Sunday, August 17, 2008

That Wild and Crazy Jungle Animal

There are the flesh and blood members of our family, and then there is Baby Jaguar.

Serendipity brought her into our lives. Back when Amelia was two, Baby Jaguar appeared in her day care cubbie on a daily basis. I would dutifully place the stuffed animal back on the shelf until finally her teacher told me that Baby Jaguar was Amelia's, that Amelia slept with her at every nap.

I don't know who Baby Jaguar originally belonged to, but to Amelia she's as much a family member as Jack or Ray.

Baby Jaguar is patient. She endures all sorts of costumes and indignities with patience. Her whiskers have been cut off (Baby Jaguar didn't like them according to the amateur stylist). She has been accidentally peed on and subsequently "bathed" in the washing machine. Baby Jaguar gets tucked in just like her little human mommy.

But just when I begin to forget that Baby Jaguar is just a stuffed animal, Amelia reels me in. "Mom," she'll say after I've told Baby Jaguar sweet dreams and sleep tight, "It's just pretend."

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