YO MAMA: An unexpected guest
Bob arrived at the door on my son’s second birthday, riding atop my father-in-law’s shoulders. Both of them wore a big, goofy grin.
Bob barely fit through the doorway and was promptly moved to the living room couch, where his gigantic head immediately face planted into his crotch.
You see, Bob is a six-foot-tall stuffed bear.
“Where did Bob come from?” I asked, followed by, “will he need to go home soon?”
Grandpa simply said: “Every boy needs a bear.”
Surely a more modest bear would suffice? I wanted to say, but held my tongue.
Then we ate birthday crepes while Bob lay comatose in the middle of the floor.
(I should note here that I did warn my father-in-law on that very day that you don’t bring a six-foot-tall bear to a toddler’s birthday party without the boy’s mother roasting you about it in a future column.)
I put Bob in the spare bedroom that evening. He remained there for the next week, tucked away like an estranged family member. Bob didn’t exactly fit my home decor and trying to cut down on a toddler’s clutter was hard enough without a gargantuan teddy bear lying around.
One day, I needed some pillow cases from the spare room and, forgetting Bob was in there, brought my son along to get them.
Well, it was like finding a long lost friend. My son grabbed Bob, dragged him to the stairs, and shoved him rather roughly down the steps. To be fair, manhandling was the only way to maneuver Bob, as he was so large and floppy.
Bob, being six-feet-tall, got stuck on the third stair and we had to kick him the rest of the way down. Bob didn’t seem to mind. He still had that happy-go-lucky grin on his face.
With nothing better to do, we spent the day entertaining our rather unusual house guest. We gave him plastic croissants from the toy kitchen and pretend tea. My son introduced him to the other stuffies and gave him a tractor to play with. We read together. Later, Bob sat with us at the dinner table, wedged into a chair. Bob wasn’t much for conversation, but he did have decent table manners.
Later, Bob went to sleep in the spare room (despite my son’s attempts to put him into the crib) and we forgot about him for several weeks.
When we finally opened up the spare room — once again to get some linens — it was like deja-vu. A very compliant Bob was hauled out of the room and tossed down the stairs.
It looked like we would be entertaining him for the day.
And so began our periodic Adventure Days With Bob.
They came without warning and were full of spontaneity. Bob became a very large presence (literally) in our home.
I’ll never forget Bob’s first time outside. My son dragged him out the front door and propped him up at the patio table. Naturally, we put a big straw sunhat on him and a pair of binoculars around his neck.
Another time, my son insisted we take Bob on a car ride. We crammed him in the passenger seat and strapped him in. I imagine we got some strange looks that day.
I hated to admit it, but Bob the Bear was growing on me. He had a certain joie de vivre. He was never down. Up for anything Bob. He made a pretty great pillow and kids loved him.
You had to give in to goofiness when Bob was around. Take life a little less seriously. Stop caring what other people think.
I supposed Bob could stay — at least until my father-in-law’s next birthday on April Fool’s Day. Then he might get re-gifted.
— Charlotte Helston gave birth to her first child, a rambunctious little boy, in the spring of 2021. Yo Mama is her weekly reflection on the wild, exhilarating, beautiful, messy, awe-inspiring journey of parenthood.
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