Sunday, November 12, 2006

Big Elmo

Kyle sitting on his bed with Big Elmo

This is a confessional. I cannot believe I did this -- let alone that I am now making it public -- but this morning, during our weekly grocery store trip, I broke down and bought this very large stuffed Elmo toy for Kyle. There is a whole back-story to this... Braydon and I have been feeling bad that we gave Owen a whole "new room" and that Owen got the "big bed" (Owen got a double bed in his room, Kyle a single) and that Owen has some new things in his room and Kyle just has the old room with all the old stuff. Meanwhile, Kyle hasn't complained for a second (probably hasn't even noticed) -- this is clearly all just Heather/Braydon 'stuff' not at all Kyle/Owen 'stuff' (as, we are pretty convinced, is the case with most all parenting "issues"). Anyway, Braydon took Owen to run some errands this morning while Kyle and I went grocery shopping. As soon as we walked into the store Kyle spotted this Elmo. Keep in mind: my children only even know the slightest of what Elmo is from other kids at daycare (who have toy Elmos and Elmo clothes and Elmo shoes and watch Elmo on Sesame Street and own Elmo videos). K & O have seen Sesame Street/Elmo on t.v. maybe five times ever. A friend of Braydon's from work gave them a toy "Hokey Pokey Elmo" and that is the only Elmo thing in our house. And Kyle definately doesn't understand about buying stuff yet (neither of the boys do; we're kind of trying to hold off on the whole money/buying/selling/consumer-marketplace concept as long as humanly possible). But wide-eyed he stared at this Elmo, and he said, in the most sincere, urgent, pull-on-a-mama's-heart-strings-tone imaginable, "Mama, Kyle have it?!" He was riding alone in the front of the grocery store truck cart thing. I thought, "o.k., I'll just sit the Elmo in there with him and he can ride around with it, then we'll ditch it in the store somewhere before we go to the register." So, I plopped Big Elmo into the cart. Immediately Kyle put his arm snuggly around Elmo's neck/shoulders. He then started whispering to Elmo. Then talking out loud to Elmo pointing out things in the store to him: "Elmo, look at the bananas, I like bananas, Elmo like bananas?" And he rode like this throughout all the isles of the store as I shopped. At one point he asked me to pull the sale tag off of Elmo's hand... and I had to make a quick decision: do I buy this thing or not? It was one of those moments when suddenly everything was crystal clear: I was fully consciously aware of how completely ridiculously pathetic it was, but I was so heart-full of adoration for my precious little boy (who's twin brother got to get the "new room"), that I purposefully ditched all self-pride and moral-opposition-to-child-targeted-consumerism, and in a flash I pulled that tag off of Elmo's big red hand. I said, "Kyle, we can bring Elmo home and you can have him in your own room!!!" And his eyes sparkled and his face lit up. I said, "Sweetie Pie, do you want to do that?!" And he started bouncing up and down in the front seat of the little truck cart, hugging Elmo, saying, "Yes! Yes! Yes! Big Elmo for Kyle! Not Owen! Just Kyle! Not Owen! Just Kyle!" And in less than a heartbeat I knew I had made the right decision. As I pushed my beaming son and his new "Big Elmo" out of the store and into the parking lot an elderly couple approached me. The woman said sweetly, "Looks like someone has a new friend!" And I said proudly, "Yes! I cannot believe I did it, but I bought him this thing!!! Sometimes I just still can't believe some of the things I'm willing to do now that I'm a parent! Things I never in a million years would have thought I'd do!" And the man said, "Welcome to the club parent! We're grandparents now, but I can tell you without a doubt in my mind: You did the right thing." And I knew I had.

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