Saturday, April 4, 2009

"OhHO Dash!"

There is a guy in my life about whom I have hinted before, but I've never spent much time discussing him here. I think I may have mentioned him twice in passing. I guess I felt that it would be kind of strange to devote a post to him. But as I sat and thought about it, I realized I spend almost 100% of my waking hours with him. He factors into my plans, and household activities are planned around him, so I think he warrants a post. Plus he is absolutely central to Emily's existence...her happiness hinges on his constant presence, therefore he is very important to me too. I am speaking, of course, of Dash the Giraffe.

Emily has shown preferences for stuffed animals occasionally over the past few years. Her favorite toys have almost always been bunnies (which she still stubbornly refers to as "hoppies", even though she definitely realizes that's not what they're really called) with the exception of a couple weeks of Nemo-inspired fishy preference. But she never seemed to care what particular "hoppy" she was dragging around, just that she had something soft to play with.

Dash has actually been around even longer than Emily. Will's Aunt Betsy gave him to me at my baby shower, along with a bunch of cute matching onesies. She lives on a farm, and she initially thought that the characters on the clothing were cows, so she grabbed up a bunch of matching items. She must've realized they were giraffes and just decided to go with it once she decided to buy Dash because I've never seen a cow with such a long neck, and even though she has raised quite a few cows herself, I'll bet she hasn't either.

So Dash was always there, waiting in the toybox or the toy hammock in Emily's room. He'd periodically come down to play, then disappear for a little while longer. As an infant she preferred toys that were more interactive, and Dash doesn't do much other than rattle. As a toddler she has seen him now and then, but never really been interested. A month or so ago, all of that changed. I'm not sure what brought it on, but all of a sudden he went everywhere with her. Whenever we told her he was a giraffe, she would repeat after us but the word would come out as "Dash", and now it is just his name. I think it's a good name for a giraffe. If I don't remember to bring him upstairs at bedtime or naptime, I will most certainly have to witness my daughter's eyes growing wide with panic and her voice losing its ability to say anything other than "Dash! Dash! Dash! DASH!". He gets particularly frisky during diaper changes, kissing Emily's face and toes and climbing her legs, illiciting the occasional (and unsettlingly flirtatious) "Oh, Dash!" from Emily. Occasionally he is also "poopy", and Emily demands that I wipe him too, although as you saw in the last post he is making stunning progress with both using and living in the new potty.

I have to plan my loads of laundry around him. As any well-loved toy does, Dash becomes filthy on a pretty regular basis. Thank GOD Emily decided to form an attachment to a toy that is machine-washable and not one of those fancy little "wipe with a damp cloth" stuffed animals we seem to have so many of. That is just NOT practical. As was the case today, I had to make sure I had a load of whites ready to go when I put Emily to bed, so that as soon as she fell asleep I could sneak Dash out of her crib and into the wash, hopefully to be all clean and dry before she wakes up. It proved more difficult than I had thought, as she had fallen asleep with a death grip on his neck.

I am now pleased to say that thanks to Grammy's generous donation, we have a back-up Dash. Since Emily would be absolutely broken-hearted if anything ever happened to Dash, Grammy suggested I look for another one online. He wasn't easy to find, since he was just sold to go along with a particular line of clothing at The Children's Place and there aren't many of him out there. Another Dash finally turned up on Ebay...for $12.99! How much did this thing cost originally? I griped about it, and finally Grammy decided that she would see to it that Emily had a back-up Dash, even if her mother wasn't willing to submit to highway robbery on Ebay to get her one. Dash the second arrived in the mail today, looking pristine and proud, with a head that will stay up straight instead of dangling off to the side on a neck that has had all of the stuffing squeezed out of it. I am thinking of putting Dash the second into rotation as a substitute when Dash the first has to be washed while Emily is awake. I debated just putting him up on a shelf in case any calamity befalls Dash the first, but the longer Dash the first sustains the brunt of Emily's affections, the more he will deteriorate and the more obvious it will become that pristine Dash the second is not the real, well-loved Dash.

We are having a Giraffe-themed birthday party for Emily next month, and I am hoping to make her a cake that looks like Dash. I have been taking pictures of him, making sketches of him, and brainstorming foods that fit into the "Dash" color scheme of white, ivory and orange with a touch of greyish-brown. I would love to do a whole Dash theme, but since he's just a toy and not a TV character he has no background story and I am not a skilled enough graphic designer to create our own Dash decor.

Have I mentioned we're a bit obsessed with Dash around here?

There. I've finally gotten it off my chest that these days I spend almost as much of my time thinking about Dash and doing Dash-related chores as I do accomplishing anything else. And now I know that when our second kid comes along, I should encourage him/her to take interest in toys that are machine-washable, and preferably ones that you can easily find on party supplies.

Now if you'll excuse me, I hear a little girl over the baby monitor who is seconds away from realizing she is Dashless. And unless the dryer is lying to me again, Dash should be just about ready.

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