One of my friends and I were talking a few weeks ago about being ready for Christmas. She is one of those organized types who is always on top of everything. She was finished with all her Christmas shopping the first week of November. “How the hell did you do that with an eleven month old?” I asked her. “It’s easy, I bring the baby along. She doesn’t know what I’m buying, and even if she did, her memory is super-short.” Well that made sense. Let’s face it, babies are pretty dumb. It’s why they are adorable and also so easy to trick.
I brought Annie along with me to Cost Co last week for a little thing I like to call “Sample Size Lunch.” I wasn’t there strictly for the samples, but I did make sure I went to purchase my 88-pack of toilet paper around-ish the time the samples are usually out. After Annie and I wore out our welcome at the cheesecake table (mmm so good) we headed up to the front to pay for our jumbo-pack goodies. Then I saw the toy aisle…and I remembered my friend telling me that she bought her daughter’s toys WITH HER DAUGHTER THERE. I decided to just go down the toy aisle and see if there was anything worth getting. Annie was riding backwards in the cart so it seemed like a good idea. The toy aisle proved to be a bust until there, at the end, I saw it:
Rock n Roll Elmo, for twenty dollars cheaper than anywhere I’d previously seen it. And even though I think Hokey Pokey Elmo is enough Elmo for one household, I knew Mike really wanted to give this to Annie. So I ooooooh so casually maneuvered myself and the cart so I could slide the package into the basket without Annie noticing. Just as I set the box down I ooooooh so casually bumped into a display for children’s earmuffs. Annie turned to see what the noise was and she saw the Elmo box. “Elmo gey-tar!” She said excitedly. “Nooooo no Elmo here Annie!” I then spent the next ten minutes waiting in line to pay while Annie chanted over and over “Elmo gey-tar Elmo gey-tar!” I cursed my friend’s name.
When we got home, Mike distracted Annie and I unloaded the car. I hid the Elmo in the guest room closet, where I have all my presents for Mike’s birthday, Christmas, and Annie’s birthday. Days went by and every now and then Annie would say to me, “Elmo gey-tar?” Like she was confirming that she did, in fact, see an Elmo toy and it was not, in fact, a dream. I kept hoping she would be a dumb baby and forget about Elmo! But damn it, Annie is not a baby. Or dumb.
Yesterday I was in the bathroom, and I thought to myself, “wow, it’s so nice to be in here without Annie standing at the door saying, ‘Heyyyyyyyy Mama, what you doooooooing?'” and the instant I finished the thought I knew Annie was up to no good. I ran out of the bathroom and sure enough, the door to the guest room was open. As I walked to the door I actually hoped for a second that someone was in there robbing me. I walked into the room and there was Annie, surrounded by ALL the presents…pushing the buttons on the Elmo toy. She saw me and shouted, ‘MAMA! ELMO GEY-TAR!!!”
ELMO DOESN’T EVEN HAVE A GUITAR, ANNIE!
She never, ever goes in the guest room. I never, ever go in the guest room with bags or gifts if I know she is watching me. Really, all I can think is that she knew Rock n Roll Elmo was in our house, and she was GOING to find it come hell or high water.
I am still cursing my friend’s name.