Benjamin is the type of two-year-old that causes middle-aged women on the street to chuckle and muse, “He’s all boy, isn’t he?” He is a Mack truck of a child, built like a brick shithouse. He is 40th percentile for weight because he is all solid muscle, but he is the 75th for height and the 90th for head circumference. That boy has a massive head, much to the regret of those of us in his path when he sees fit to use it as a battering ram. His features are giant, too, and the tears that roll out of his eyes are huge balls of water. That’s his mouth up there on the banner, stretched out in all its cave-like glory.
All that masculinity has made him feel no shame in expressing his feminine side, as evidenced by the scene in my house on Halloween. I waited to put on the boys’ costumes till three minutes before we went out because I did not want them to get all anticipatey and wonky on me. Zach had insisted he would be Woody from Toy Story, which caused me to silently cast evil spells towards the relative who had given us that book among a stack of hand-me-downs. Benjamin, on the other hand, was simply going to be wearing the cow costume Zach had worn the year before. What the hell did he care?
A lot, apparently. As I pulled out the cow and began to dress him, he looked at me with those enormous eyes pulled wide for effect. “I wanna be Tinkerbale.”
Now, much as I would have paid money to see this particular child in a fairy costume, I did not have a Tinkerbell costume handy. In fact, this was the first inkling I got that he even knew who Peter Pan’s sidekick is. We had never even discussed her before, and now he was crestfallen because he had his little heart set on being her for Halloween.
The Tinkerbell thing, as we have come to call it, snowballed from there. Conveniently, this was exactly the same time that Los Angeles suddenly became plastered with that smirking green fairy on every other billboard, so the simple act of walking to the pharmacy was suddenly the chance for a celebrity sighting. “Look! Look! It’s Tinkerbale!”
By the time Hanukkah rolled around, I was determined to find the boy a little Tinkerbell figurine. Unfortunately, Disney had not seen fit to stock its stores with anything so simple. All the fairy paraphernalia was considerably more elaborate than the two-inch plastic goddess I was picturing. Normally, I am not one for buying a lot of crap, but I knew full-well that this toy would be the highlight of his holiday. If I could find it.
As luck would have it, we went to Disneyland one morning just before Hanukkah. The folks at Disney had set up a spot known as “Pixie Hollow” for all things green fairy related. And there, in the obligatory shop, I hit paydirt. The perfect little plastic girly for my all-boy.
He also got to meet his idol in the flesh, at which point he became so star-struck he was unable to speak. No matter, a few days later, he got his Tinkerbell figurine, which he proceeded to take to bed with him every night.
Finally, my husband gave in. He could not resist any longer and bought the brand new Tinkerbell DVD. Really, dude? We needed a DVD? The kids are supposed to be limited to one 20 minute show a night, yet sometimes it feels like J does a lot of eroding of that rule on the weekends. I have made my (rather convincing) case that, if we are going to allow extra TV, it should be on weekdays when I need the boys still so I can feed the baby. So, the DVD has stayed in its box for weeks, much to the relief of Zachary, who suspected that Captain Hook might be lurking somewhere within.
And then, it was Wednesday. Our nanny is off Wednesdays. J would not be home before the children were in bed. And I desperately needed time for Lilah’s usual evening cluster-feeding. It was time to pull out the big guns.
I turned on Tinkerbell.
The boys watched for a half-hour before dinner while their sister nursed. Then I turned it off, promising more after we ate. No sooner had I turned around then Benjamin was at the DVD player, pulling out the DVD and staring at it, hoping to elicit more Tinkerbell through some sort of hypnosis. After we had eaten, I put it back in and disappeared to feed Lilah.
Just as she was nearing the end of her feeding, I heard sobbing coming from the living room. Benjamin sounded terrified, and I was silently cursing the friend who promised there was nothing scary in the film as I delatched the baby and went running in. Oh, there was something scary on the screen, all right.
Benjamin was disconsolate, so it took awhile for him to get coherent words out, but eventually they came. “I want another one!” he sobbed, man-sized tears running down his face.
Aw. There’s something about fairies. My husband likes them too.
There’s certainly been a redemption campaign for Tink’s character in recent years. They’ve made her sweeter. I didn’t like her when I was a kid because I thought she was too mean to Wendy.
This is hilarious! And sweet (in the best sense). Well-written. You should write a book. I mean it.
Good for him – talk about well balanced!
Awwww… what a softie.
My boys adore Dora the Explorer; her DVD’s are extremely popular here.
I love that story, my son finds “girly” things so interesting since we didnt have many of them at home….at a playdate the other day he was tickled pink (pun intended) to push the doll baby pink stroller around (of course no doll was in it…he was toting around a monster truck but it was funny seeing how much he loved that stroller).
