This is a story about why.
At the dentist today, Dear Son went in alone while I was in the waiting room with the baby. Hesitant to go back with the hygienist alone, she got his attention by mentioning the one thing he had been talking about all week.
The Dentist Treasure Chest.
You probably know of them. Every dentist I went to as a child had one. A box full of cruddy toys ordered from Oriental Trading by the gross. This kid, despite not even being quite five, can still remember not only the cheapo car he picked out from it last year, but the one he chose the year before. His long term memory, when related to things he cares about, can be a little scary.
What he brought out was not expected. Instead of a cheap, plastic toy car that I would have to piece back together a handful of times after it broke came a cheap, rubbery, squishy, magenta chick.
This stupid pink chicken became his best friend. For a brief day, these two did everything together. DS went on and on about how lucky he was to get Chickety Chick. How wonderful it was that got the last one out of the treasure chest. They played on the swing together. Went down the slide together. Bounced together on the kitchen floor as I tried to unload the dishwasher. Chickety Chick was his best friend.
And then, something tragic happened.
Chickety Chick was not only rubbery and squishy, but wonderfully fun to squeeze too hard and make his head bubble up.
This was part of the wonderful appeal of his new pet.
In the middle of a family game of Cars 3 themed Monopoly Junior, Chickety Chick popped.
You would have thought someone died. DS fell apart, sobbing with all his might for the next half hour until I managed to tuck him into bed. I promised to try to fix him. That I’d make the attempt even though I doubted I could do so. Still, he sobbed on. “I’ve never been this sad before,” weeped the melodramatic child. “I hope I don’t cry all night!’
I set to work. I tried everything I could think of. I even found the original hole, no easy task considering there was no other way to get air or water in. After cutting a hole in the bottom and blowing air back into the little beast, I attempted to cauterize the material, ending in utter failure. With nothing to show for it, his perfect little spikes are melted in several locations.
I checked Oriental Trading. They didn’t have it. Then, a google image search for “Magenta chick squeeze toy.”
Like magic, a photo of Chickety Chick’s brother was there. Amazon. Amazon carried it. … well, twelve randomly sorted chickens for $12.
I don’t know. I don’t know what to do. Even if I buy the set… Even if they listen to my request for only pink ones… he’s just going to break them. One by one, the clones will fall, and then what will we have? Nothing.
Even so, as I have written this post I have gone back multiple times in “one more attempt” at cauterization.
Well, for one I don’t like seeing my child sob over the loss of his best friend.
Beyond that, though… I remember being a child.
I remember being ten years old with a ridiculous toy of my own. His name was Sparkly. A ladybug-shaped bean-filled toy about 2 1/2 inches wide. I was a fifth grader, just moved across the country for the 2nd time in my elementary school years, back to the same school I had started at. I was shy. Unable to start conversations with anyone. Hurt that none of the few girls I remembered from my 1st Grade Brownie’s Troop recognized me. I had no friends. But I had that stupid toy bug that I tied a piece of string to and would “walk” around the house. And when it went missing, I had lost my best friend.