For Christmas, upon request, my belle maman gifted Mlle. with a Sophie teething toy. We enjoyed our Sophie, who immigrated from a fancy toy store in Normandy. She was velvety soft with whorishly rouged cheeks and an unexpected squeak.
She came in a lovely gift box along with a book.
I had determined that this book would be the first thing I read in French on my own. My husband translated the opening lines: “The Baby, a thing complex and mysterious”. Really? I promptly put the book down and never picked it up again. (For a book I never read, I don’t know how it acquired all these food stains! Please excuse.)
August rolled around and my family took a much anticipated trip to France. We selected a few toys to bring along. This select group did not include Sophie. She was very expensive and so petite, we didn’t want to risk losing her. Another native-French plush toy called Star-Cow also stayed behind.
However, French Arf-Arf Dog and French Horsey the Albino Giraffe made the return voyage with a cadre of other toys that were selected for the trip.
While we were in Normandy, we realized we had neglected to bring along anything for teething and after one afternoon of drooly-fussiness, grandmere went to the Intermarche Supermarket and brought back a blister-packed Sophie.
This new Sophie (also by Vulli) is identical in every way to our Sophie back home except her spots are lighter (which may just mean that our older Sophie is just really dirty) and her voice is more shrill. Perhaps all Sophies sound different from one another. Perhaps, it’s just Sophie’s down-market grocery store accent. Who knows? This new, young, Sophie sports the bright pink rogue and lips that faded from our first Sophie months ago. She stands tall and straight on her own, which our first Sophie can no longer do and her spots and shading are as fresh as the day they were painted.
It shouldn’t take a genius to figure out that there was going to be so bitter blood between the two cousins once we returned from France with Grocery-Store Sophie. Sure enough, not only was Fancy-Store (also known as “Original”) Sophie bent out of shape because we went to France without her, we had the nerve to come trotting in after a month’s absence with one of her hick relatives in tow! And a younger one at that!
I decided to bring the girls together with a photo shoot. While shooting Fancy-Store Sophie with her Guidebook, Grocery-Store Sophie disrupted the proceedings.
Things got hairy. It seems, both Sophies had grievances they needed to air. Grocery-Store Sophie took issue with being called, well… Grocery-Store Sophie (she also resented that by default it made Original Sophie “Fancy-Store Sophie”. The term “Original” was no better since they are both authentic Sophies). She suggested that Original Sophie, instead be referred to as “Old Sophie”.
Well, that didn’t fly at all with Original, Fancy-Store Sophie! I had to step in. After the dust settled, it was determined that Grocery-Store Sophie would from now on be referred to as “Caramel Sophie” and Fancy-Store Sophie, as “Chocolat Sophie”. The photo shoot continued and they soon learned that they had no reason to be threatened by each other. They both have wonderful qualities and memories that make them equally unique and beloved in our household. Chocolat Sophie likes that she gets a break now and then from the baby. And Caramel Sophie loves the guidance given to her by her sophisticated cousin.
It truly is the best of times.