Although I let my kids view too much (albeit educational) TV…… I detest the whole DVD player in the car “rage” we are in now…. people are always amazed that my 3 1/2 yr old son knows about left turns, right turns and has given us instructions for where we are going (and gotten upset when we take an alternate route, because “this is not the right way at all”)….for quite some time. I love it, he is paying attention to whats going on…..not just what flashes across a 9 inch screen. We even make frequent trips to visit the inlaws 6 hrs one way…..and we never need a movie!
I love that Ben loves Tinkerbale.
One of Bean’s very favorite movies is Cinderella. It’s very calming for him, I think, though he always yells at Lucifer the cat. Of course, Cindy’s recently been deposed by Wall-E, but soon she’ll be back in her place of honor.
It takes a real man to love that Tinkerbale!
ps: I’ll try to get you those Q’s tonight. I’ve had to be an actual court reporter all week ;(
Oh that boy! I want to buy him every Tinkerbale thing I can find. Seriously, if I ever do meet up with you I’m bringing him something because I am a Disney addict and I have no problem spreading my disease love of Disney to other people. (I didn’t get in touch with you when I was in town because I had no internet access. I wish it had occured to me to pick up a phone book. Or would that have freaked you out? Probably that would have been weird.)
Hmm, that didn’t work. “Disease” was supposed to have been crossed out. Now my comment just looks dumb.
That was so sweet!
Dash used to cry when ever we got to the end of a book and said “the end.”
And can’t convince anyone in my house to watch Tinkerbell, although I think that JJ is in love with Dora.
My nephew is very in touch with his feminine side since he has a girl twin. He loves make-up and female frippery. His dad used to fight it, but finally decided it was harmless, I guess. He had a serious obsession with Belle for a while.
But Tinkerbale? That is so stinkin cute.
your description of him in the first paragraph? could totally be Monkey. even though she’s a girl. yeah. lol. those two would be a sight to see together.
and on that note, the first weekend of June I’ll be in L.A. with the child and my dads. Heads up, mark it in your calendar 🙂
I love seeing that side of them. The Snake loved Arielle from Little Mermaid, and Cinderella 2 (not the original, had to be #2?). He loved his cousin’s Polly Pockets too.
Oh that is awesome…I love it. Next time, ask me; I have plenty of Tinkerbell stuff and access to Tinkerbell paraphernalia.
Loads of fairy wings in this house. 🙂
I love how you describe him and this whole story.
My all-boy loves tinkerbell too!
I really loved this post – thank you for sharing.
My husband still doesn’t get that Saturday mornings are not for watching cartoons until your eyes bleed. He’s getting better, but I know he thinks I’m kinda nuts about it.
My daughter has typically chosen “masculine” costumes for Halloween. This is the first year she wants to be a fairy (she decides what she will be the day after Halloween, and seriously, that is what she still wants to be 11 months later.) This year a little girl came and “sprinkled fairy dust” (with permission) on our porch. We still have glitter on our steps and it gets tracked in all the time. But that sealed the deal. Fairy for next year. I wonder if my son will want to wear the hand-me-down outfit the next year?
First, I’m sorry I forgot you on my list yesterday. You’re up there now, and trust me, what you gave me is incredibly useful. Thank you madly.
Secondly, your Benjamin is my Alex. Same child. Same exact child.
Parenting! What a wonderful thing to look back on, except I’m still occasionally parenting my 48, 46, and 35 year old sons who are all full-fledged adults. It just gets easier as they get older and understand that you actually know something sometimes.
Speaking of videos, as your kids get a little older try to find “My Friend Totoro”, a Japanese animated video in English that may be my all-time favorite for beauty and a great message for children.
I just want to go around saying Tinkerbale now.
What a great story (and I agree with Lilian about the book part). Love the confounding of gender stereotypes. I’m sure Ben will get hours of enjoyment from his Tinkerbale. Also had a little (childish) chuckle at the husband who likes fairies.
My colleague’s little boy is happiest in a tutu
I know you have a gazillion awards, but I couldn’t very well omit the VERY FIRST blog I added to my blogroll. Thanks for a good read!
i love it! great story!
As a mother to an Star Wars-obsessed, swimming genius who loves ballet dancing and tutu-wearing… I hear you!!
I used to love fairies, as a child. We had this great book of fairy stories, beautifully illustrated, which I am still looking to replace.
Will any fairy do, or is it only Tinkerbell that Benjamin craves?
(And I have a few Tinkerbell costumes lying about, although they might be too small for B by now. Maybe just the wings?)
It’s so nice when they have hobbies. 🙂
Ok, TinkerBALE is the best part of that whole story. I know you can’t – not only because it’s past but because you are too smart to put it on the internet – but what I wouldn’t give for a video of Halloween night. 😉
I love the part of my son that seems girly. It makes me smile. Of course now that he’s ten – he only shows it to me…..i wonder why that is.
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