Ancient History

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Everything old is new again

Ripping a page out of the network TV handbook, I am going to air a re-run in honor of my lazy pregnant summer. From nearly eleven months ago, I present:


We do our best to avoid Chuck E. Cheese and his Grade D pizza. The head-splitting atmosphere is jarring. The interior is like Vegas for those who can still wear Osh Kosh B’ Gosh overalls and get away with it. What happens at Chuck E. Cheese doesn’t stay at Chuck E. Cheese, however. We come home with headaches, extra tokens that are not legal tender, balloons, and viruses. I’ve heard people leave Vegas with some of those things too.

We dodged and weaved the Chuck E. possibility for nearly a year before a certain birthday girl announced she would like to go to Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate. Sometimes parents need to make hard sacrifices for their children. We felt compelled to say yes on the condition the celebration include Sam, who is turning five tomorrow. Two back-to-back birthdays in the same large family is both nice and nightmarish. They are still young enough to not mind sharing celebrations, so it was agreed we would do it for our two birthday kids. We went this past Saturday.

We were joined at Las Cheeses by Nini, Mikey, and their two little ones. They told Aidan they would take her to Build-A-Bear for her birthday gift, which thrilled her of course. They gave computer games to Sam. After two hours of pizza, dozens of Coke refills, and 141 tickets won on games like Catch the Ping Pong Balls Painted Like Bumblebees In An Impossibly Small Basket As They Fly Around For Thirty Seconds, we headed to a nearby mall.

It took Aidan an hour and ten minutes to decide which animal, outfit, and name it should have. This left the ten of us who were not birthday girls to wander about aimlessly. I had plenty of time to contemplate the fact that Build-a-Bear animals have nicer underwear than me. Hubby used his time to make a bear for me. Ryley picked an outfit designed by Limited Too for my bear. I named it Ruby. This was done by the time Aidan tried the third outfit on her rabbit.

While we were waiting for Aidan to name her rabbit, Sam came up to me and said “I want to show you what I want for my birthday.”

He took my hand and led me to the bin that contained the hides of dozens of cute border collies. It looked like something Sam would admire. Then he said “…and I know what clothes I want to get for him.”

We went to the racks and he held up a t-shirt with an American flag motif heart and the words “Hug Freely” on the front. Then he showed me the jean shorts he wanted for his dog. Very nice, classic, Hilfigerian combo.

Out of curiousity, I asked “what are you going to name your dog?”


I knew Sam needed Poodle, the Border Collie, immediately.

I approached hubby and told him of Sam’s birthday wish. Because his birthday was close enough, we told him he could get Poodle. He was thrilled beyond belief, deliriously hopping around and thanking everyone in sight.

Not only did Sam get Poodle and his laid-back-perfect-for-flea-marketing-or-scratching clothes, but he got the matching puppy with a magnetic bandana for hanging in Poodle’s magnetic mouth. Sam named the puppy “Sam Puppy Dude”, as his usual custom is to name all his stuffed animals after himself.

Poodle was stuffed, sewn, brushed, dressed, named, and in his cardboard box by the time Aidan decided to name her rabbit April.

Each night since, Poodle has slept in his cardboard box, in Sam’s bed. Devotion is being willing and able to sleep with your arms wrapped around a cardboard box. But that is Sam—devoted to his family, his ideas, and the things he loves.

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