Friday, July 11, 2008

The Pain of Being Zookeeper to Stuffed Animals

I am evil. Or at least I feel like an evil person right now. About a month ago, Weston decided he was too old for stuffed animals and gave his enormous collection to Garrett. Nice, right? Yes, but Garrett already has an enormous collection of his own. For a week or so, Garrett's sleeping quarters were confined to a small sliver of his bed not already occupied by stuffed monkeys, lions, cats, bears, puffins, and unidentifiable puff-balls. The day before our cleaning lady was to arrive, I finally moved most of them to Garrett's closet. The mere suggestion that some of them should be donated to another child not so fortunate as him was enough to bring this otherwise stoic child to tears.

Fast forward to last weekend when an older (and more enterprising) boy across the street was having his semi-annual fleece-the-neighbor's-children sale. Garrett came in itching to turn over some of his hard-earned cash to this future Ron Popeil. My answer was that yes, he could buy a mini baseball bat, for a dollar, if and only if he gathered up 15 stuffed animals for donation to a worthy cause. Off Garrett went with fire in his eye and purpose in his step. A few moments later I began to hear sniffs and snuffles, and it was not long before he re-emerged with tears pooling on his lower lashes. He is now sitting resigned in front of the television, secure in the knowledge that his bears and cats are safe, but that the stewardship of this large collection of stuffed animals comes at at stiff price.

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