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19 December 2011 @ 01:36 pm
Holiday Hamster Wheel (With Bonus Parental Fail!)  
I'm in the usual mad Xmas rush, shopping for presents, doing the holiday baking, and trying to get everything ready for Christmas. I spent painful hours trying to find things for my sister and Lauren. If only someone hadn't stolen that desktop fountain from me at the White Elephant office exchange! (Though I stole it from someone else, first) Lauren wanted one of those, and I can't seem to find a decent, affordable one now. :(

We've decided not to drive up to Oregon this year, for the first time ever, but this means that I need to package and ship presents. Never done this before, with the holiday cookies and such. I... think those Xmas packages are going to be late.

I'm also peeking through Pinch Hit notifications for Yuletide, in my ongoing Pay-It-Forward effort. The only year I did Yuletide for real, my prompts apparently wound up on that list. The "real" story someone wrote for me was okay, but the two Yuletide Madness stories were fantastic! I know better than to commit to doing a real story, but I try to bring some joy via the Madness. Last year, the recipient didn't much like the one "extra" I'd intended to write for weeks, but the two last-minute unplanned fics were very happily received, and that's the whole point. I'm saving my list of potentials, and seeing what happens...

I'm not getting a lot of stories out these days, other than the Real LJ Idol offerings. My current story is barely surviving in the voting, so if you like it, please help out!

And the parental fail (you must be wondering)... *sigh* Over the years, I've dropped the ball several times with my son, Christopher, always over the same basic issue. Christopher is always a few years behind most kids in the phases of "stuffed animal love." When he was five, I said that Hedgie was not so much of a Beanie Baby as a 'bean-bag toy.' That hurt Christopher's feelings, because he still thought Hedgie was real.

This summer, after my 14-year-old daughter cleared out and donated the bulk of her stuffed animals, Christopher thought he might be ready to do the same. Instead, he got out several bins' worth of animals, and realized he'd boxed them away unloved for several years, and even separated babies from their parents. Tears, remorse, and now all (ALL) 100 or so stuffed animals are out in his room. o_O

Last week, I asked him if he thought we could give his little cousin the reserve-Hedgie we'd been saving (in case Hedgie got lost). Christopher did not know there was a reserve-Hedgie. He was horrified that we'd kept that little hedgehog in a box for seven years, alone and unloved. Here's where I have to admit that, as an adult, I didn't even anticipate that way of viewing the situation, especially since my son is now twelve. Argh. Christopher spent the rest of the evening tormenting himself over whether to give reserve-Hedgie away (what if his cousin didn't love it enough?!?) or to keep him (knowing that his own time to love his toys is very limited), and mostly lamenting the Seven.Years.In.A.Box.

He's clearly aware that he'll reach a point where he's stop feeling like his toys miss him or aren't getting enough love, and yet at the same time he knows he's not there yet.

So, reserve-Hedgie wound up joining the Hedgie family in Christopher's bed: Daddy, Mama, Baby, Brother, Sister, Cousin, and the adoptees (Happy Hippo, Owlbert, and Snorty the warthog). When I went up to say goodnight, Christopher was introducing Twin Hedgie to the rest of the family. Now, I'm apparently making a fleece sleeping bag for Twin Hedgie (because Hedgie has one).

If I'd known it would have caused him so much grief, I never would have mentioned reserve-Hedgie! But worse yet, I somehow feel like I should have known where this would lead, and yet I totally didn't. FAIL.

But I can't linger on that too long, because I have things to wrap and package and mail, a needlepoint picture to finish for my sister, and actual office work to do.

Is everyone else mostly surviving? I haven't checked my f-list in almost a week, which is another huge area in which I'm failing. :(

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MacByrnemacbyrne on December 19th, 2011 10:56 pm (UTC)
I read this, and god forgive me, I laughed out loud. Because I feel for you (and your son)! I'm 36, and I STILL worry about my stuffed animals feeling unloved or unwanted. Granted, it's in a dark little corner of my mind that I don't visit very often, but I worry. :D

I was the same way when I was little. I even worried about my stuffed animals smothering if they were under the blankets on my bed. I was convinced they came to life when I was out of the room, and used to present 'evidence' to my parents all the time that they had been moving around.

For what it's worth, I don't think you have any fail here at all. And I think it's absolutely precious that a) there was a reserve!Hedgie, and b) now that he's been released, he's reunited with his twin and adopted family.

I'm feeling an urge to go cuddle my stuffed lamb, Lambie, and let him know he's still appreciated, but will womanfully resist. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: weechestershalfshellvenus on December 20th, 2011 01:30 am (UTC)
Someone understands, even from the opposite side of the issue! \o/

My daughter used to leave an agenda for her animals when we went on vacation, and would rotate who was "in charge" and also who got to come along on the trip.

My niece finally asked everyone to stop giving her stuffed animals (at age 8), because she was afraid she couldn't love them all they way they needed.

For my son, we just tell him he'll be ready when he's ready, and there's no rush. This is such an indicator of his empathy, and that's a wonderful trait (though sometimes self-punishing!).

And I think it's absolutely precious that a) there was a reserve!Hedgie, and b) now that he's been released, he's reunited with his twin and adopted family.
:D He's almost as cute as the real Hedgie, and only slightly larger. Same vintage, but slightly more filled-out face and nose/etc. Hedgie is truly the cutest stuffed-animal hedgehog I've ever seen, down to his little pointy, crooked noise, his flippy little ears, and his smile. There's a whole pic-spam post on that history here, which I'm sure would resonate with you!

I once had a Lambie-- a musical Lambie with long leather eyelashes that I adored. And an Eeyore. And Christopher has my Cinnamon Bear (cinnamon-colored corduroy, made by my grandmother).

Thanks for the kind commiserations! ♥



Edited at 2011-12-20 01:31 am (UTC)