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.