"Look, Clover." Melissa leaned over and held her Baby Gelert up to the window. "It's snowing."
Clover pressed her nose against the window, then pulled it back, squealing. The glass was cold. Her owner laughed.
"I love snowflakes, don't you, Sunshine?" she said gently. 'Sunshine' was Melissa's nickname for Clover, because the baby Gelert was so happy and bouncy all the time. Melissa sat down in front of the fire, settling the Gelert on her lap.
"But snowflakes are just little bits of snow, Mommy," Clover said, her voice puzzled. "Why do you like them?"
"Look, Clover," Melissa said, picking up a book from near the fireplace. She opened it and pointed at the pictures. "That's what a snowflake would like if it were big."
"Why doesn't it when it's small, Mommy?"
"It's just too little to tell that's what it looks like." Melissa scooped the Gelert off her lap, standing up.
"It's time for little Gelerts to go to bed," she said. Clover squirmed in protest.
Melissa trotted up the stairs and into Clover's room. The floor was strewn with Usukis.
Placing Clover on the small bed, Melissa tucked the blankets around the Gelert and said, "Good night, Clover."
"Good night, Mommy."
Clover woke with a strange feeling that it was a special day. She looked at the calendar that Melissa had bought for her and saw the words 'Mommy's Birthday' written on it in red crayon. She smiled. Of course!
Opening the door, Clover bounded down the stairs. Her mother was making pancakes. Clover climbed onto her chair at the table, watching in anticipation as Melissa flipped a pancake onto a plate, buttered it, and drizzled syrup over it.
Then she set the plate in front of her pet, handing Clover a fork.
"Good morning, Sunshine," she said, smiling. Clover smiled up at her before digging ravenously into her pancake.
"Clover, I'm going to have tea with my friend, Amber. She's right around the corner. You can just run over there if you need me. I'll be back at noon. Is that okay?"
"Mmphh," Clover said through a mouthful. Melissa smiled, grabbing her bag. She hugged Clover, and exited the Neohome, calling, "I'll be back! Put your plate in the sink when you're done eating!"
Clover dropped her plate in the sink. She had to stand as high as she could to do it.
What should she make Mommy for her birthday? Wandering into the living room, Clover looked out the window, marveling at all the snow on the ground. A few snowflakes drifted out of the sky, then more, until there was a flurry of the little fluffy bits of snow.
Clover looked down at the rug, and her eyes fell on the book she and Melissa had been looking at the night before.
"I know!" Clover cried. "I'll make Mommy a snowflake!" She stood still for a second. She knew what to make, but how to make it was the better question. Suddenly, she felt a burst inspiration. Clover skidded into the kitchen, opening the drawer that Melissa kept the art supplies in. She dug through it, and pulled out a few sheets of white paper, some scissors, some glue, some ribbon, and some glitter. Them she trotted into the dining room and climbed onto her chair. Spreading her supplies on the table, Clover surveyed it. She was going to cut the snowflake out of paper.
She had learned how to do that in her nursery neoschool. Folding the paper, Clover slowly and carefully cut little pieces out of it. She unfolded the soon-to-be snowflake every so often, studying the pattern the little cuts had made. Then she would look at the book she and her mother had been looking at the night before, comparing the snowflake with the pictures.
Once she was done cutting the snowflake out, she drizzled glue over it and spread it over the paper with her paws, getting glue all over herself and the table. Energetically, she grabbed the glitter, unscrewed the cap with a sticky paw, and shook it vigorously. Glitter drifted down onto the snowflake. However, the shimmering glitter was so mesmerizing that Clover shook it several more times onto the floor. Once she was done with the glitter, she tried to put it down but found the the glue had stuck the bottle to her paw. She wrenched it off, managing to fling it across the room.
Then, her paws still sticky, she wrote, 'For Mommy' across the top of the snowflake, getting glitter on the pencil she was writing with.
Suddenly, Clover looked at the clock. The whole thing had taken her till noon.
