In an attempt to be good parents and not Grade A Procrastinators (like we are wont to do), Jason and I do our best to pick up small gifts throughout the year and then tuck them away for Kalina and AJ’s birthdays and/or Christmas gifts. We started this tradition several years ago, but it was only last year that we did it with much success at all. It proved to be so helpful and easy that we carried the tradition on into this year. We’ve determined this method is easier on the end-of-year budget, definitely curtails holiday stress and allows us to make our gifts more thoughtful and meaningful.
The latest purchase was one made by Jason. He had stumbled upon a large black-and-white cow that was very similar in color and markings to a cow that Kalina has had since she was an itty-bitty baby: one Moo-y the Cow. She had been appealing to us, on Moo-y’s behalf, of course, for a companion cow for her beloved, one that looked just like her, for some time. This cow fit that bill and the price was right, so he picked it up.
Our intention was to make the new cow be especially special due to Moo-y being her favorite. Plus, Moo-y is but a shadow of her former glory, having been through more than one cow should in such a short life. In a house that’s overrun with a brother and ruffian boy cousins, Moo-y has fallen victim more than her fair share of ill-fated plots. To add insult to injury, she’s also been misplaced and lost, left behind at houses and had her horn bitten off during a game of tug-of-war between the two dogs. Last year she even suffered a tear in a very delicate area that required an immediate episiotomy by Dr. Mom. Poor tattered but much-loved cow.
Moo-y remains unscathed by the tragedies that have beset her, choosing not to be a bitter cow. Through thick and thin, she’s had Kalina by her side (aside from the part where Kalina has left her and lost her a dozen or 32 times). She’s also had her brother cow: one Violet the Cow. Yes, brother. The purple cow with white satin horns, delicate features and an inviting smile. Kalina insisted Violet was a HE from the very beginning, so who are we to argue? And Moo-y does not judge. Plus, he likely gives her fabulous advice on how to make her milkshake bring all the toys to the yard.
So this morning I was sitting at the computer, post-shower, still in my towel (of note: the aforementioned Grade A Procrastination applies to all levels of my life, such as this one, which often entails sitting in my towel for an hour or more, distracted by shiny things). My feet were getting cold, so I slipped them into the black slippers I keep under my desk. When Kalina spotted me wriggling into their fluffy blackness, she raised her brow quizzically and asked the obvious, “Are your feet cold?”
Being a 5-year-old and therefore a lover of all things bright, gaudy, sparkly, glittery and/or all of the above, she immediately let it be known that I simply could not submit myself to the fashion repugnance I was currently employing. Instead, she insisted on retrieving my RED slippers (that are identical to the black ones in style) because I am so obviously above these atrocities. The fact that red is my favorite color made this exchange critical.
Off she scurried to the next room, disappearing for just a moment before reappearing again with the red slippers in hand.
I submitted to her instructions, obliging her request with a smile as she slipped the offensive slippers off my feet and made me don the highly superior red ones instead.
I thanked her for her diligence and concern and turned my attention back to the computer. Instead of turning away, as I assumed she would, she stood rooted in place, staring up at me expectantly. I noticed the sparkle in her eyes and wondered what else she had in store. I gave her a smile of encouragement and waited for her to enlighten me with what was on her mind.
I did not have to wait long.
She began. “Hey, mom?”
“Ummmmmmm, I was wonda-wing something. I wanted to ask you what is that black and white fuzzy thing in yo-ah closet?”
I shook my head slowly, trying to recall what she might be referring to in the very, very, very small closet in our room. Knowing there was only shoes and handbags, I assumed it was nothing of importance.
I CLEARLY wasn’t thinking because I then said, “I don’t know! Why don’t you grab it to show it to me?”
[Stupid, stupid rookie mistake]
So off she runs into the next room and emerges almost immediately with a plastic bag in hand — a plastic bag with two large black hooves sticking out the top — and a rapturous look on her 5-year-old face that only became more resplendent and bright as she slowly peeled the bag off the cow.
The word “oh” fell from my lips when I realized what I had done. My “oh” filled the room and squelched that rapture. She dropped the bag to the floor limply and looked up at me with worried eyes, an apology on her lips. Realizing she had misinterpreted my “oh” as one of disappointment in her, I smiled big and explained where the cow had come from. In truth, that “oh” meant that Jason had brought the large cow into the house instead of depositing it safely in the shop outside, the space for all things surprise and/or lawn and garden related. I went on to tell her that now that she’d seen it, the cow was all hers, and I was so, so happy that she liked it so much.
The rapture returned, and her gaze went back to the cow, taking in its pink horns, its pink nostrils and the soft black and white tufts of fur. She stared at it thoughtfully for a moment and then proclaimed authoritatively that Moo-y would not only (a) be excited, but (b) she would fall in LOVE at first sight. And then she thanked me a few thousand times before burying her face in its fur with a squeal.
Postscript: This evening as we prepared for bed, Kalina decided the time was nigh for naming, so we began to brainstorm. After I quickly dashed her hopes for “pillow” (to avoid potential confusion — my apologies to Blanket Jackson) she told me that due to the fact that the cow looked like a cookie (I agree! She’s the Oreo that comes with her own glass of milk!), that would, in fact, be her name. Very well. Welcome to the family, Cookie.