“Isn’t my book buddy adorable?” Natalie asked.
He was...something else.
I didn’t want to say what I really thought of him. Diseased was the first word that came to mind.
See, in PreK, each kid gets to bring home the Sickly Buddy—er, I mean, the BOOK Buddy overnight. He comes with a small book that you read to your kid and I guess the Book Buddy overlooks it all while spreading a virus.
“I just love him so much,” Natalie said, hugging him to her chest. (If she’s sick within a week, I shouldn’t be surprised.”
“It’s…where are his eyes? When was the last time he brushed his hair?” I asked. (I also wanted to know: where else has he been? Has he been dropped in a toilet before? His fur looked like it had been wet.)
“Silly, he can’t brush his hair. He’s a dog!” Natalie chastised me as though I were Paula Abdul making another one of her off the wall comments. “Here. He loves you.” She plopped him in my lap.
“Pet him,” Natalie instructed.
I was sitting there, frozen, as though she had deposited a turd on my lap.
“It’s just—” I began.
“PET HIM! You’ll hurt his feelings.”
I gingerly tapped him on the head (at least I thought it was the head part) with one finger.
“He’s sleeping with me,” Natalie said, taking him back.
“He looks like he’s related to Cousin It,” I answered.
“He’s so cute,” Natalie continued.
“Does anyone else feel the urge to Lysol the crap out of him?” I called out. “I don’t even want to know what he smells like.”
Natalie took a sniff. “He smells great! Like sausage.”
Anyway, Natalie did sleep with the thing and I’m proud to say it didn’t try to eat her.
But then I worried how she’d give it up. When I told her it was time to take him back to school, she didn’t want to let him go.
“I love him!” she wailed.
“You have other non-diseased toys,” I reminded her.
“He’s...well, I wouldn’t call him cute. Look, how about we take a picture with him so you’ll always remember. Okay?”
“So let’s say goodbye to Germ Buddy—uh, book buddy,” I urged.
Natalie sighed and let him go. “Goodbye. I love you,” she told him.
I think it might be time to get our flu shots…