A tragedy befell our home yesterday. “Bumblebee”, 3-year-old Milo’s favored companion and plaything, found himself in the jaws of the dreaded (designer) cur, Floyd the Goldendoodle, Consumer of Puzzle Pieces, Shredder of Toilet Paper, Stealer of Stuffed Animals.
“No, F’oydie! No, F’oydie! Not eat my BUMBLEBEE!”
Mommy came to the rescue. Bumblebee was thoroughly slobbered and his blue “tool arm” was mangled. He was otherwise intact.
Milo looked at me through tears and cried, “Him got hurted. F’oydie eated him arm.”
My impulse was to say that we would go get a new Bumblebee. Tomorrow. First thing. It wasn’t an expensive toy—six dollars spent six months ago—and Milo has gotten plenty of play out of it. But then I had a sinking suspicion that maybe this impulse might be a parenting cop-out. What kind of a message would it send to my sons? That everything is disposable, replaceable, worthless once the newness fades? If I lose a hand one day, will they want to rush out and get a new Mommy? Oh, it might be absurd to make a lesson out of a cheapo plastic toy, but then again, when a teaching moment falls in my lap, I hope to have the wherewithal and fortitude not to push it away.
“Poor Bumblebee,” I said, rubbing Milo’s back. “He got a big owie. Poor, poor Bumblebee. You know what we need to do, don’t you?”
Milo stopped crying into his hands and looked up with hope on his face.
“We need to take him to the hospital,” I said. “Right away. Emergency! Emergency! Wee-ooo! Wee-ooo!” (This is what my dad used to say when he removed my sisters’ dolls’ limbs to shake out the bathwater that had filled them; it somehow made their temporary dismemberment less disturbing.)
We made ambulance noises twice around the kitchen, the older boys participating along with Milo and me, and then set up our OR on the table. With my sons crowding around, I used my sharpest scissors to perform the surgery (“plastic surgery”, if you will) carefully trimming away the mangled bits and then returning the toy to Milo. Milo kissed Bumblebee’s “owie”.
“My love you, Bumblebee,” he said. “You all better now.”
Milo was still a little bit sad about Bumblebee’s partial amputation, so to cheer him up, I found some clips of Bumblebee on YouTube. The only thing is: Milo has no experience with Transformers, or with the character Bumblebee, beyond his toy. He has never seen the television show or read Transformers books; he is not aware of the film series; the only reason his toy is named “Bumblebee” is because the guy at the toy store told him so. Seeing his toy come to life on the screen was overwhelming. He screamed.
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! Dat Bumblebee on Mommy’s ‘puter! Him movin’ around! Him talkin’! Him…him…him… DAT BUMBLEBEE RIGHT DERE ON MOMMY’S ‘PUTER! BUMBLEBEEEEEEEE!”
I was worried it was too much for him. But he was not frightened. It was just the most exciting thing that had ever happened in his entire life.