Far be it from me to fault any person for having too great of an appreciation for stuffed animals. Growing up, I loved the soft and squishy creatures. They crowded my bed to such an extent that for Christmas one year, Santa brought me a triangular storage hammock that hung up in a corner of my room. If memory serves me right, I think I could reach it and grab a desired cozy creature with an outstretched arm by jumping up and down on my bed. But of course to place my animals in the hammock, I’d prefer the shot put method from the floor … across the room.
Well, with six-year-old Lollipop #2, the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree (or trees, really, from the stories I’ve heard of Wife’s younger years). Lollipop #2 also has a deep infatuation with stuffed animals. I asked her tonight why she likes stuffed animals so much. Her response, “they are just so soft and I love playing with them!” No argument here.
With all the CoronaVirus (COVID-19) shelter-in-place/quarantine at home/homeschooling craziness going on, the kids, with the exception of a few walks through the neighborhood, have been mostly sequestered away in the house or in our yard (yay Spring weather!). Their social lives have turned virtual as the girls both love to use Facebook’s Messenger Kids and have electronic play dates on Roblox. But they are still stuck at home and no amount of virtual adventures can really replace the random errands, school time, or girl scouts meetings normally on the agenda. There might be a little bit of island fever going on here.
So today, Lollipop #1 and Lollipop #2 decided that their bedroom furniture placement could use a bit of a refresh. This is not really a normal thing for us, as a military family. Neither of the girls has lived in the same house for much longer than two years. When the furniture gets placed, the next time it gets rearranged is because movers came, loaded it into a truck, and shipped it across the country. So I guess it is no surprise that as we near two years in our current house, combined with some stuck at home restlessness, they wanted the furniture to move.
So it did.
Moving furniture around in one room is not a huge deal. But moving the stuff that is on that furniture is a whole other story. When the world is actually open to visitors, we usually get to the library at least every other week. But still, Lollipop #2 has a lot of books in her personal collection across multiple shelves. And that does not even come close to her collection of stuffed animals. Her bed, her closet, her tent … flooded with stuffed animals. On a recent trip to Germany, talking to the kids beforehand, I made mention of finding them a good souvenir. Lollipop #2 gave her best puppy dog eyes and said, “Pleeeeeeease can it be a stuffed animal?” Yup, I’m a sucker. It was a stuffed animal.
So now that the furniture is all rearranged, there is a mountain of furry dog, pony, bear, monkey, unicorn, princess, and snowman (yes snowman) critters ready to be sorted. Normally Lollipop #2 takes joy in being the sorting hat for which corner of the room each stuffed animal goes, to include the prominent post on the bed (only trumped by the chosen one she sleeps with). But tonight, the room felt so new that it just called to be played with. And the animals were not getting sorted.
And here is where I submit my own nomination for “Lazy and Effective Dad of the Year”. I am laying on her bed watching her not put her animals away when a moment of conflict rises in my mind. Wife is asking her to put her stuffed animals away. Lollipop #2 is not putting her stuffed animals away. I am laying on her bed doing nothing watching her not do what she is being told to do.
Course of Action #1: Keep laying here and enjoy some chill time with my daughter (obviously not the right choice, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t consider it).
Course of Action #2: Get my lazy self up and help her put her stuffed animals away (effective, but I’m tired).
Course of Action #3: Motivate her to put her stuffed animals away (while exercising only my jaw, ladies and gentleman, we have a winner).
So we made a game of it. At first I had her climb over top of me to put her stuffed animals away on the wall side of her bed. But this one-at-a-time thing was not going to cut it. Wife might come in and think I selected COA #1!
So we adjusted. Lollipop #2 stacked as many stuffed animals on top of my backside, from head to toes, as she could. And only when I was sufficiently covered so that just a single additional animal would cause an avalanche of cute, she would then climb onto the bed and make their final transition from Daddy to display. Bingo!
And even better, not only does the game make my daughter giggle, but I get all these nice warm soft stuffed animals all piled up on top of me like a cozy plush blanket.
So the job got done … eventually. Wife did come in and while instantly aware that I had in no way attempted COA #2, and likely suspected COA #1, she saw some progress after some in-depth explanations of COA #3 by both Lollipop #2 and me. But kudos to Lollipop #2 for morphing the mountain into the display all on her own. Well, at least I think it was on her own … I fell asleep halfway through.