The Beaner and the Bear

I mentioned in one of my bathroom progress updates yesterday that the Beaner has a teddy bear, and that he thinks of it as a her. My sister and my niece got the bear for the Beaner for his first birthday, but he didn't show much interest in it until his second. Anyway, it's a Build-A-Bear, so naturally my sister and my niece got a couple outfits for it (that's the whole point of Build-A-Bears—the clothing and accessories that go with them), both nods to Al's and my hobbies, hockey and golf.

This morning when I was getting myself and the Beaner dressed, he asked if the bear was in her jammies, too. I said no, that she didn't have any jammies, so she was still wearing her golf outfit (and, strangely, the ice skates from the hockey outfit). "Why doesn't she have any jammies?" the Beaner asked. "Um, because Aunt Lisa and M. didn't get her any. But I think we could probably get her some at the store."

The Beaner immediately lit up. "Can we get her some at the store RIGHT NOW?" I said no, it was only 7:30 in the morning, and the store wasn't open yet. But next time we went to the store, I promised, we'd buy her some jammies. Now, normally I'm kind of a hard-ass when it comes to the gift-giving and the treats and all that, but I was really taken with the ideas that (a) he thought of the bear as a her, (b) he had declared his undying love for her, and (c) he thought she needed jammies. I decided that I would run some errands in the car before starting work, and that I'd do my best to get his bear some jammies while I was out.

I left the house at 8:40am and did some banking, then continued on to the Target, where I'd wanted to go last night after Lowe's. I was kind of mad when Al vetoed the idea (ostensibly because it was too late, but I think more because he wanted to go to the Target in New Jersey, where he could get Mexican food, on another night), but actually it turned out swell, because I pretty much had Target all to myself at 9am on a Friday morning. I got all the stuff I'd come for, plus two Cars t-shirts and a pair of Nemo swim trunks (on sale for $1.98!!) for the Beaner, and then headed across the street to the Cherry Hill Mall.

I timed it pretty perfectly; I had a chance to pee and get a coffee at Starbucks, and by the time I'd taken my first sip of decaf double-tall latte, they were raising the gate on the Gymboree store. (Oh, right, I forgot to mention: I also needed jammies for *the Beaner*, as he's down to only two pairs that fit.) I found a cute short-sleeved shirt/bermuda-length shorts pair on sale in size 4T, paid for them, and then headed next door to the Build-A-Bear Workshop... where I was appalled to find that the only girl bear pajamas looked like something off a Bratz doll. The boy pajamas sucked too: my only choices were a Superman set and a Spiderman set. (The Beaner doesn't know who Superman is, but I'm pretty sure he'd think those jammies would look weird on his bear, and he's declared Spiderman to be "a little scary.")

After hunting around for a while, I finally settled on a plain white t-shirt (I thought of it as a babydoll-type girl shirt, but it might have been unisex—which, as far as I'm concerned, would be a good thing) for $4. As I took it up to the counter, I suddenly had an idea. "If you were going to put real baby clothes on a bear," I asked the woman there, "what size would you get?" She replied that she had no idea, "but whatever you get, it'd have to be small. Sometimes people come in and buy the bear outfits for preemies." I paid for the shirt and then went back over to Gymboree.

I found the 0-3 months section of the sale rack, and scanned for preemie clothes. I found about five or six options, all in muted shades of pink, yellow, and orange. The problem was that even on sale, most of the items were more expensive than the bear outfits. I finally hit on a winner, though: a pair of romper pants for $8. Wooo! Now the Beaner's bear could have a pair of pajamas that looked roughly like his own, instead of like a Vegas hooker's.

When I got home with all my loot, the Beaner gasped, "LIGHTNING McQUEEN!" when he saw the t-shirts... and then he looked at me with a puzzled sort of love, like "you did that for me?" when I showed him the bear's new jammies. That's when I knew I'd succeeded as a mom.

the bear, in her jammies
the beaner and his bear the beaner and the bear watch the red sox
"I love her so much! She's my beeeest friend."

Postscript: After the Beaner got out of the shower and he and Al were sitting on our bed with the bear, Al called out to me, "These jammies are really cute... but you know, I had no idea until now that this bear was a girl!" I replied, "Honey, COME OUT HERE THIS INSTANT," and a whispered conversation ensued out of earshot of the too-eager-to-repeat-every-word-we-say Beaner, in which Al was apprised of the recent "her" designation.

I have to say, after the Dora backpack debacle, I am thrilled for the Beaner to have a gender-neutral toy that he can play with however he likes, not how we too-eager-to-assign-gender-roles adults say he should.

Posted by Lori in parenthood at 9:57 PM on April 27, 2007


Ha! That's funny because I was actually in Gymboree recently when one of the employees came in with her daughter to buy clothes for her Build-A-Bear. With her discount, it was cheaper for her to get the Gymboree stuff.

Cheaper and, you know, not trampy.

Posted by: madge at April 28, 2007 1:23 PM

That *is* funny. And the not trampy? VERY KEY.

Posted by: Lori at April 28, 2007 1:30 PM

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