Friday, December 23, 2011
Meet Pookie, but Beware of the Smelly Pink Elephant's Powers.
He looks like your ordinary pink stuffed elephant, but Pookie is powerful stuff—to my three-year-old daughter, anyway. She’s obsessed with Pookie. Unlike most stuffed animals who live in their beds with their stuffed friends, and have no concept of the outside world, Pookie goes everywhere Rowan does - everywhere. Pookie goes to the Potty. Pookie watches TV. Pookie goes to the playground. The slide. The swing. He plays in the sand. Splashes in puddles. Licks the sidewalk. They do everything together. “Hey Rowan, wanna go to the bookstore?” I ask her. “With Pookie?" she says. "Yes, you can bring Pookie?"I tell her. "Yay,Pookie! Pookie! Pookie!"
Not only does she bring Pookie along on her daily excursions, she actually introduces him to people. “Say hi, to my baby Pookie.” And if you ask Rowan for a hug, she shoves Pookie in your face and says, “Give Pookie a little hug, because he’s my little baby.” The crazy thing is that neither my wife nor I can remember where the pink smelling thing came from. But all I know is that Rowan isn’t sending him out into the world by himself any time soon.
Recently, my wife and I were getting increasingly concerned about Rowan’s ragdoll addiction. One night we were switching channels on cable and landed on The Shining with Jack Nicholson. It was the part when Danny’s, (Jack’s son) imaginary friend was communicating with Danny through his finger. When that index finger started screaming, REDRUM, REDRUM, we both looked at each other, MURDER, MURDER, and began plotting to get rid of the baby elephant. Send him to a circus or something.
One night when she was going to bed, she panicked and said she couldn’t find Pookie. "Don't worry Rowan, when you wake up, we'll find him,” I said. She panicked a little, so we gave her Piglet the pink pig to fill in for Pooks. Then she fell asleep. The next morning, Pookie was nowhere to be found. Rowan was devastated. So we called a family search party to find him. “Sorry, Rowan we’ll find him,” I lied. He was missing for five days. Little did she know we stuffed him in a shoe box, under old socks, in Brooke's closet.
At first, things were okay without Pookie, but then going to nursery school became a problem. Every time one of us would drop her off to nursery school, she would grab onto Brooke’s legs, or wrap her arms around my neck like it was a tree trunk. The teacher said she stopped interacting with the other kids, and played by herself. Then at night, she told she us hated school. Our kid was too young to hate school. So Brooke and I talked it over a bottle of wine, and brought Pookie back from the dead to see if he could help our little girl. “Rowan, look who we found in the laundry bin. “ POOKIE!,” she screamed. “My little baby.” She hugged the stink out of him.
Talk about child psychology, she went to school with Pookie and her mood changed from night to day. Her teachers were pleased. And we were pleased. Pookie was now an equal member in our family. He has a permanent place at our dinner table, anywhere actually. Though, a bit much, at the end of the day, when I tip toe into Rowan’s room and she’s snuggling so merrily with her smelly companion, I don't care about her obsession. As long as she’s happy. That’s all the matters. She’s my baby girl.
However, I do have my days when I can’t take hearing the word Pookie anymore, and I have that yearning desire to take grab Pookie and snap his little cotton neck, and pull the stuffing out of him. But I know I never would, there’s a part of me that loves the little guy too.
Please share your childhood friends (imaginary or real) with my readers. If you dare. Happy Holidays!