Thursday, October 07, 2010


M decided over the weekend that it was time to switch out the Hoots.  As most of you long-time readers know, we have multiple Hoot owls.  Hoot is Zoe's most beloved possession, most cherished friend.  He's in virtually every photograph of her from the past four years, and we go nowhere without him.  When she draws pictures of our family, Hoot is always included.  Given the importance of Hoot, we have back-ups that we've rotated in and out according to degrees of wear.  There are a couple we can't use (too new, too thin), and the original Hoot still looks so sad that we've kept him in semi-retirement for awhile now.  That pretty much leaves us with two in the rotation: Hoot 2 and Hoot 3.

She's had Hoot 3 for awhile now.  He's lookin' pretty dinged up.  M's grown progressively more worried about him and has really been leaning on me to switch him out with Hoot 2.  I have been reluctant, as our daughter has super-human powers of observation that are only growing stronger with age, and will easily know the difference.  Finally, this past weekend, I relented.

As M got Zoe dressed for bed, I took Hoot 3 into the Hoot Depository and compared him to Hoot 2.  "Sorry, buddy," I said to Hoot 2.  "Break's over."  I looked at them both and sighed.  There were too many differences. She'd know immediately.  Oh well.  I placed Hoot 3 back amongst his Hoot comrades, and gamely took Hoot 2 into Zoe's room, whispering, "Good luck, buddy" under my breath.

M had just gotten her into bed, and the only light was her little nightstand lamp.  We made a fuss over tucking her in and I thrust Hoot under the covers, next to her body.  "Okay, g'night!  See you in the morning!  Sweet dreams!  Love you!"  We turned off the light and bolted.

Once in the hallway, M turned to me with a grin.  "Hey, that wasn't so bad!"  "Yeah," I replied, "Because she hasn't seen him yet!  Wait 'til tomorrow!"

Tomorrow came, bright and early.  Half asleep, I heard the latch of her bedroom doorknob click, and then I heard ours.  I felt her weight as she climbed up onto our bed and wiggled under the covers.  "Mommy?" she said softly.  I opened my eyes, "What's up, Zo?"

"Why is Hoot's eye small?  And what's wrong with his beak?  And his back feels softer..."  I winced as the boy on the other side of the bed started shaking with silent laughter.

We caught her throughout that day, holding Hoot out in front of her face and eying him warily.  She set him down once and went to retrieve her computer to practice writing her letters, and M feverishly worked to smooth away the "fur" around the small eye to try to make it look larger.  I smashed on his beak trying to get it to lie down.  I cursed Ty once again for not having a quality control process by which Beanie Babies are rendered uniform.

The questions really lasted only a day and a half, and she's stopped looking at him with curiosity.  He has become, as he should be, just good ol' Hoot, reliable and consistent.

I'm not sure how many more of these switches we can make.  M seems to think it's fine.  I think we're doing permanent psychological damage.


Blogger Steven said...

The question is ... who will need more therapy. 1) Zoe 2) Mommy/Amy because we all know it won't be 3) Daddy/Michael. He will just shrug his shoulder and matter of factly say "Zoe we didn't want you to destry Hootie!"

3:14 PM  

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