Tuesday, January 26, 2010

We Can Rebuild Him

I am sad to report that "Operation Replicate Blue Bear" is off to a rocky start.

After our day long search for Snoodie's beloved BFF last week, I became convinced that we could avert future catastrophe by purchasing several duplicate Blue Bears.

My determination was partially informed by observing my two nieces, now pre-teens, and their love for the beloved companions of their youth: "Monkey" (Niece #1) and "Squiddy" (Niece #2) (what can I say - creative stuffed animal monikers are not my family's forte). These furry friends were received by each girl at birth (much like Snoodie's Blue Bear) and went on to accompany my nieces EVERYWHERE for the next decade.

Niece #1 was about five when Monkey's head fell off for the first time.

Her Grandmother (by luck, a trained physician) was able to reattach it, but the operation proved to be no more than a stopgap measure. A year later the head was off again, this time followed shortly by his left leg.

I'll spare you the grim details of monkey's ongoing deterioration over the ensuing years, as I believe the photo below will suffice:

(Monkey and Squiddy photographed January 2010. Monkey's tie added to lend him an air of dignity he sorely lacks in that he is, at present, merely a mangy monkey head and two ragged monkey arms grafted onto onto a child's onesie stuffed with foam)

As you can see, Squiddy has fared a bit better through the years, having needed only a few minor repairs. But, this is not to say that Squiddy has not presented problems of his own.

Once, on a road trip across to Chicago from New York, when Niece #2 was about six, the family pulled off for lunch at a highway rest stop before getting back on the road. It wasn't until about 100 miles down the road that my sister-in-law looked around the car only to realize that Squiddy had been.............................LEFT BEHIND!

Faced with the choice between driving three-hours round trip to pick up the errant cephalopod OR explaining to their inconsolable daughter that she would see her boon companion no more, they pulled a resigned U-turn and headed back to retrieve him.

But, I decided, no such fate for me!! I would take action, so that I might never be a slave to the lovey! The plan seemed foolproof. I would create my very own ARMY of well-worn Blue Bears, one of whom would always be at the ready to soothe the Snood!

I pulled Blue Bear's given name off his tag ("Mr. Beeps", for those of you who are curious), then I took to The Google and I FOUND HIM! For $15.99 a piece I could have as many Blue Bear replicates as my little heart desired! I originally considered buying a few dozen, loosely calculating that we could probably manage to misplace 8 or 9 bears a month, but David rightly convinced me that we could never keep that many similarly worn bears in the rotation, and I settled for two.

As I clicked SEND on my order I turned to David and announced proudly,

"I am a GENIUS! This plan is foolproof!"

Four days later a box arrived at my doorstep. Our new Blue Bears were ready to be introduced! David and I opened the packaged excitedly only to find...

...two pink bears. Pink, it would appear, is Mr. Beep's new signature color.

So, "Operation Replicate Blue Bear" starts again in earnest next week, as I take to eBay in search of more duplicate bears.

Until then, I'm watching the original like a hawk.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bad news Bear

I've talked before on this blog about things that you never want to hear as a mother, and this week I've added a new and exceptionally terrifying phrase to that lexicon. And it is the following:

"Uh, honey...have you seen Blue Bear?"

Yes, folks, our Snoodie has a lovey. His name is 'Blue Bear'. In case you have not been able to successfully deduce this on your own, he is a rather small yet very fluffly blue bear. He is very cuddly, and I have to say for the guy, he's also quite the trooper. Blue Bear was on the front lines for the "Great Stomach Flu of 2009" and required several trips through the washing machine by the time the puke quit flying. He's been dragged through the mud and peed upon more times than I can count, but through it all Snoodie's love for him seems only to grow.

At bedtime, Snoodie sees Blue Bear in my outstretched arms and immediately sticks one thumb resignedly in his mouth and trots off towards his crib, buddy in hand. Once there Snoodie lays down and tells Blue Bear all about his day. After chatting for a bit, Snoodie chews on Blue Bear's face and limbs for a while before drifting off to dreamland.

During the day while I work at my desk, Snoodie will often holler to me from the doorway of his room with a series of ever more urgent grunts:


Which loosely translates to:

"Hey, you! Lady who works for me! Blue Bear is stuck in my crib and I need you to come and retrieve him for me immediately!"

I get up, reunite the two pals, and Blue Bear and the Snood wile away the afternoon, hangin' in the playroom, romping in the backyard, and generally having a blast together.

Until yesterday morning, when suddenly - I COULDN'T FIND BLUE BEAR ANYWHERE!!!!!!

He was missing!



I clearly remember grabbing Blue Bear out of Snoodie's crib around 9:15am and I remember seeing them wandering around the house together shortly thereafter. But after that - NOTHING.

We misplaced Blue Bear once before. When we left for Florida at Christmastime, I realized that, in our rush to get out of the house, we'd completely forgotten him. We considered turning back, at risk of missing our plane, but then David remembered that we had an extra bear someone had given us in the back seat of the car. It was a Brown Bear, a bit on the small side and with a much smaller nose, but Snoodie seemed to take to him so we decided he'd do. Throughout the trip, Snoodie seemed to give his beloved Blue Bear nary a thought (causing David to surmise that our boy might just be the Tiger Woods of bears - with a new love around each corner).

