Around our house there is a plethora of unused stuffed animals. Everytime we take a load of stuff to the Deseret Industries or Goodwill there is usually a stuffed animal or two in the bag. I don't buy them, ever, but other people keep giving them to us. And, not only do we have plenty of stuffed animals, we also have garbage bags full of cute little baby clothes that we save after every baby. Basically, we have all the makings of our own Build-a-Bear workshop right here. I suggested this to my dissapointed daughter and with the look she gave me I had one of those defining, "Oh no, I've become my mother," kind of moments.
When I was a kid I wrote a Christmas list that plainly showed my obsession with Strawberry Shortcake. On it I had everything from a Strawberry Shortcake blanket to a tube of Strawberry Shortcake lipgloss. I figured if everything I asked for was Strawberry Shortcake, and if I gave Santa a good price range to work with, I was sure to get something that I asked for (We never had much moeny growing up so I knew that Santa needed price ranges). The next morning as I unwrapped my mother's lovingly homemade strawberry shortcake doll and homemade strawberry shortcake blanket my heart was crushed. I acted pleased and happy but my heart ached. (I still have the doll and blanket and cherish them now that I'm old enough to realize what my mother had done for me out of love). There was also the Cabbage Patch doll dreams of my sister that just couldn't be fulfilled by the lovingly handmade Cabbage Patch style doll my mom made her. Who would have thought that the simple commercial ideas of strawberry scented hair and signatured bums would mean so much to a child?
Who would have thought that a simple fabric heart, that you rub all over yourself and then never see again once they sew your bear up, would mean so much to my child? Well, after 2 1/2 years of consistently being asked for a Build-a-Bear at every birthday and Christmas I finally decided to call her bluff of, "All I want is a Build-a-Bear. I don't want any other toy but that." She didn't receive a single toy from anyone this year; instead I gave her a coupon for lunch at the mall and $40 of Grandma Christmas money to spend on a Build-a-Bear. I bit my tongue through the whole agonizing, lovely, memory making event. Keeping my mouth shut as I forked out $23 for her, her friend, and I to eat in the food court (How on earth do all those teenagers have the money to eat here everyday???) I told myself I was paying for memories. Standing in line for over and hour (NEVER go to the Biuld-a-Bear workshop on the Saturday after Christmas) I was so proud of myself for not trying to talk my daughter into getting the cheapest bear (I listened to other mothers doing what I usually do and I could hear the original joy being sucked away as each little girl had to choose between her dream bear and making her mother happy). 2 1/2 hours later we ended up with just enough money to buy the most expensive bear-cheetah available (my girl has taste) and a cute shirt and jean skirt.
Was it worth it? Did having a full body rubbed heart (seriously, you need to hear the whole cheesey heart rubbing routine they give these kids in the store. It is ridiculous), a hand picked outfit, and a cute little lint removing shower really make this stuffed cheetah any more special in the eyes of a 9 yr old girl? YOU BETCHA IT DID!!! This cheetah is like the coolest toy ever. Everyone wants to hold it. The girls take turns taking it to bed with them. DSSH gets no end of pleasure out of threatening to cut it up or throw it away while his girls chase him screaming. And, though I held my tongue so well at the cash sucking mall, I get the daily pleasure of trying to keep that $40 stuffed animal out of the toilet, off the floor, away from hot chocolate spills, and giving my daughter the constant reminder that I won't replace it if it gets lost, stolen, or ruined. *Sigh* I am my mother's daughter after all.