My eldest daughter’s birthday has rolled around once more and tomorrow she turns 9 (yes, that does make me feel old, as it happens. Thanks for pointing it out.) so today, after near-on a full year of planning; begging and promising, I took four excited girls to a bear shop to spend an hour ‘making’ bears (instead of, you know, just buying one). And what a revelation this was:
- On entrance we were greeted by a man with a bear in a backpack….on his back. And already, this was starting to feel slightly surreal.
- We chose our bears (well, the children chose bears, at least, I just acted as bear-related advisor) and then we explored the range of options regarding ‘sounds’ and smells’ that could be inserted into our bears. All four girls rejected the growls; giggles; heartbeats and even the ever-present ‘Frozen’ lyric, which remained on an almost permanent loop whilst we stood in the queue causing me to consider all the ways in which I might be able to forcibly ‘let it go’ without being thrown out of the store.
- Next, we stuffed the bears with stuffing; and a heart; and our love; and some wishes….ahhh…. (Argh!!)
- Then we made a birth certificate for our bears….ahhh (and gave the lovely store people all my personal contact details just in case they want to harass me to make more bears).
- And finally, the pinnacle of the visit; the USP of the store and the reason the girls had sensibly chosen cheaper bears (and rejected the sounds) thereby releasing equity from their bear budget to pay for……..the clothes and accessories.
And what a choice of clothes and accessories there was! Your bear could be a ballerina; a princess or an ice-skater….the imagination truly knew no limits within this room of surreal bear-creation and I, for one, was lost for words.
Let me just select for you a handful of the sights I found most compelling…
- Boxer shorts. For teddy bears. Just wrong.
- Wigs. Again…for bears. Just disturbing.
- Vest tops; ra ra skirts; wands; suitcases…no bear need ever be short of their desired outfit or accessory ever again.
I know what you are thinking. I am not 9 tomorrow and this is not aimed at me, so I should stop looking through my cynical adult eyes and try to remember what being 9 is like.
And you are right. The 9 year olds (and the 6 year old) all LOVED it. They made their bears with love and they chose their accessories with care. This WAS for them and they thought it was great. When we got home, Ana debated whether she should reveal the wish she had wished for when she put her heart into her bear. She finally decided to tell me and (bad mother that I am) I had to choke back my guffaws when she announced that she had “wished for bunny (her chosen bear) to find love.”
And there you have it….so very wrong and yet, so very right all there in one bunny wish.