“Where’s the Sylvanian house?” Tracey asked me when I met her back at the car. Her energy is still a bit low since losing a fair bit of her insides, so I’d offered to race into the shopping centre to buy the present.
I am notoriously bad at picking presents for the kids. I have been for twenty four years now. But every couple of years I need to test the water to see if I’ve improved.
“I know we agreed on the house and I was going to get it,” I assured Tracey, “but then I walked past a shop where you can build your own bear and I changed my mind.”
“Because it looked like fun.”
And it was.
Personally, I think I made Miss4 a wonderful bear. It’s a girl. It’s Frozen blue. It has a heartbeat and it says (and this is important) what Miss4 says whenever she answers the phone – “What’s your name?” I even dressed her as a ballerina, because Miss4 loves being a ballerina.
Bear – Girl – Frozen – Ballerina – Talking – Heartbeat.
I was ticking boxes.
“Look at it,” I told her. “It’s gorgeous.”
I genuinely put a lot of thought into it and did, if I say so myself, a really good job.
Which is why I was so devastated when Miss4 took it out of the box on her birthday, gave it a once over and tossed it aside, grabbing the next thing to unwrap.
“Wait! Wait! Wait!” I protested. “You haven’t seen what it can do yet.”
I showed her the heartbeat and made it talk, the whole time with a silly grin on my face. It’s so awesome!
“Thank you, Daddy,” she said.
I even got a cuddle.
But then she was off playing with the Sylvania family I’d returned to the shopping centre to buy as a sort of peace offering with my wife.
And today, as much as I kept shoving Emmerina, as I’ve come to call her, into Miss4’s arms every chance I got, I couldn’t help notice the bear kept appearing around the house horizontal and alone.
“I don’t get it,” I said to Tracey when I could finally bring myself to admit I’d got it wrong again. “I really thought she’d love it.”
“I think,” said Tracey, “the special part of a present like that is where you actually get to choose the different things and build it yourself.”
Which, since at 48 I find myself emotionally attached to a blue ballerina bear, is very hard to argue.
Another present I bought was this wonderful book, I Love You, Daddy, which, according to Tracey’s reading, had some odd lines.
“‘Daddy is smart, but not as smart as Mummy,'” and, “‘Daddy’s breath smells like dog’s farts in the morning.'” Neither of which I recall spotting during a quick perusal in the shop.
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“Raising a family on little more than laughs.”