There’s this substance that Henry loves more than, well, me: it’s a pecan-pumpkin spread that I smeared on his waffle a few months back in a moment of holiday-induced folly. It’s sugar. That’s all it is—sugar in brownish-spread form. I might as well hand him some sugar packets and go back to bed, let the dog take over for the day. But now he requests it, and let me tell you, there is no way I can say no. He calls it “pup,” and there is nothing more heart-expanding, more warranting of unconditional love and adoration, than when he sees the waffles emerge from the freezer and he looks up at me with those saucer eyes and says, “Pup?” with his cupid-bow lips pursing and that slightly damp aspiration after the last p (take note, linguists!). And when I say yes his face lights up and he performs a joyful high-chair shimmy and claps his dimpled little fingers together and at that moment, if he asked I would slather my face in pup, slap my head down on his tray, and let him gnaw at my cheeks.
(Wait—is that creepy?)