Last night I had one of those rare moments when I was able to step away from the mayhem of the daily grind of motherhood and quietly observe my youngest child, Annie—6 years old—playing school with her 99 Barbie dolls.
The innocence of listening to her gently reminding Barbie and friends to always wipe front to back (at least I know she’s paying attention!) was absolutely priceless. Even better, she can carry on a conversation with the toys and me without missing a beat. As I chuckled to myself about the rights and wrongs of toilet paper, she casually mentioned to me that she couldn’t believe a Toy Story 4 movie hadn’t been made yet.
“Hey Mom, don’t you think there should be a new Toy Story movie where Andy gets married and finds out that his toys really could talk all those years when he was a little boy?”
I’m sure our friends at Disney’s Pixar have probably taken this brilliant idea into consideration, but it actually started me thinking, I mean cringing, at the very thought of what the toys in this house would have to say to one another or worse—to our family members—if they had vocal chords that worked!
If I could get inside their plastic heads, I think this might be a sampling of what they’d have to say:
“It’s really not so bad when we get shoved under someone’s bed in this house—there’s always plenty to eat, always furry things to hide under and it sure beats getting left behind in the car. Last summer a few clam shells fell out of their beach pails and stunk up the van for a month. How the heck could they not figure out what smelled so horrific?”
“Those Butler kids have one clever mom. They have no clue that half the time she removes the damp bath towels from the hamper and dries them with a sheet of Bounce rather than washing them!”
“Wonder what the father of this house would think if he knew how friendly Mrs. Butler was with that man who drives the brown truck? We know she could break an Olympic record for scooping up the packages he leaves, jumping ever so swiftly up the attic stairs and quietly hiding things he’s not to know she purchased!”
“Back to that clever mother—those kids still have no idea where she hides all the school snacks. Wouldn’t they be surprised to know she stashes things in empty cartons she gets at the produce stand—practically right under their cute little noses. The chances of them looking for Twinkies in a box labeled Aunt Jo Jo’s prunes is just not gonna happen.”
“Oh, and if they only know what she did with all those art masterpieces that come home in those backpacks all year long! This conversation is all too familiar—“Mom, have you seen that finger painting of Abe Lincoln that I did last week in art? I left it on the kitchen counter and you said you’d save it to show Grandma.” Yep, we could bag that mother in no time flat. “And what about the candy she steals from their Halloween sacks and Easter baskets? Some people blame it on the dog—she claims she has no idea what happened to it.”
Then again, with all the toys we’ve had in this house for the past 18 years, surely there would be a few noteworthy mentionables on my behalf. Perhaps they might talk about the many nights they observed me staying up till the wee hours taking care of a sick child, or about how I paced back and forth waiting to hear how one of them did on a major test in school, or about how they saw me secretly crying when I knew they had been made fun of by other kids or when they weren’t good enough to make the team they tried out for—those types of things.
I suppose these are all secrets that will remain safe and sound because as far as I know, our toys don’t talk, which is a very good thing because this morning I just grabbed Candyland and Chutes and Ladders and placed them where the sun don’t shine. A mother can only handle playing those for so long before losing her mind, and I’d hate for my kids to find out!
Copyright 2012 Cheryl Butler