The libraries are taking a siesta from activities this month, so my son and I headed for Barnes and Nobles for their Wednesday morning story time.
It was boring. As in, so boring I began wondering if this was an intentional act on their part to lure parents to their coffee bar. The storyteller kept skipping pages, interrupting to share personal unrelated stories, and otherwise leaving me close to syncope.
After twenty minutes we wandered over to the train table area, where other
mothers nannies were huddled around watching their children play, and there is when I saw it: Elmo. Not any Elmo, mind you but an Elmo that does not vibrate, sing, shake, rock out to drums or in any other way do anything but what the child imagines it does. The perfect Eid present, I thought.
Except, I quickly realized, this isn’t the gift shopping of days before when I could just purchase him things without him realizing anything was going on. As soon as he spotted Elmo, he didn’t let go. Elmo! He squealed. See kitab! He propped up Elmo by the eyes to take in the books, the window, the carpet. Purchasing Elmo also required a bit of negotiations to allow him to release his grip and get the red furry creature over the counter for scanning. No plastic bags were involved in this purchase.
When he napped, I figured I’d hide it in the closet and pull it out again when it was Eid, wrapped and ready to presented for the gift it was meant to be.
Except, those days of guppy fish memory are long behind me. After a glorious three hour nap, he awoke fresh and chipper. And looking for Elmo.
Elmo? He asked raising his arms in question. Where Elmo? He went to every spot he took Elmo to. Under the pillows, the bed, in the toy box.
Eventually he’ll forget, I figured. Except, he didn’t. As the second hour of the one-man-man-hunt for Elmo continued I began feeling super guilty. It’s not his fault that he remembers gifts. Now he’s concerned for Elmo’s welfare and he loved it so. And while I knew they would be reunited in a few short days I began wondering if this was meant to be a gift then I shouldn’t be raining on my kid’s day with it. A gift after all should give way to joy, not manhunts. And as much as Eid gifts are essential, are they worth hiding at the expense of my son’s happiness? So, I called K.
Me: I don’t know what to do. He’s very concerned about Elmo’s disappearance. I think I’ll just go get it for him and get him some other gift for Eid.
K: Just tell him that Elmo went bye-bye.
Me: That won’t work. He’s been searching going on two hours crooning Elmo. He’s not going to give up like that? Remember Aloo?
K: Try it, tell him Elmo had to go and he’ll be back later.
So I got down eye-level with my son, and when he asked me again, Mama? Elmo? Where Elmo? I responded, Elmo went bye-bye. He’ll be back later. He considered it for a moment, and said, Okay! And I watched him run off to play with his toy cars. He did not mention Elmo again.
So apparently, sometimes its complicated. And sometimes its not. But either way, these jaw dropping moments of drama and intrigue? Reminds me why I love to be home with him. And, this whole parenting thing? Its truly on the job training. Glad my son is a patient trainer.
Ever gone down the rabbit-hole of existential parental angst for no apparent reason?