Lamenting the loss of our family’s beloved dog, Lulu, it dawned on me we have a temporary replacement.
Temporary because eventually our youngest daughter, Emery, will soon be walking, and Lulu never could stand on her hind legs for very long.
Emery has mastered the art of crawling, however, and now happily chases her two older sisters around the house.
From the toy room to the kitchen, through the dining room and living room they go. Charlotte, almost 4, and Georgia, 2 ½, lead the charge while Emmy drags herself along as quickly as she can.
Emmy is nine months old and is about two weeks into her crawling phase.
She uses the three-appendage method, pulling with her two arms and kicking with her dominant right leg. Her left leg is tucked a little limp under her.
She reminds me of those poor disabled homeless people you sometimes see in Netflix documentaries.
You know, the ones who shuffle through the New York subways begging for quarters, sitting on those wheeled carts because they’ve lost the use of their legs. Or Eddie Murphy in Trading Places.
Of course, we’re reasonably confident Emmy will eventually use both legs to crawl, and then stand upright like her hominid ancestors intended.
Until then, though, it’s fun to watch her shuffle under tables and chairs.
It also gives me the chance to ease into life without a dog. We all desperately miss Lulu, and I instinctually put my hand down to pat her the other day.
I quickly realized what I had done, but was surprised to find something warm and fuzzy beside my chair.
That’s often where Lulu would park herself at mealtimes. She’d sit between daddy and the highchair to scarf any errant peas, blueberries or soggy macaroni that might fly off a plate.
The babies dropped food off their plates, too.
At any rate, there I was scratching Emmy behind the ear when I realized she was doing a very good Lulu impersonation.
Three times earlier today I had to pull some soggy scraps of paper out of her mouth she’d found as she scoured the main floor of our house.
The fourth time I looked over because George yelled at me, “Emmy eating somephing…” I looked over at the babe to see her holding what looked like a squeaky toy.
Dog squeaky toys and baby squeaky toys are virtually identical, you just change “Rolled up Newspaper” label to “Sophie the Giraffe.” Even the prices – $29 for Sophie, $19 for the Bark Street Journal – are comparable.
It wasn’t fake newsprint though it was a real-live burrito.
Now, before you go calling child services on me, know that it was a veggie burrito with veggies cut into little, tiny pieces. Also, know that Emmy has six teeth already and she was happily chomping on said burrito without any signs of choking.
It had started as Charlotte’s lunch, but she had left it unguarded on her table in the toy room. Apparently, with a nose for these things, Emmy dragged herself to the table, stood up and helped herself.
I tried to recover as much of the burrito from Emmy’s mouth as possible to be safe. It took some finessing to get that last bite of tortilla from between her jaws, but it was something I’d done at least two dozen times with Lulu.
Our dog had been the master of stealing loaves of bread, trays of cinnamon buns, entire sandwiches, bags of rice, bags of raisins, racks of ribs, etc., etc., from my kitchen counters over the years.
She loved clearing plates the kids would leave lying around, too, and she’d clamp down on the most disgusting things you might imagine on our walks: dead birds and jawbones of deer carcasses chief among them.
Thankfully, Emmy has shown no taste for carrion.
She does seem to come when I call; at least she will until puberty. Maybe that’s when I’ll get a dog.