My wife and I have two daughters, ages 3 and 5, and with them come about 43,000 different toys. This scenario will come as no surprise to anyone who has kids. Once you have a kid, and especially when you have more than one, you start accumulating toys and it never really stops.
And if your kids are like ours, the odds are many of your kids’ toys fall into one of the following categories:
–Barbie dolls that within ten minutes of being opened are missing most of their clothes, have their hair tweaked out and generally look like they are doing the next day Walk Of Shame out of my college fraternity house, ca. 1989.
–Artistic equipment including, but not limited to crayons, markers, paint and paintbrushes, crayons, Play-Doh, stickers, crayons, glue, crayons, tape and CRAYONS. There’s a reason why my wife buys about five boxes of 16 crayons for a dollar a box wherever we go to Target. And that reason can be found in the approximately 74 million crayon pieces covering the bottom our crayon box, and living room floor.
–Stuffed animals. This may be the most-amazing group of toys in our house because of how that stuffed kitty cat/monkey/white tiger from The Mirage in Las Vegas that hasn’t been seen or touched in six months will turn into the source of an Ali-Frazier “Thrilla In Manila”-style brawl to the death as it suddenly becomes the center of the goddamn universe for both kids.
For my older daughter, five-year-old Maddo, her universe of late has been centered around a small, stuffed black bear with brown on its paws. She calls this bear “Bear Bear”. Original, I know. But Bear Bear has a special meaning to her, and to me, because a couple of months back, I took out a needle and thread and managed to surgically repair an opening along one of Bear Bear’s seams. It was the first time I had sewn anything since I had to take a sewing class in eighth grade, but I managed to acquit myself well and kept Bear Bear from needing his leg to be amputated.
And it made Maddo happy. So happy, in fact, that she has made me Bear Bear’s caretaker. But watching over such an important animal comes with a set of duties and responsibilities that are on a level only slightly stricter than the social norms and mores of “Downtown Abbey” era England.
So, let’s take a look at my five-year-old daughter’s Rules Of Bear Bear. These are in the English Maddo spoke, which may explain a lot.
–Have to always give him a bath every morning and night.
If we do this, we would be washing Bear Bear twice as much as we wash Maddo and Little Sis. Might be a little much for a stuffed animal who sits around and “sleeps” 24 hours a day on our bed and doesn’t engage in typical bear activities like catching salmon, tearing apart bee hives for honey and trying to break into garbage bins at Yosemite National Park.
–Always take him for a walk. Wake up Maddo so she can show Daddy how to walk Bear Bear.
Maddo already wakes up before I do. And she has yet to say, “Time to walk Bear Bear!” It’s more like, “Daddy? Can you put on Netflix, PLEEEEEEZE?”
–Give him lots of care before bedtime.
I guess I need to start brushing his teeth?
–Wake up Maddo to ask to take his leash off.
Uh…See the second item above.
–Give him the right food that’s in his kitchen.
Maddo is talking about the play kitchen she and her sister have nearly destroyed. Based on what’s in it, Bear Bear will be eating playtime versions of a ham and cheese sandwich, tea and cakes and vanilla ice cream without the cone. The girls lost those years ago.
–Always let Bear Bear watch “American Idol”.
I have no problem with this. The show has rebounded by bringing in Harry Connick Jr. and bringing back J-Lo to judge with Keith Urban.
–Let him watch Netflix after Idol on the iPad.
Might be difficult as he doesn’t have opposable thumbs.
–Always let him watch “Jessie”.
OK, now I know Maddo is fooling with me. She watches “Jessie” on the iPad about 17 times a day. Bear Bear only watches about half that amount.
–Always let him eat the right food from the little kitchen.
Maddo is only five years old. I swear she wasn’t drunk when she made this list.
–Keep knives away from Bear Bear.
Well….DUH! He is a bear, after all.
–Make sure Bear Bear gets to kiss every Band-Aid.
Preferably the overpriced “Dora the Explorer” and Princess Band-Aids the girls demand.
–Keep [Bear Bear] away from wine bottles because she is allergic.
I thought Bear Bear was a boy bear…And now he has a drinking problem, too?