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TUESDAY, JULY 12, 2016
I’ve lived with the Cotter’s my whole life; I feel like a part of the family. Since little Steven could walk, I’ve been around for him to walk to. Sometimes Steven and I spend an entire day outside in the sun; sometimes, when it rains, It’s me who makes sure he stays dry. Steven can’t talk yet, but I hope his first word is the one I always teach him.

Steven’s parents seem wary of the time he spends with me, though I don’t understand why. I’ve never hurt anyone, and since losing my own child a few years ago, I don’t think I could ever hurt anyone. Especially not Steven - he’s so young and innocent.

Steven’s dad runs the house and the acreage, and Steven’s mom runs Steven’s dad. I’m jealous, I admit, that they have each other, and Steven. I suppose I’m not really in a position to care for him, though. For one thing, I am totally incapable of making him dinner, and little Steven loves to eat. I mean, he really loves to eat.

Sometimes I watch the Cotters at the dinner table; they are a happy family, and they take so much pride in their son’s healthy appetite. His mom makes such beautiful meals, meals I could never prepare. Steven seems to love mashed potatoes more than anything - probably because it is the only food his mother doesn’t have to put in her blending machine for him.

Last night I watched Steven cram his little face full of buttery mashed potatoes. His parents were so happy that they began discussing giving him some solid food to try.

“He’d probably love some of this” His father said “If you didn’t blend it up”

Mother nodded.

Today is a whole new day for me. A new experience and, I hope, a chance to actually feed Steven myself. Father came out and prepared me - the preparation was crucial because I’d only have one chance at this. Everything, it seemed, was ready in no time at all.

That evening I was bursting with pride. I had spent a tense day, being prepared, and although I was uncomfortable as the Cotter’s sat at the table, I was ready for this. As Steven’s mom took a succulent morsel of beef - my beef - out of the stew and blew across it with her gently, motherly breath I knew, I was ready for this. As Steven took the cooled cube of food into his mouth I knew, I was ready for this.

He smiled as he tasted the broth, the vegetable and the saltiness of the beef stew. He giggle. The moment he finished chewing, he said the word I had taught him.

“Moo” he squeaked. His parents smiled and went on feeding him stew until he was a full, happy baby.

I was so proud; I was so delicious.

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