When I chose the stuffed animal for yesterday’s Weird Old Lady post, I actually chose one of Kiddo#2’s small friends from her her Weird Little Childhood. Allow me to introduce…Tat.

In 2003, we visited my Patient In-Laws, and while there realized we’d forgotten to bring a Small Friend for Kiddo#2. Kiddo#1 had brought two Beanie Baby cats, and we convinced him to let her borrow one for the course of the trip. Because God looks out for fools, drunks, the United States of America, and me, somehow the child agreed.

For the entire trip, we could not have pried that cat out of her hand with a crow bar. Kiddo#2 was an early talker, but she had trouble with the C sound, so the cat became Tat.

On returning home, the Beanie Baby cat was restored unto her brother, and the first trip we made, even before I bought milk, was to The Really Cool Toy Store in order to buy a replacement Beanie Baby Tat for Kiddo#2.

(I have to say, during this entire episode, I remember them both being remarkably…mature. Kiddo#1 sharing his stuffed animal? The same child who objects if you breathe oxygen he might need someday? And Kiddo#2, at age 18 months understanding that if she waited about six hours, I’d buy her a cat of her own? See above comment about God looking out for fools.)

We went right over to the stuffed animal section in the Cool Toy Store, and there we
found it: no Beanie Babies.

No, really. None at all. Beanie Babies were not, as it turns out, cool enough for the Cool Toy Store.

Quavering, I picked up this Budda-esque orange cat and presented it unto Kiddo#2. A tremble in my voice, I said, “Do you like him?”

She enfolded him into her arms and nodded with solemnity.

We paid. It was a harrowing fifteen seconds while the cashier scanned him but then it was over, and Tat was again being hugged.

We walked across the strip mall to the Stuff You Have To Dust Store, where they sell collectibles, and they of course did have Beanie Babies. I found one identical to the one she’d loved on the trip and showed it to her.

Hugging Tat even tighter, she shook her head vigorously.

I asked a second time. She began to tremble. And I realized, she thought I meant to take the orange one away from her if I bought this new one.

With a sense of doom, I left the Beanie Baby there. But without cause: that Beanie Baby never stood a chance in Kiddo#2’s affections.