A hot water bottle named Grofa
Not so very long ago, my mother called to ask if I had any ideas for my son's birthday present. Normally, I am not so sure how to go about answering this question which, with four children, comes up quite frequently. This year, however, my mom got a slightly different response.
Well, actually...
And out came the idea which had been building itself in my head for a couple of weeks: a hot water bottle pet.

Now, when I first saw these, I thought they were the silliest thing. Who would spend upwards of $35 on a hot water bottle just because it is cute? Once you turn out the lights...well, suffice it to say I thought it was just another kitschy way to waste money.

That was before this winter. On a cold evening, I dug up the hot water bottle for Bear because he wasn't feeling well. He cuddled it. Fondled it. Caressed it. I would check on him in the evening and find him wrapped around the hot water bottle, taking in its warmth and texture against his hand, his stomach, his cheek. For my touch-driven son, it made perfect sense.

The preparation of the hot water bottle became a bedtime ritual that Bear looked forward to from that first illness until the dog got hold of it and punctured it. My son was heart-broken. Bedtime would never be the same again.

But then my mom calls, wanting to know if I have any ideas for a birthday present. And I remember these cute little hot water bottle pets I saw at one time or another. So we both hop online, email each other back and forth with urls and after a few minutes, my mom had one ordered for each of the children, to be saved for their respective birthdays.

They even all got to pick and all are anxiously awaiting their birthdays.

As for Bear, however, he is just waiting for that much anticipated whistling of the teapot for he knows his is being prepared. And when I take it to him, I will get an appreciative smile as he takes is hot water bottle in his arms and says with a satisfied sigh,
Ah, Grofa...
He will stroke his fur with his hand and his cheek as he gradually drifts off to sleep. In an hour or so I will go out to check on him before going to bed and I will see that adorable little dog wrapped in my Bear's arm. And I, too, will say,
Ah, Grofa...