It’s officially Mardi Gras time here in Mobile, Alabama (we were first New Orleans, deal with it) and boy, does my family gets excited about Mardi Gras. I had a cold this weekend and decided to stay home (I have been attending these parades my whole life so if I miss one or two, it won’t kill me. The kids and Gabe both think missing a single one will kill them). Friday night, even though temps were in the 30s, all 3 of them bundled up and went to the Conde Cavaliers parade. It was like they knew they were about to be blessed with a Mardi Gras Miracle.
They stayed until Meyer said he couldn’t feel his feet anymore and Gabe took that as a sign that perhaps it was time to come home. If they must.
At any rate, the boys’ favorite throw to catch, hands down, is the stuffed animals – and let me tell you, the stuffed animals these organizations throw are NOT NEW. They are recycled from year to year (you catch some, you pass them along to a person you know in one of the parading organizations) or – more likely, they come from thrift stores and the like. They just go in and grab up every one they see. And don’t waste your time thinking they wash them or have the least bit of concern about germs or grime or anything like that. Some of them are so dirty, I’m convinced the organizations also do a little shopping in the landfill.
Friday night when the boys got home from the Conde Cavaliers parade, they ran straight into my bedroom to show me the stuff they caught. Meyer had a stuffed blue bear that he was hugging so tightly, you’d think he’d never owned a stuffed animal before. He held it out to me.
“Look mommy! I got a blue bear!”
I recoiled. It was the dirtiest thing I have ever seen. I mean, I already had a cold and I’m pretty sure the only thing holding this bear together was ebola and e-coli. I refused to touch it. I skittered away from it across the bed like a hermit crab.
He began to mock cry. “No, mommy. I LOVE him. I want to keep him forever and ever.”
“Then he has to have a bath,” said I.
Neither of the boys like for me to put their stuffed animals in the washing machine because they’re strong believers in anthropomorphism. But this one was going in the washing machine on sanitize or he was going into the trash (from whence he came).
Blue Bear was so dirty, he looked like he’d been used to wipe someone’s ass for most of the parade route and then tossed out to my kid at the end as a prize.
He was so dirty, I wouldn’t touch him. At all. I had the kid drop him into the machine and then I poured in a bunch of detergent, Borax, bleach, vinegar, Oxyclean, baking soda and holy water (yes, you can buy it), closed it up, turned it on sanitize and then performed the sign of the cross.
At some point before going to bed, when the cycle was over, I reached into the washer with a pair of tongs and pulled it out. It was actually clean. Blue Bear was clean. I tossed him into the dryer and went to bed.
Other parents of little kids, I’m sure, are not surprised to learn that I often wake up early in the mornings with a kid standing next to my bed. Usually it’s the 4yo and usually he’s asking me for food or TV or to get up. This time it was the 4yo but he wasn’t saying anything. He was just standing there like one of the Children of the Corn with a weird smile on his face holding blue bear. Blue Bear, on the other hand, was singing “Jesus Loves Me” like he was on his 14th hour of a tent revival.
Somehow, the squawk box inside the heart Blue Bear is holding survived the sanitize setting on the washing machine and the extreme heat in the dryer – and when you squeeze the heart, a suuuuuuper creepy child voice (anybody remember Talky Tina?) that sounds like the child is stuck inside a well starts singing “Jesus Loves Me.”
My husband, who is Jewish — still half asleep — thought he was being called on to renounce his faith.
The newly named Creepy Bear (even the 4yo calls him that now) has been a resident of our house for 3 days now and we’ve had to listen to that creepy thing sing “Jesus Loves Me” all over the house. At one point yesterday, both children were upstairs and I was working in my bedroom downstairs when I heard it start singing. I gasped and threw myself against a wall then realized I was hearing it through the monitor in Meyer’s bedroom.
I’m counting the days until he catches something else (not e-coli please) at a parade and turns his attention away from Creepy Bear so I can throw him out. I will not rest properly until Creepy Bear has found a new home. In the landfill. Where he will be picked up again by another Conde Cavalier, used to wipe their ass for 3/4 of the parade and then thrown back out to your child during next year’s parade.
And the cycle continues.
For now, I’m stuck with our Mardi Gras Miracle.
But look out next year. Creepy Bear is coming for you.
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