Monday, July 30, 2012

Evening Interlude: Sticks

Hi guys. I can't seem to sleep. So I'm hanging out online, instead.

See this dinosaur? His name is Bop.

Cute, right? Yes. He is very cute, and super cuddly. I bought him for Max for his 2nd birthday because I noticed that Max didn't seem to like stuffed animals very much and it just seems ridiculous for a kid to not like stuffed animals, and I thought he just needed to find The One. (Of course, Max doesn't like pizza or PB&J, either, which is equally outrageous, so I suppose that should have been a red flag... we have tried a lot of pizza and peanut butter on him and there is still definitely no One in those departments. :-/ ...But I'm still trying, mind you. The kid is going to starve to death in this household if he doesn't eventually eat pizza and peanut butter.) So, I went and found a DESIGNER stuffed animal from a mildly pretentious and extremely expensive designer website and spent TWENTY FOUR DOLLARS PLUS SHIPPING on it, thinking, obviously, "Well, surely a hand-stitched, obscenely high-priced, imported-from-London, finest-work-of-art toy listed on this website under "Soft Friends" (maybe the term "stuffed animals" is too taxiderm-esque in the world of designer toys, in which you can tell I don't spend much time) will win my son's heart and allow me to revel in the joy of seeing my cute kid running around with his cute stuffed animal and will completely enrich his childhood and create for him the fondest of fond memories and perhaps stimulate the highest realms of his creativity and turn his life into an awesomeness resembling that of Calvin and Hobbes."

...Um, yeah. About that.

My only excuse is that pregnancy has not been kind to my brain.

You know where this is headed: the long-awaited Bop arrives (I was more excited at the package coming than Max was), he is unwrapped, there is much oohing and aahing and exclamations of joy and excitement. "Max! Look! This is Bop the dinosaur! Isn't he great? Feel how soft he is! Ohhhh, so soft! And cuddly! Max, see Bop? Max! ....Max? ....Come back!!! MAX!!!"

Max does call him Bop and has at least played with him for maybe eleven seconds, total, over the history of Bop's habitation with us, which is better than nothing. We tried bringing Bop to bed with us to snuggle (Max has this obsession with twirling my hair when we are in bed, which was endearing until I got pregnant, and now it drives me CRAZY as does a large number of things when I am pregnant, so I was hoping we could phase that out with the introduction of Bop in all of his velvety, strokable, perfect-for-cuddling-in-bed-like-a-normal-kid-with-his-stuffed-animal glory), but Max would shout "NO BOP!" and fling him across the room. I'd act all hurt for poor Bop and bring him back into bed holding him tenderly, saying, "Oh, Max, now Bop is sad!! Poor Bop! Let's cuddle him and make him feel better! Let's cuddle him to SLEEP!" which was followed by a look from Max that said, clear as a bell, "Yeah right, mom. Clearly, the inanimate toy you are pretending to cry over is distressed by his ejection from bed. Suuuuure he is. Sorry about that. Now, let's cut it out with this stuffed animal nonsense and get back to appropriate bedtime behavior. Lie down and give me some of your hair."

So... yeah. Fast forward several months. Bop spends most of his time in the toy corner, neglected and sad and probably crying into his twenty-four-dollar plush tail when we're not around. (...Doesn't that image break your heart? Didn't you grow up watching the Secret Life of Toys? Or reading The Velveteen Rabbit? Didn't you watch Toy Story 3!? Toys have feelings too, people!!! Ugh, poor Bop...) I have given up on trying to bond Max to him for now, although I do have hopes for the future. We'll make it up to you someday, Bop, I promise!

The good news is that Max DOES have an attachment to at least one of his toys. The bad news is that... well, I'll just explain and you can figure that part out for yourself.

Over time, Max has assembled a collection of long, thin objects that all go by the appellation of "Stick". Actually, it's more like "StIck!!", said with vehement excitement and a lot of emphasis placed on the vowel. Max LOVES his sticks. Loves them. Anything that has anything remotely long and thin about it is immediately called "StIck!!" and immediately becomes inseparable from my child.

At present, Max's StIck!! collection includes a vacuum attachment, a back scratcher, a wooden screwdriver, two wooden hammers (only one is pictured below, because the other is currently occupying my place in bed, which I'll get to momentarily), a fiendishly pokey drumstick made by B toys sold by Target (which is a company I normally adore; the drumstick is part of an insect-themed music set and is supposed to resemble a caterpillar but is made of hard plastic and the legs are short and pointy and it is just a big fail all around if you ask me), and a whirligig toy. This is subject to change - other occupants of the collection have included a giant foam sword bigger than Max, various candles and writing utensils, and a real metal wrench, the latter of which was a disaster and which Mom made sure very quickly got "lost". The position of Favorite changes frequently, as well; there is only one StIck!! that is Max's best friend at any given time.

Remember how I wanted Max to have something to cuddle in bed so he wouldn't play with my hair? Remember how I wanted him to have a Hobbsian buddy with whom he could spend every waking moment of his childhood?

...Yeah, be careful what you wish for.

He loves his StIck!!s so much that he carries his current Favorite with him EVERYWHERE - the grocery store, the car, the park, the stroller, Grandma's house, the living room, the dining table, the bath, and - oh yes - BED.

One of Max's favorite things to do with his StIcks!! - among other things, like pretending he is a ninja and viciously attacking the furniture or playing Throw It Into The Air And See How Many Times I Can Get Mom To Kiss It Better After It Bonks Me Directly On The Head - is twirl them back and forth at a rapid pace, like a baton. He does this almost unconsciously, all the time, and it doesn't matter to him where he is at any given moment or how difficult it might be to do his baton twirling stuff, including while we are all lying in bed trying to sleep, which ends up with frequent unintentional whacks to parental parties on both sides. Sigh. It's a good thing he's cute.

Yep, so, I can't sleep - I decided to get up when I rolled over on the wooden hammer that is Max's current Favorite and got jabbed right in the kidney. "Alright, StIck!!", I said wearily, "you win, you win. You can have my place in bed. I'm going to go blog. And other awesome stuff. Pleasant dreams."

I think that next on tonight's agenda will be a dance party with Bop.

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