Last Christmas it was one of those toys that was sold out everywhere and had parents scrambling for it from mail order companies, shipping fees be damned.
We got ours early, before we knew it would be a hoopla toy. We bought it on Halloween, because our nearly three-year-old son was so obsessed with it that we had to make weekly trips to Target to play with it, pressing every button on the edge of the safety glass display over and over again to make the Imaginex Bigfoot laugh, spin, and grumble. But at nearly a hundred dollars, every week the answer was no.
But Quinn really wanted it. And frankly, we really wanted him to have it. And not for a reason anyone would suspect, although, yes, my husband also really wanted to play with it. It was because of Humpty Dumpty.
Quinn was in love with Humpty. By the time we bought Bigfoot, we were nearing a year of repetitively singing Humpty Dumpty, boiling eggs to play with by the dozen and drawing oval after oval after oval on the doodle pads.
Six months earlier we thought it was cute, and figured, he’s two, how long could this possibly last?
Six months later we were considering sharp instruments and wondering how bad it would hurt to drive one through our eardrums. We hoped that Bigfoot would become a new focal point. At that point, we might have been just as happy if knife juggling was the new focal point.
But, sick of it as we were, we also bought a cute little stuffed Humpty, because when six bucks can make your kid happy, how can you not do it? I mean, we were at least self aware enough to know that our abhorrence of all things Humpty was our own baggage.
So for two months Bigfoot and Humpty sat side by side at the top of the closet, waiting for Santa.
Concerned that the unveiling of either gift may bring the whole tree process to a screeching halt, we placed both packages at the back, to be unwrapped after the clothes and the books.
Humpty came first. HUMPTY! IT’S HUMPTY DUMPTY! MY VERY OWN CUTE LITTLE HUMPTY! This became and still is one word – mycutelilhumpty.
And it did bring everything to a standstill for a while, until finally Quinn could be persuaded to put Humpty down and open the final present. Humpty was oh so carefully placed on the floor as Quinn reached for the small package his father held out to him.
Bigfoot was in a big box, carefully wrapped in an upright position, with no barrier between him and Quinn save for a thin sheet of wrapping paper. And he was ON. The little box was merely the remote, something Quinn had never seen at the Target display.
He unwrapped it and, puzzled, began pushing buttons that resulted in roars and grunts from the box, which delighted him. Until he hit the somersault button.
Bigfoot somersaulted straight out of the package (of course we thought this a grand idea the night before) and careened straight into that cute little Humpty, sending him flying up into the air to land in the trash bag of torn paper.
HUMPTY!!!!!! There truly is no font size large enough to encompass that shriek. Or the next 30 nightmarish minutes of devastation while we rescued the stuffed egg, gathered up and disabled Bigfoot, cramming him back at the top of the closet from whence he came and reeled in Quinn’s screams of terror.
Humpty moved in. He replaced the former leopard lovey at bedtime, he became the favorite toy of all. Bigfoot stayed in the closet. Every few weeks we’d bring it up, ask Quinn if he wanted to check him out. The answer was always a vehement, “NO!”
Then we got the puppy. A BIG puppy. Half St. Bernard, half Burmese Mountain Dog. At 5 months, she is the size of a full grown female Lab. And we all love the dog, thought I do suspect she may be the dumbest animal ever bred. She’s afraid of wind. Wind. But that’s another issue altogether.
The puppy wants to befriend the cat. The cat wants to murder the dog. The boy wants to watch the byplay at face level, so the three of them constantly careen around the house baying like a pack of deranged hyenas while we shout “It’s only fun until you lose an eye!” Did I mention it’s a small house?
The poor cat began losing his mind. And it was shot enough by the introduction of the boy several years earlier, plus the addition of my father’s neurotic (read: nearly feral and hiding in the basement) cat, so I tried really hard to make Quinn understand that while he and the dog were having a grand old time with this game of chase, to the cat, it was terrifying.
But he didn’t relate. Until I remembered Bigfoot, eight months in exile. And in a stellar mothering moment, I threatened to go get Bigfoot if he cornered the cat again. Though surely not Dr. Spock sanctioned, it worked. For a week.
It is probably worth noting that Quinn is now a little over three and a half and the words “hypothesis,” “diabolical” and “astute” are all words that are regularly and correctly used by him. He is disturbingly bright, and makes logic leaps that frankly freak me out. So a week after I began the Bigfoot threat, he called me on it.
“Quinn, leave that poor cat ALONE! Do you want me to get Bigfoot?”
He spun around, looked me square in the eye and said, “Yeah, Mama. I do.”
But not forgetting the price tag on that hunk of plastic and fur, I went and let the dog out, then fetched the toy.
There were a few uncomfortable moments, when I could visibly see Quinn struggling with his fear. But he was going to beat me. In the end, he had so much fun with it, that I texted (this speaks volumes, I LOATHE texting) my husband, who was out on a fishing trip: We’re playing with BIGFOOT! 🙂
So the fear of Bigfoot has been resolved, I can no longer threaten my son with his greatest fear. (I’m really not sure what I was thinking there, I really don’t.)
I was pondering what I should take away from this little exercise when I let the dog in. And she promptly lost her marbles. Terrified and shaking, she flew at the roaring Bigfoot in a flurry of barking, club-sized paws and teeth.
Bigfoot? Back in the closet. And Humpty still smiles at me every damn morning.