So, when naptime came around yesterday with no sign of Snoodie's buddy, I hoped that maybe we could pull off another switcheroo. But, it appears that in the last month Snoodie's loyalites have sharpened. He rejected first a yellow duckie, then a tan Teddy, and finally his old favorite Winnie the Pooh that he used to love as a baby. Naptime was a thing of terror and by the afternoon the search for Blue Bear had turned truly desperate.

I pulled up couch cushions, emptied closets, and even pulled the fridge out from the wall to crawl behind it. David came home from work early to aid in the effort, but he too found himself stymied. The bear had simply disappeared.

By 8pm Snood was refusing to sleep at all and David and I were reduced to crawling around the house on hands and knees in the vague hope that being at Snoodie level might help unearth a stuffed animal we were only by then referring to only as (insert expletive) Bear. Due to the fact that we hadn't so much as stepped outside on account of the monsoon that is currently engulfing Los Angeles, I knew he HAD to be in the house. Considering the fact that we live in 1400 square foot home, it seemed impossible that we could not locate a foot-and-a-half high bear.

As 8pm loomed with our boy still refusing to head for bed alone, I finally turned to the Snood in desperation and said:


Snoodie stared back at me with an expression that said,

"Oh? That guy?"

...before marching into his room. In one corner, there was a child-sized suitcase shoved part-way under the crib. Snoodie promptly pulled out the case, opened it up, grabbed out Blue Bear, inserted his thumb in his mouth calmly, looked at me for perhaps the thousandth time like I might be a bit of a dummy, and then headed for his crib without further ado.

(the real Blue Bear emerges from his hiding spot)

David and I agreed that it was one of those nights where the only possible thing to do was to take to our bed (him with a large tumbler of scotch) and pray for the blissful release of sleep. BUT FIRST! We snuck into the sleeping Snoodie's room, grabbed the serial number off of old Blue Bear's tag, and headed off to the internet to order up six or seven duplicates of our boy's one true love.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Year, Same Snood

We're back from Christmas break at Chez Grandparentals in Florida - an experience that I can only describe as - "The Greatest Vacation That Ever Was."

I give most of the credit to my husband, who was all over the Snood while I dangled my tootsies in the hot-tub all day, salty snacks in hand. Honorable mention to my two nieces (aged 10 and 12) who were totally devoted to the kid.

Is there any question greater in this wide world, I ask you, than,

"Can I please change the next diaper?"

ANSWER: No, there is not.

If anyone in the greater Los Angeles area has two children of approximately similar ages who they would like to lend to me for several months, please contact me immediately.

Now that the New Year is upon us, I've decided that it is time for a Short Fat Dictator announcement!

Come May of Twenty-Ten, SFD Headquarters will be moving from a 'double-team' defense to 'man-on-man' as we are due to welcome a SECOND dictator to the brood. At present Snoodie the First is wildly oblivious to this development and continues to happily enjoy his waning days as the King of All He Surveys.


Now that David and I have been cast out of our Floridian paradise we find ourselves trying to adjust to our return to real life. Gone are the rooms filled with helpful family members! Lost are the seemingly endless opportunities for adult conversation! Oh, 5:30pm dinners at an endless array of chain restaurants - - I think I'll miss you most of all! (FUN FACT: the Outback "Bloomin' Onion" contains approximately three days worth of calories and fat -- AND IT IS ONLY YOUR APPETIZER!)

Now, instead of partaking in these simple pleasures, David and I are attempting to restore some equilibrium here at home, a process that involves BOTH trying to reduce our grease intake by approximately 900% AND (perhaps more crucially) attempting to get the Snood back on West Coast time.

Now, I have to say that under normal circumstances, my boy is a championship sleeper. Back when he was little more than 7-weeks old, my sister-in-law came to visit. She took one look at him and announced with a true air of authority:

"That boy's ready to sleep!"

She went on to work her "I am the mother of four - do NOT mess with me" voodoo on him and he's been sleeping beautifully every since...

UNLESS - he has jetlag.

Currently the three-hour time change (East to West Coast) is kicking his mini-behind. David and I have opted for the "cold turkey" approach, which involves keeping him up until his normal 7:30pm bedtime at all costs.

This is how we find ourselves at present living with a two-foot-nine version of Jack Nicholson's character from 'The Shining'.

From the hours of 4 - 7:30pm he wanders with the glassy eyes of a maniac, alternately laughing hysterically and then falling to the floor to wail inconsolably. There seems to be nothing we can do to interrupt this cycle and so we just seek cover and wait for bedtime to come.

Still, it's all a small price to pay for 9 days of relaxation. 9 days in which I consumed roughly six times the number of daily calories any human being needs for survival. 9 days of sleeping until EIGHT A.M. daily. 9 days in which I can count the number of diapers I changed on one hand. Like I said, "The Greatest Vacation That Ever Was".

And to think - there's only three-hundred and fifty six days until I get to do it again!