I think my daughter, at age 9, is getting all grown up. She told me recently, “Mummy, I don’t play ‘school’ anymore. I’m too old.”
But then we have an exchange like this, about a favourite stuffed animal she received when she was 4 months old:
“Mummy, I don’t want Moomoo to die,” she said, her eyes bright with tears.
“She’s a stuffed animal,” I said. “She can’t die.”
“You know what I mean. I want to have her forever.” She squeezed Moomoo close, which causes a little shower of round stuffing pellets to fall out.
“Don’t worry, that won’t happen,” I told her.
“But what if it does? She’s losing all her stuffing.”
“We’ll get more stuffing.”
“But she it keeps coming out of this hole. I don’t ever want her to die.”
What are you going to do as a parent when this kind of thing happens? You know what you do: You endeavor to make sure Moomoo never does die.But this turned out to be harder than I thought. Moomoo is made of that slinky material that snags like pantyhose. She’s filled not with regular filling beads like the kind in beanbags, but with supertiny versions of it. These are not easy to find on the Internet. I ordered 1 cubic foot of polystyrene microbeads. They don’t arrive. I email the company and they respond by immediately sending out another bag (thank you, Custompac!). It arrives safely.
Then surgery begins: I make an inch-long incision through which beads immediately pour out. My daughter and I create a makeshift funnel, through which we try to scoop in microbeads, using my favourite I ♥ New York. The sofa and rug become a Milky Way of tiny white dots. But gradually Moomoo fills out, gets fatter. My daughter debates how re-stuffed she wants her to be. Eventually we achieve maximum squeezability, the perfect cuddle ratio.
I close the hole with two rows of stitches, strong enough to hold back grown-up years for a while longer.