It wasn't a particularly beloved animal, or one that I have any memory of her ever playing with. It was in fact, just a small gorilla that Eric got as swag from some contractor-supply store before Heather was even born. (At the time, the gorilla was dressed in some kind of green logo'ed vest). So, I was surprised that Heather even cared, but man, did she ever!
Here's the exchange that followed:
Me: Well, Heather, I just thought that since you already have so many stuffed animals, like Minnie, and Pluto, and Bear, and Bert, and Puppy, and Christmas Christmas*, we could probably give this one to the poor people so that another kid could have the chance to play with him.
Heather: But mom! I don't want to give any of my animals to the poor people! I want to keep them all!!
(Pause while I weigh the necessity of teaching this lesson in giving and unselfishness not to mention anti-pack-rat-ness to Heather at some point, against the mental and emotional energy I have at that particular moment and whether or not I want to take on the task (read: power struggle) right now by myself, or wait for a FHE or some other teaching moment when I have prepared a little better and have Eric to provide back-up. I decide to wait.)
Me: Well, if we don't give this gorilla to the poor people, where are you going to put him?
(Pause while Heather considers this.)
(More of a pause, followed by Heather trying to change the subject.)
Me: I'm not kidding sweetie. If we're going to keep this gorilla, then I need to know where you are going to keep him.
Heather (thoughtfully): Well, I rused** to keep him on my shelf, but he's just too scary for me to have him there.
(Pause while I take a minute to laugh my head off, followed by a pause while I take a minute to delightedly squeeze my girl to within an inch of her life because she's just so dang cute and I'm just so dang glad to have her.)
Me (gaining my composure): Huh. So, if he's too scary to be out where you can see him, where do you think we should keep him?
Heather: Hmmmm . . . I don't know.
Heather: Wait! I have a good idea! How about if we hide him and then when Eden comes over, she can play with him?
So, that's the plan.
I certainly hope Eden has a (heretofore undiscovered by me) fondness for gorillas.
(The gorilla is currently hidden away in the closet, where Heather has determined to store him until Eden's next visit.)
*Christmas Christmas is a polar bear that Heather received for (wait for it . . . ) a Christmas present from Grandma Helen and Grandpa Deon.
** For those of you who aren't in the habit of checking the private Heather blog, "rused to" is the freaking adorable way that Heather says "used to". I love it.