“Yes,” I said. “The trio of singing pigs from Sesame Street. They’re called the Oinker Sisters”
“Hmm, I don’t think I know them,” she said. “But I’ll figure it out. Can you send a picture?”
Of course she didn’t know them. Who on God’s green earth would know them? But they were one of only two things that my girl wanted for Christmas and damn it, she was (is) going to get them.
I am the mother of an autistic child. At different times, that means very different things. At holiday times, it means that I have a costume designer on speed dial.
You see, my girl has a history with this sort of thing. From the birthday that she asked for the Fire-Chicken-Boots …
… to the Christmas that she had to have (Victor Garber as) Jesus from Godspell …
Clearly that picture was taken a long time ago. Poor guy now has dreads.
Or the next one when she asked for Mary Magdalene …
Apparently Jesus was lonely.
These are not gifts that one can buy on Amazon, my friends. There are no Black Friday specials on Godspell plush dolls and last I checked Walmart wasn’t running a Door Busting Sale on obscure Sesame Street characters that 99.9% of kids can’t name.
There is eBay. And thank God for Ebay. Without eBay I never would have found the Prairie Dawn doll that she had to have two years ago ..
or her sister Betty Lou, who joined the crew last year …
And heaven knows where I would have found the Teletubbies that she asked for from Grammy …
But even eBay can’t help me find these lovely ladies …
Yup, the Oinker Sisters
But no matter, Santa will not disappoint. Super K the costumer is on it.
I understand that to some it may sound absurdly overindulgent to commission a professional costume designer to make a stuffed animal for a child. I understand that many of those same people may also think it somewhat inappropriate to be buying Sesame Street characters and Teletubbies for a nearly nine year-old girl.
If you are among them, please feel free.
But I remember, you see. I remember the days when for the life of me I couldn’t tell whether or not my daughter had the foggiest idea that it *was* Christmas. I remember staying as far away from Santa as we could. I remember escaping the room after opening a present or two, hiding in the stairway, rocking my overwhelmed girl. I remember Katie asking if we’d be back soon.
And I remember going through the motions year after year after year, asking her what she might like as a gift. I remember trying so hard to find the right words, to put them in the right order to make them accessible to her, to unlock the mystery.
I remember getting tantalizingly close -
“Hey Brooke, what do you think you might want to get as a present for Christmas this year?”
“I would get a present in a box.”
“Yes! And when you open it what would you like it to be?”
“I’ll open the box.”
“Yes, baby, and what do you want to be inside the box?”
And so I tried. I tried to find things that I thought would make her happy. I watched her. I studied her. I tried. Sometimes it worked. Other times, often spectacularly, it didn’t.
And then one year she asked.
Fire chicken Boots for her birthday.
Jesus for Christmas.
She asked and she asked and she asked.
So say what you will about age-appropriate toys or teaching my kid a lesson about not being able to get everything she wants for Christmas. You are, of course entitled to your opinions.
But my girl asked for the Oinker Sisters and the Teletubbies.
And even if it takes eBay flying parcels from China and paying a really talented lady with a sewing machine a king’s ransom to work around the clock, Mama ain’t letting her down.