I'm sure you've heard about, or watched, the video of a little boy reunited with his lovey, Ah Ah, a blue monkey, after three years. He lost the little guy on a camping trip in Yellowstone, I believe, and his mother just happened to find it on Ebay three years later. Yes, the same exact monkey! It was remarkable, and the little boy's emotions over having his Ah Ah again brought tears to my eyes. The fact that he had named his monkey Ah Ah, so close to Alex's Ha Ha, made it even more poignant for me.
Last Wednesday we accidentally left Ha Ha at her swim school, but didn't realize it until the few moments before nap time. She kept asking for him, over and over, as I repeatedly searched the house, the car, the yard. He was nowhere to be found. I knew I had Ha Ha 2.0 ready for such a moment, but I hesitated. I figured it was probably at swim school so I could just reassure Alex of that, have her nap and then we'd go pick him up. But what if a little kid scooped him up? What if he really fell out of the car in the parking lot and someone took him home? I didn't want to make promises I didn't intend to keep. Alexandra has an incredible memory, even remembering songs we sang to her when she was six months old ("Make the baby, IN the bed, make the baby, right IN the bed!"). I didn't think she'd let it go, even for the duration of her nap.
Anyways, so with some trepidation, I unwrapped Ha Ha 2.0 and, already sick with the lie that was spilling out of my mouth, I said "I found him!" and she gasped and squealed with relief and delight to see her buddy. But then I handed him to her. She knew instantly, but what saddened me was that she didn't ask me about it. It's like... It was as if she knew I deceived her and that I couldn't be trusted with follow up questions. He was infinitely softer, cleaner, fresher than Ha Ha, and his face was slightly different, the stuffing not being quite identical to Ha Ha. She knew it too. She found the tag that was still on him, where Ha Ha had no white tag. I wanted to whack myself upside the head. I got scissors and cut it off, and once more I lied to my child, saying "Ha Ha is super fresh and clean isn't he?!" and she just went "Super fresh and clean" and gave him a hug.
She napped with him and carried him around afterwards, but she also kept looking at him. We went and got Ha Ha from the swim school but I hid him in a towel so I could do the switch. I didn't want to like, rupture the space time continuum by having her see two Ha Has together side by side. Before going home we went to visit our friends Allison and Eric and to see their new house. While there, Alexandra told Eric about how Ha Ha (2.0) was "all fresh and clean!" because SHE KNEW HE WAS DIFFERENT, omg.
I don't know why it bothered me so much but I just felt deceptive and wrong. I now regret getting Ha Ha 2.0, to a certain degree. I mean, I know she accepted him, but I just don't like that she knew it was NOT Ha Ha but didn't ask me about it. Didn't seem to have faith in what I'd say to her. So I do know now that if the time comes when we cannot find Ha Ha at ALL, like that poor little boy with his Ah Ah, I will not try to cheerfully pass off Ha Ha 2.0 as the original. I will tell her it's another monkey. Offer her to name him something else. Or hell, I might even find a little lovey that is the same style as Ha Ha, but a different animal.
This probably seems like an over-emotional hyper-sensitive mommy post but the fabrication, the cover-up, didn't sit well with me. I'm not one of those new age hipster moms who is all "I won't EVER lie to my child, even about Santa Clause" because Santa is rad and I myself still sort of believe in him SHUT UP DON'T LAUGH. But there are times and places for white lies and fibs, and I just don't think that being faced with the permanent loss of your number one buddy is the time for it. That's for consolation, snuggles and learning experiences.
I don't know. I think I may sound ridiculous but at the same time, I don't care. I just hated that moment when she had Ha Ha 2.0 in her hands, and she knew something was wrong.
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