"Clover, I'm home!" Melissa called. Clover squealed, and ran to her mother, snatching up the present. The pencil was stuck to her paw with glue, but she didn't notice.
"Happy birthday!" she cried, throwing her arms around her mother's leg.
Melissa looked down at her pet. Glitter was sprinkled over Clover's paws, little spots of glue were in her fur, along with bits of paper.
Clover smiled up at her, then thrust the snowflake towards her.
"I made you a snowflake, Mommy," she chirped. Melissa was speechless for a moment. Then she scooped her pet up, getting glitter, paper, and glue all over herself.
"I love it, Sunshine."
A few years later
Clover the Spotted Gelert pulled the door of the Neohome closed. She had a bad day at Neoschool. Melissa came out of the kitchen.
"Hi, Sunshine, how was school?" she asked.
"Don't call me that," Clover said, scowling. Then she sighed, adding, "School was okay."
She went up the stairs into her room and shut the door, pulling her homework out of her backpack. She leaned her head on her paw. She had grown out of the nickname 'Sunshine.'
She had also wanted to be painted a different color years ago, when she was about to start real Neoschool, so her mom had saved up neopoints and bought her a Spotted Paint Brush.
Sighing again, Clover glanced at the calendar hung over her desk, checking the date.
'Mom's birthday' it read on the next day, tomorrow, in neat cursive. She looked down at her homework, back at the calendar, then shook her head. She began her homework.
The next morning, Clover woke up, stretched, and climbed out of bed. After making her bed, she opened the door and stumbled out of the room. It was a Saturday, so she didn't have Neoschool, but Clover was an early riser.
Downstairs, Melissa was making scrambled neggs for breakfast.
"Hi, dear," she said when Clover came down the stairs, dishing the neggs onto a plate.
"Hi," Clover said, sitting down at the table. Her owner brought her the plate and set it in front of her, handing her a fork.
"I'm going to go shopping, will you be alright by yourself?" Melissa said, "I'll only be gone 'til noon."
"I'll be fine, Mom," Clover told her. Her mother hugged her and exited the house, calling, "Put your plate in the sink!"
Clover was halfway through her food when she remembered it was her mom's birthday. She had to do something for her. She finished eating, put her plate in the sink, and went into the Living Room. She looked out the window, and watched as snow fell from the gray, cloudy sky. Then she looked over at the wall. It was bare, except for a paper snowflake nailed there. It was covered with glitter, except where it had the words 'For Mommy' written on it in pencil.
A small picture of her and Melissa had been glued in the middle of the paper snowflake. Clover could remember helping her mother glue on that picture. She blinked. It had been the day after Melissa's birthday.
Suddenly, Clover knew what to make.
Carefully, Clover folded a piece of white paper and cut dainty, little pieces out of it. She dabbed glue over it, spread the glue with a paintbrush, and shook the glitter. It drifted, sparkling into the glue.
Then she found a picture of her and her mother in her room, and cut it into a heart shape, glueing it on. She found a pencil, and wrote, 'For Mom' in cursive onto the glitter.
Glancing at the clock, Clover noted that it was only eleven o'clock. She sat at the window and waited.
"Clover?" She heard after a while. "I'm home."
Clover turned, grabbed the present, and ran to give her mother a hug. Melissa looked surprised.
"Happy birthday, Mom," Clover said, smiling up at her owner.
"Thanks, Sunshine- Clover," Melissa said, hesitantly.
"You can call me Sunshine, Mom," Clover told her, feeling generous. Then she shoved the snowflake into her mother's hands.
"I-I made it for you," she said.
Melissa stared at it, then looked at her pet, then at the snowflake. She smiled, scooping her pet into a hug. Then she whispered in the Gelert's long ear,
"I love it, Sunshine."
"Do you remember that night, Sunshine?" Melissa asked on the night of her birthday.
"Yes, Mom," Clover said, leaning against her. She looked up at her owner.
Then they smiled at each other, and remembered.
"I love snowflakes," Melissa had said gently to the Baby Gelert, so many years ago. "Don't you, Sunshine?"