, and grandparents involved. Now her dog collection looks like this:
|Top Row: Coffee Mug, Black and White Dog, Bernard, Pink Dog, Mist, Baby Blue Dog; |
Bottom Row: Teacup, Clifford, Grey and White Dog, Hound Dog, Coffee, Biscuit)
At one point, I thought I would just have to design the perfect dog to trump all other dogs. But now I realize there are too many kinds of dogs, and she's too invested in the community of dogs, and Pink Dog in particular. We've had dog birthday parties, and made Dog Hotels. There was the official Dog Meeting, and many dog bedtime stories. They each have names (some cute, some unconventionally descriptive) and special memories. I don't love the idea of her collecting every cute factory-made dog in the world, or collecting anything at this age. But here we are. It's too late. She loves them.
And now I do, too.
Because every day I see how fiercely she remembers and cares for them. You may have to teach children how to talk kindly, share toys, and ask nicely. But you don't have to teach them how to love. It will need some guiding and expanding over the years, I'm sure. But the urge is already there, and that's a beautiful thing.
|J's Pink Dog|