On our way back from the Polar Express adventure, we paid a visit to Bearizona, a drive-through wildlife park with coyotes, bison, bears and other animals that could tear us apart should the windows in our car suddenly shatter. At the end of the tour, a walk through portion enticed with actual zoo-like exhibits where baby bears, polar bears and the random peacock strutted by. Of course it led to a gift shop the size of Rhode Island.
And of course Ty eyed a small stuffed animal. An owl. Wearing a scarf. With goo-guh-lee eyes (Ty’s pronunciation, people).
“I have to have it,” he clutched the helpless owl. His eyes locked onto ours like a wild animal backed into a corner. “I NEED.THIS.OWL.”
It’s here I interrupt your thoughts to say Bry and I are serioulsy giving it our best at this parenting thing. Sometimes we make lame decisions, and sometimes we chalk it up to a win, but with Ty, well, it’s a Ty world and we all live in it. The kid can charm a freakin’ postman to give him every package straight out of his postal truck. His cries are enough to win over heartless souls. His expressions and manipulations could earn him a chair in the oval. It’s ridiculous.
Given the opportunity, we are trying not to put our youngest into a selfish coma. The kind where every time he asks for something we instantly gratify his demands, teach him he can have everything, that we are made of money and desire nothing more than to shower his every request with gifts and cheap toys. (Shiny tooth smile)
We told him no. We said, “You don’t need that owl, bud. Christmas is coming and I’m sure fun gifts are waiting.”
You would’ve thought we told him we shoot ponies for fun.
Bearizona’s Gift Shop turned into WW3 sobs. Screams. Clutching and clawing and bawling as we walked back to the car. And during the next 7 DANG HOURS on the drive home to CA Ty would interrupt every 30 minutes with another plea.
“I NEED that owl. Maybe I can get it for my birthday next October. I’ll have an owl party. Please? How many months ’til October?”
“If you still want that
stupid precious owl next October, we will talk about it.”
The next morning Ty sat at the kitchen table and drew the owl. In case we’d forgot.
“Mom, how do you spell s-c-a-r-f? (Cue big Ty sigh) How do you spell goo-guh-lee eyes? (Cue another big Ty sigh).
Mom, how do you spell M-A-I-L TO T-Y P-O-G-U-E-S H-O-U-S-E? What’s our address?”
You guys, I’m thinking this owl thing would’ve passed.
I made the mistake of telling friends later that night. Gathered around the table we were sharing and I’m like, “Oh I’ve got a story for you.”
“So did you get him the owl?” they all ask in unison after we laughed about Ty’s determination.
I look to the left. I look to the right. They are dead serious.
Weeks later guess who opens up Mr. Owl? Yep! Compliments of my mother who literally said and I quote her now: “See? He had to wait. He didn’t get it THAT DAY!”
Oh my word. Our instant gratification lessons are failing miserably.
And to top it off she tells me that after she spoke with the kind woman in the Bearizona gift shop she got a call from one of my friends. A friend who happened to be sitting at our table the night I shared the owl story. She and another friend had left our home and decided Ty HAD TO HAVE THAT OWL and called the Bearizona Gift Shop only to receive a return call, “Um, this may sound weird but do you know a Laurie Harris? Yes, she had a similar story about a boy and this owl.”
And that my friends is how Owl came to live at our home. Against all odds. A prized stuffed animal.
Until the next day at Savers when Ty saw a Ninja Turtle stuffed animal.
“I HAVE to have it, Dad.”
“No you don’t. And you better not tell anyone about it.”
Pray. Pray for us now.