Thursday, February 21, 2008

Something my inner child has never quite gotten over...

Here in central Illinois, the temperatures have been hovering around twenty degrees for the last several days. As if that weren't bad enough, my four-year-old hasn't had preschool almost all week. This means that I have gotten no work done in my attempt to entertain three and four-year-old boys all week (they are truly play deficient, and I say that in the most loving way).

I'm a fun mom. I cut their sandwiches into hearts and animals. I make them slushies with new-fallen snow. I build tents and talk about dinosaurs and endlessly ram trucks into things. But this past week the little girl still buried deep inside me wants to cry out, "Where are your dolls? And tea sets? And costume jewelry? And can somebody please tell me what happened to Barbie? "

There are no Barbie's here. No Ken's either. Just trucks, trains, stick horses that are used as battering rams most of the time, and lots of tiny, tiny soldiers that hurt like a beyotch when you step on them. It got me thinking about some of my most favorite toys. I had tons of Barbies, every Strawberry Shortcake Doll & friends, Smurfs, Care Bears, and Hello Kitty. I had no shortage of toys and was never denied anything (the upside of divorce). Then something really bad happened....

The year was 1983. The object of my affection was bald, male, and had a tattoo on his left buttock. No, I wasn't into biker dudes yet, I wanted a Cabbage Patch Kid. I knew, without a doubt, that Santa(the jig was up about Santa, but I was still afraid to completely renounce my belief) would leave one under the tree for me. I was spending Christmas with my dad in Idaho that year. I sniffed around the tree and couldn't seem to find a present shaped like a CPK. I didn't sweat it. I knew my dad was sneaky and that he would take it out of the box and disguise it.

Christmas Eve came and my stepmom's family had a tradition of opening all their gifts that day. So I ripped into sweaters, gloves, socks, etc. My dad handed me my final present and I knew this was the one that held my CPK. The box was decorated like a crate and had print on it about live animals being inside. I knew he was just trying to throw me off. I reached into the box and pulled out a huge stuffed seal. It was adorable but I was devastated. I buried my face into it, letting a few tears escape. My dad had already told me that he couldn't get a CPK because he just couldn't find them. People were getting into fist fights over them that year. I'm not sure why I didn't believe him but I was sure he'd pull it off.

I went to bed, sobbing into my seal, still a tiny bit hopeful that Dad was just waiting for Christmas day to present my "real" gift. I know, I was kind of slow for ten, huh? All Christmas Day I was positive my dad was going to pop up with another gift. Even up until bedtime. But he didn't. And I have to say that a part of me has never gotten over it. I know that sounds kind of crazy, especially considering that he got me two the next year. But by then it just wasn't that big of a deal (especially considering I came down with chicken pox on Christmas Eve).

Looking back I don't think I was mourning the doll as much as I was mourning the fact that my parents wouldn't always be able to make my every dream come true. I wasn't always going to get everything I wanted. Ouch. But it was a good lesson because it made me realize that I'm the one responsible for making all my dreams come true. I'm happy to say that I haven't let myself down yet!

Do you have a favorite toy from your childhood? Were you ever the victim of ESS (Empty Stocking Syndrome) that's a fancy name I just thought up for not getting what you wanted for Christmas?



Revenge of the Homecoming Queen, OUT NOW!

Twisted Sisters, coming very soon, April Fool's Day 2008!


TinaFerraro said...

Steph, I felt this blog--I really did. I remember that moment, too, when I realized I was from a family of mortals and that my parents could not make everything just happen.

And on the flipside, when my youngest was three, he wanted a Woody doll ("Toy Story") from the Burger King promotion. I tried, but they'd already changed to a new promotion, and he was getting so many other, bigger things, that I didn't think much about it. But he not only asked a few times that Christmas day...but in years to come. In fact, I think he's still waiting! Ouch!

Wendy Roberts said...

I have vivid memories of not receiving Baby Alive when I was about 8. Maybe that's why I now kill people in fiction now ha ha!

Meredith said...

My favorite toy was my own Cabbage Patch Kid. She looked just like me and I got her for my 2nd or 3rd birthday (late 80's). I love that doll! Because I was so young when I got her and thought that she looked like me, I named her Meredith, too! So I still have my Meredith doll in my room at the end of my bed.

There was one time when I was about 10 years old, I had been to a slumber party for one of my best friend's birthdays (it was in November) and everyone brought their favorite doll or stuffed animal. Well, I brought my Meredith doll and we had a blast. Until I lost her. I am not exactly sure how she ended up in the bottom of my friend's sister's (who was also my friend) closet. But she was lost for a month and I was devastated. My parents even bought me another doll (completely different from Meredith) for my birthday the next month and I cried because I said that she couldn't replace her. We have that birthday on video, so that memory will never die. Anyways, my friends' family was going on vacation for Christmas that year and the girls had to clean out their rooms before they could leave (that was some wierd tradition they always did.) Well my younger friend cleaned out her room and at the bottom of her closet, there was Meredith. She brought her across the street, gave her back, and made that the best Christmas ever for me!

Sarah Rettger said...

My mom's friend thought I had an awful mother because she wasn't getting up at 6 AM to find a Cabbage Patch doll for Christmas when I was two. I never had one, and didn't get the appeal.

My mom got lucky, I guess!

Simone Elkeles said...

We didn't have much growing up...yes, I actually did play with rocks. Although I totally was a huge Barbie fan and played with them, I didn't need much. Except friends...I couldn't collect too many of those.

Me said...

I never felt the Cabbage Patch Shortage because: a) I wasn't into them that first year, and b) I was living in Canada at the time (where they were called Petite Bou de Choux). There were a couple Christmases where I wound up with dashed expectations (a leather jacket comes to mind).

But I think this is all part of the magic of Christmas we're taught to believe in. We almost expect miracles--and our parents, being plain ol' humans with plain ol' bank accounts, can't always provide one. Maybe learning to separate the magic from the reality is part of the process of growing up.

Heather Davis said...

Oh, Steph! What a great post. I can totally see you sitting with your boys trying to tough it out with trucks and soldiers. I never was about toys or dolls -- though there was one blue stuffed monkey my dad brought home for me from a business trip when I was about 7. I still have him! I read the tag on him wrong and called him Applesauce. (The brand was Applause.) Looking at him on my bookshelf now, he's a very dirty monkey -- I should totally shampoo him.