Friday, February 17, 2012

My New Social Network

I have a whole new group of friends. It took me awhile to get all of their names straight. There were so many of them, and almost all at once. They were all colors, shapes and sizes, and while I didn’t lack a social life before, I now found myself befriending many types of animals and creatures as well. It was a strange new world, getting to know them all and getting up to speed with all of their likes and dislikes. They rarely leave my house, but unlike stereotypical houseguests, they never leave wet towels anywhere, they don’t have any special dietary requirements, and they don’t mind sleeping in a heap from time to time. Of course, not once has one of them ever offered to clean up, but I guess you can’t win them all. Isn’t it enough to keep up with Facebook, Twitter, school friends, skating friends, the local baristas, people at my husband’s office . . . just anyone I need to remember. But this? This I didn’t see coming.

Barney was first on the scene. He was easy to remember because, well, he was large and blinded us with his personal shade of purple. Then came Old Panda, followed by Hopkins the frog (Hop-Hop for short). This tiny green frog began dominating our every move. Can’t get in the car without Hop-Hop! Can’t go to bed without Hop Hop! The Panda family had to keep up with the Frogs-es, and grew steadily as Baby Panda, Amanda Panda, New Panda, another Baby Panda, Little Panda and Crawley (don’t ask) joined the fray.
Not wanting to be outdone, the frogs leaped ahead with Eggo, Stripey, KK Frog, Kermit and some large ball of green fur that has yet to be named. Barney, thankfully, didn’t bring along any friends.

Eventually this crew allowed other species to make their way into the living room, but not into the kids’ beds. That is sacred territory. Only a spaceman of extreme worthiness could bridge that gap, and his landing occurred in late 2009.
Buzz Lightyear’s leadership relegated the miscellaneous monkeys and zoo creatures that had filled in the gap between birthday and Christmas to a small pop up tent, seemingly content to lie in a heap of inattention. Then Barbie made her grand entrance and all hell broke loose.

She pranced in and guess who wasn’t far behind? Princesses, with all their accompanying pink and sparkly paraphernalia. Anyone who knows me knows I love pink. But at first glance, I wanted to ask, “Who shot the bottle of Pepto Bismal?” The inanimate amongst us built a small village in my living room, but the good news is that they now had their own mobility options. Trucks and cars of varying behaviors parked themselves on the Thomas table and under chairs. A garbage truck aptly named ‘I Stink!’ by my son became the preferred mode of transport for a small giraffe named, oh hell, I have no idea what his name is.

Alas, my head swimming in more names than I’ll ever remember and more faces daily that blur my eyes are now the audience to which I must cater. Who gets to sleep in bed? Who gets to go in the car? Who watches you eat breakfast? No, they can’t go to school with you. You have real friends there. I know, I know, these friends ARE real. Sigh. I just sometimes wish my kids had imaginary friends. They would be far less messy, could go anywhere with us at any time (except the bathroom – PLEASE LET ME PEE IN PEACE!!), and I’d never trip over them or take an unexpected ride across the living room, face first into the couch because they got left behind in the rush of everyone trying to play with the same toy at once.

I rarely have time to talk on the phone, and without Facebook I might have less of that aforementioned 'social life'. But when I see the wonder on my children’s faces as they talk to Charlotte, Hazel, Stripey, Eggo, Hop Hop or whoever, and make up stories to create this ‘real’ environment, I have to pause and wonder. These stuffed friends remain in previous centuries, blissfully unaware of digital friendship. It’s like they know something about being face to face. Despite the fact that they are so loved they almost have no faces left. Hmmm.


  1. THis made me laugh so hard, I remember the days of "No mom that's jojo bear not hoho bear!"

  2. my son has over 100 stuffed animals - it's been a memory challenge because he names them all!!! (you are a better Mom than I though because I HATE Barney and banned it from day one!)

  3. this is too funny! I can so relate. Thanks for sharing!

  4. That is AWESOME. I'm so at that point right now with trying to remember all the Angry Birds names (from my older son) and the Moshi Monster names from my younger son.

    And Barney was banned from our house so he never joined my social network! ;)

  5. I also banned Barney. And Dora. Can't stand either one. I am constantly donating bags full of stuffed animals. I can't stand them. I have yet to come up with a good way to store them. Any suggestions?

  6. Love this - it reminds me of the cast of characters in our house. But the emotional connection they have with them is not to be underestimated. Last summer my son lost his favorite stuffed dog. We bought two identical dogs as replacements, and he likes them well enough, but he still mourns for the one he can't find...

  7. Sharlene, I split them up and store them in small places so it looks like less of them. Periodically I go through them and weed out the ones I know are 'less important' and send them on to new homes. But really, the BEST way to keep the socializing to a minimum is to not let them come to the party in the first place!

  8. I seriously have to limit the stuffed animals in our house...sigh....

  9. LOL! We have a whole cast of characters in our house too and they just seem to keep growing and growing.