Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Daughter Is A Build-A-Bear Junkie

I had seen the Build-A-Bear Workshop commercials. They seemed far too emotional to me. I thought, "Geesh, it's a stuffed animal, not a life changing event!"

All of my daughter's friends seemed to have one of these do-it- yourself furry friends and she wanted one too. I checked their website and since the prices weren't too bad, I caved in to taking her to spend her birthday haul on a Build-A-Bear.

The day I took her, I was pleasantly surprised at how touching of a process it was....REALLY! She got to choose her animal and then a heart to get tucked inside. She made a wish on the heart, held it to her ear (so they would always share secrets), kissed it and so on. They stuffed the fluffy critter, sewed it up and then my daughter got to "bathe" her new friend. She chose clothing and dressed it, then we registered her new friend, Amy the Frog, on their computer. When we checked out, they presented my daughter with a birth certificate and tucked Amy the Frog into a really nice, cardboard carrier with windows and a beautiful ribbon securing the carrying handle.

Amy went everywhere with my daughter and when she couldn't take Amy with her, "grandma" got to babysit. Amy is a part of the family now, with her three outfits and pink Sketchers shoes with rhinestone heart shoelace decorations.(Amy's shoes are nicer than mine, by the way) But then suddenly, my daughter started jonesing for another friend.

She started digging through the couch cushions for change, checking all of her dress-up purses and the junk drawers in the kitchen for any stray cent she could find. She offered to do anything for a buck or two.She even begged Santa for a gift card to Build-A-Bear Wrokshop. Santa was compliant. He stuffed one into her stocking and a freind of ours got her one as well. By the day after Christmas, she was shaking and jittery....she had to go and build a new freind....and she had to NOW!!!

This time dad took her and she came home with Koko the Sheltie. Koko was dressed in red shorts and top with doggy print, red panties and dalmation slippers on all four fuzzy feet. My daughter even purchased a frog embellished outfit for Amy the frog while she was there.

The craving hit her again a few weeks later and she started mining for change, begging for dollars and planning her next Build-A-Bear Workshop visit. She knew she had accumulated a $10 gift card from her punch card (yep, they give punch cards!) but she knew it cost a bit more than that for the bear she had her eye on......a soft white teddy covered in pink and red hearts, a "special edition" for Valentine's Day. She was desperate. She needed another fix. She began asking how long till she could earn the money and when she could go next.

"Can I just go and look? Can I just go and buy an outfit? No,on second thought, I NEED this bear mom, forget the outfits, I just need the bear, I really do."

Finally she got so desperate to have the limited edition Valentine bear that, after being missing for an hour, she came bounding down the hallway and breathlessly announced, "I cleaned my room!"

Her father and I checked out her claim and yes, she had cleaned her room. It was absolutely spotless.....nothing under the bed, nothing shoved in the closet, no clothes in the trash can or toybox! Everything was neat and tidy. With her eyes spinning and glazed over she asked, "Now can I have a Build-A-Bear?"

Considering our daughter had just brought home a straight "A" report card the day before, her father and I agreed to take her to Build-A-Bear Workshop again, but it would have to wait till morning. Do you want to know how creepy it is to wake up at dawn on a Sunday morning to see your 8 year old sitting on the couch, fully dressed, hair brushed, breakfast eaten, teeth brushed and purse thrown over her shoulder?! It was frightening. She even seemed to be trembling a bit.

Through girnning lips, She began babbling like a lunatic, "I'll wait for you to get your coffee before we go. I would make it for you but I'm not sure how many scoops go in. If you want me to I can lay out your coat. If I could, I'd warm up the car. I'm too little too, right? He, he, he. Why don't you do that now? Nobody will see you in your jammies. Okay? Okay? This is going to be so much fun. I hope there's not a big line....I hate it when there's a line. Do you want me to get your jeans out of the dryer for you? How about a shirt? Here's my hairbrush if you want to use it."

We are now the proud family of Anastasia the Valentine's Bear dressed in her glittery pink t-shirt and skort set and black velvet Mary Janes. She's cute alright, but now I wonder how long it will be before my daughter starts jonesing for her next Build-A-Bear fix. This habit can be quite expensive and these furry creatures are accumulating a better wardrobe than I have!

I realize I could play this to my advantage. Heck,I could have my darling daughter doing laundry, cleaning out closets and picking up doggy presents in the back yard if I played my cards right. She'd probably do just about anything for a new cuddly friend. But I know that every child needs an incintive for good behavior, grades and a clean bedroom. Some children want cash, others want candy or surprises. My daughter's incintive just happens to have fur, a special heart and a killer wardrobe.

*Since I wrote this story for Club Mom, my daughter has accumulated SEVERAL more Build-A-Bear friends including Edward the bear, Puddin' the dog and Manhattan (who came from the New York city Workshop) among others. As of this update, there is no 12 step program for Build-A-Bear addiction, so please, stuff with caution!


Anonymous said...

We used Build-a-Bear to get rid of our daughter's pacifier when it was time... she couldn't stand the idea of being without it... so we went to Build-a-Bear and put the pacifier inside the bear...

Worked like a charm...