Monday, March 24, 2008

Ticklebee: A tragic romance

WCK has what seems like about 1,000 stuffed animals. Even though she insists on having about 999 of them in bed with her, and even though she has a few who are particularly loved, she's never developed a close relationship with one particular animal. She's never been motivated to give one an original name of her own choosing. Most of her stuffed animals go by names like "Clown", "Frog", "T-Rex", etc. She does have one dinosaur named Chuck, but one of her aunts came up with that one. All of her dolls are named "Baby" except for the one that sits on a little potty and pees water. That one is "Potty Baby." No, WCK just wasn't into naming and bonding with her animals -- until Saturday, that is.

WCK got a little blue dog at an Easter carnival near our house. She fell in love with the dog immediately and announced that his name was "Ticklebee". She then spent the whole afternoon playing with Ticklebee, announcing that "Ticklebee feels really, really sad! No, Ticklebee is really happy! Ticklebee wants to sit on the couch and rest! Ticklebee wants to play!" Ticklebee HAD to sit at the kitchen table and eat some plastic vegetables while WCK ate her own lunch. Jay and I watched grimly, knowing this romance was doomed.

Ticklebee, you see, is a balloon animal, inflated and twisted together by a woman in a clown outfit.

Late Saturday afternoon, WCK announced that Ticklebee wanted to go to Applebee's. Of course, we agreed to go, not wanting to deny Ticklebee his dying wish. Ticklebee was already starting to look old and frail, and he was much thinner than he had been that morning. Amazingly, Ticklebee was still alive when we all woke up on Sunday morning, doing his best to hang in there. He's got quite a will to live, that Ticklebee.

Then, during a particularly rough play session yesterday, WCK accidentally untwisted Ticklebee's back legs and de-poofed his tail. He became half poodle, half lumpy snake creature. WCK cried out in alarm and then said quietly, "Put him away." Then she went off to play with her new sheep puppet, who is named, of course, "Sheep Puppet." The relationship with Ticklebee was over.

The newly deformed Ticklebee is still hanging out in our dining room, mostly because I feel really sorry for him; I actually feel bad about the way my child abandoned him, and I can't bring myself to throw him away. Maybe, I think, I can find a balloon-animal specialist who can help him regain use of his legs. Can you imagine? A tiny car would pull up to our house and a while bunch of clowns would pile out and rush inside and fix him.

I think I need to get out more.

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