Monday, March 22, 2010

Big Bird

When Peter was a baby he did not need or require a "beek blanket" or special animal as did Sara, Mike, and most kids. For Sara, it was a yellow thermal blanket, which I bought a large supply and replaced when one was worn, and for Mike, it was a sturdy teddy bear named....quite out of the ordinary...Teddy. But Peter did not have a need to cling to anything at an early age most likely due to his poor small motor movement and his inability to cling to anything.
It was not until around the age of 3 or 4 that Peter became interested in one special item. Coincidentally, that was also around the time of the talking stuffed animals, such as Teddie Ruxpins which was now owned by his older brother. It was also during a time when we were desperately searching for some toy to occupy Peter's time. He was not a TV watcher...could have been a visual thing, he did not build with Lego's...could have been a small motor thing, he was in his running stage and I was becoming in much need of anything that would keep his attention for at least some of the time. And then there was Big Bird.
Big Bird, if you recall, was also a talking animal that I think must have weighed ten pounds itself, for when I carried Peter and Big was an armful and heavy. And for years, they were a twosome. What Peter loved about Big Bird was his fascination with his talking beak. Remember the autistic like behaviors that Peter possesses...well, a talking mouth is somewhat like a closing garage door or a toilet that has been flushed. After we realized the connection between Peter and Big Bird we thought we had hit the sanity jackpot! My only mistake, was not to buy every Big Bird at Toys R Us. Because Peter so loved his Big Bird, Peter went through them every several months and we were more than willing to oblige in replacing the coveted animal. Peter would sit and watch the mouth for hours, but than grab the mouth for hours. Peter loved Big Bird's plastic hands so much that he actually broke down the plastic, and yes, Big Bird ended up in the bath and pools and wherever Peter could find water. Realizing this, I also should have bought stock in Fisher Price, as we were one of their best customers during those years. For years, the two of them were BFF's and in our house, BB's relativity was elated to the highest of standards. We all understood the importance of his presence in Peter's life and his ability to occupy Peter's time.
Eventually, FP decided not to make Big Bird anymore and with this realization, came panic. I had many talks with customer service, explaining my need for the Bird. They helped me hunt down the last of them, and soon I resorted to calling any second hand toy store asking about his presence. Pre-eBay days, so that option did not exist. Finally, there were no Big Birds left in the country, and an silent fear was settling in at the Labanowsky's. The last Big Bird did not talk anymore, there were no hands, and dirty???? Oh my gosh! Dirty and stinky! Time to move to Big Bird Heaven.
We huddled, discussed, and came up with a new plan. Fortunately, around that time...maybe this was a window....the Teletubbies arrived and Peter developed a very basic interest in watching TV. For some reason, although, probably a teen by now, he loved the Teletubbies and the gibberish. So, we found a talking, Dipsy. One that if you pushed his stomach, he spoke some language that made Peter laugh and love him. And so the story goes, no I did not learn, and yes, we replaced as many Dipsy's as Big Birds, only this time I could use E-bay when Dipsy's was not manufactured anymore.
Today, underneath Peter's covers, lies the last of the Dipsy's. His antenna oddly sewn on many times, and his voice activated stomach, now defunct. But when Peter meets up with the Dips, the affection displayed to that..what is it anyway..not an animal..oh that's right..a teletubby is awesome. Peter holds and rocks Dips, gently kisses Dips, and literally squeals with delight. Watching Peter elicits this warm fuzzy feeling inside me. I cannot help but laugh and just feel good all over. Again, freebie....lucky me!

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