Imagine trying to go about your daily business in the U.S.–going to the grocery store, eating out for lunch, going to the hardware store–with a 6-week-old Labrador retriever. Now imagine you have no leash. This is, in essence, my life with Knox.
Now the first thing you may be thinking is that your bouncy, slobbery puppy would be getting into everything–the cereal display, the produce section, the restaurant’s bussing station. And that is true. But there is one more thing that would stand out about your errands. Everywhere you went, people would stop you to pet, fawn, make faces, ask how old your puppy was and ask if they could hold it.
Back in Bloomington, Knox had thirteen aunts and uncles, and a Nana and Bapa. Anywhere he went, there was at least one person who thought he was the world’s cutest–someone to be at his beck and call. I thought when we came to Cebu he wouldn’t be quite so spoiled. Boy was I wrong.
Filipinos like kids just as much as Americans like puppies. It’s so refreshing to be in a country full of people that like babies more than puppies. A lot more. And when you take a cute chubby toddler and then give him light hair and big blue eyes, it’s almost more than they can handle. Everywhere we go, we hear “Cute baby! Cute baby!” and “Those eyes!” and “Can I take you?” Often when we’re out, I’ll notice a group of people standing at a distance, watching Knox’s every move with pure adoration. If only they knew what a pure stinker he really is.
When Knox isn’t around, Clementine gets a bit of attention. Yesterday at the pool a group of young women kept looking at me, and every time I glanced in their direction they were 3-4 feet closer, though I never saw them move. Finally they got up the nerve to come and ask me her name, age, etc. Turns out, they were pediatric nurses. Today a cashier was admiring her and asked, “Where is the father?”
But if Knox is with me, there’s no contest. Tonight at dinner, every time any waitress went past our table she stopped to talk to him. Then, when our food came, three of them stood about 15 feet away, admiring. After about 10 minutes, I thought, Surely they’ve gotten bored by now. I looked over and there they were, one talking, looking toward Knox and motioning around her eyes. Eventually they made their way back to our table and Knox started trying to feed them French fries.
To date, though, his greatest conquest was our first week at the Marriott. After several days, Knox had a veritable fan club made up of the dining room staff. One morning at breakfast, the chef came out of the kitchen and made his way over to our table. Apparently, Knox’s fame had reached the kitchen. “This is for your cute baby!” he said. He placed a huge chocolate cupcake with chocolate icing in front of Knox, who was supposed to be eating his scrambled eggs. On the plate was more icing, piped in swirly letters, “Cute baby!”