Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I Want My Own Doggie

We were supposed to celebrate E’s birthday over the weekend, but history repeated itself, and we all ended up home sick with a stomach bug. We’re re-scheduling for this coming weekend – just a little get-together with family and a few friends.

I let her open her presents on Sunday, though – it was her birthday after all, and she was getting desperate for something new to do after being stuck inside with two sick parents for three days straight. I had picked up a few little things for her at the toy store – a bouncy ball (she said she just wanted “a ball to bounce on her birthday”), a new Melissa & Doug coloring book, a teddy bear, and a Melissa & Doug mini dollhouse with lockable doors. It was a simple birthday, and she was happy. The huge, 4-foot dog came later.

They had a few on display at the supermarket and, two weeks ago, E had spotted them on top of the yogurt cooler.

(Gasp) “Mommy! Look at that doggie!”

I got one down for her to see, putting the huge stuffed animal in the cart. Then I needed two stock boys to help me put it back

When I told my sister-in-law about it, we all agreed that E must have one – not entirely because we love her, treat her like a princess, and want to spoil her. I can’t speak for my sister-in-law, but I will here, because I know that… we’re both dreamers. Yes, we love giving E what she wants, but there’s more to it. It’s these types of gifts that she must have, more than any other little trinket or treasure that might catch her eye in the toy store. It’s this gift, this massive stuffed dog, that will trigger that specific look on her face – wide eyes, mouth open, wondrous smile, as she witnesses something beyond what her little mind can comprehend and realizes that it is hers to keep. Gah, I love experiencing that wonder through her eyes!

To achieve it, though, I had to pick up the dog sometime when E wasn’t with me. I didn’t have the chance, so I asked Mark pick it up on his way home, on Monday night.

So, there he stood, in the checkout line at Shaws, under the harsh fluorescent lights, supermarket music playing, holding a 4-foot-by-3-foot stuffed dog with pink hearts on its bottom.

In front of him a woman turned around to check out the dog, “Awww!” she sighed, “Aren’t you sweet!”
“Um, it’s for my daughter. It’s her birthday,” he explained.

A man behind him spoke up with a gruff voice, “What the hell you payin’ for that thing? Hundred-and-twenty bucks? Eighty bucks? I’d rather spend eighty bucks tryin’ to win that at the fair.”
“It’s forty,” Mark replied.
“See what I mean? Forty bucks for that??”

Mark didn’t explain himself or the fact that we were all going in on it together to save money. It didn’t matter. At the end of the day, we were still buying a huge stuffed animal. Eh, so what. Mark brought it home and stuffed it in the laundry closet while I distracted E. Then, she and I snuggled up in the chair to read some bedtime stories. Mark wandered the apartment taking care of random little chores, like gathering some laundry. He accidentally left the laundry-closet door open as E and I sat nearby.

Right before bed, long after I had forgotten about the dog, E looked up at me and said, “Mama, I want my own doggie.”
“You do?” I cooed, “Well, someday we will live in a big house, and you can have your own doggie!”
“No, Mama! I want my own doggie right now.”
“We can’t have doggies in our apartment, but you have Alfie and Waffles, Bee’s pugs.”
She started to cry, “No, Mama!! I want my doggie now!!”

She pointed up at the open closet door where the massive dog head was now peeking out.

“Um, Mark…”
“Oh no.”

Our secret was out, and we had to give it to her. She carries that dog around the house and asks to bring him everywhere with her. He must wave goodbye out the window when she leaves in the morning and sit on the couch next to her at snack time.  

And every day she gets home from day care, she looks at that doggie the same way – as if she can’t believe it’s real and that it’s actually hers


Alissa said...

This is the sweetest thing I've read in a while. Also, I'm still cracking up thinking of Mark standing in line at Shaw's with that giant dog. :)

AdminG said...

Haha!! When he told me, I almost died! Thanks, Alissa!!