Blergh. Blergh, I say!
So surprise, surprise, after three cooped-up days of wiping up toddler snot and getting my face coughed on, I came down with Ike's cold. And dear holy gods of Sudafed, what a cold it was. Is. I'm still not fully over it.
*stares at wall in foggy-headed stupor for 20 minutes*
*loses train of thought*
So that's been the last few days, more or less.
My in-laws visited over the weekend to celebrate Christmas with the boys and spoil them completely no-good down-and-dirty rotten.
My plan for Ike's Christmas gifts were to dig out some of the preschooler toys I packed up last winter in preparation for the Big Move That Never Happened, then wrap them up and present them as new and exciting. And then maybe buy him one new Elmo/Grover-ish item, since Sesame Street Fever skipped my first two almost entirely and we don't have much from that toy category, which now infects my youngest at near-Beatlemania levels.
My mother-in-law, on the other hand, decided to take my hand-me-down idea, cross it with Ike's love of Sesame Street, then mix in some ninja-like eBay skillz (and more patience and devotion than I will ever have for anything, ever)...and assemble an entire vintage 1976 Fisher Price Little People Sesame Street Clubhouse set for Ike, complete with all the characters, in near-mint condition.
(She actually still has Jason's Clubhouse, though the tire swing broke and a few characters have gone missing. But I don't actually think that's why she chose to buy Ike an entirely different set; she just doesn't want to part with the one she has, and I can't say I blame her.)
She spent MONTHS putting this gift together. Apparently this is quite the hot little item, especially in such good condition, but she had to purchase almost all of the characters and accessories separately, which resulted in hours of haggling and auction-watching. I can't even imagine how much it ended up costing her, despite her patience and eye for bargains. So if you've got one of these lying around, by the way, sell that shit. Hire a babysitter and go to a strip club. TREAT YO SELF.
(I ALSO had this set as a child. But at some point I displayed some really excellent judgment and sold it at a yard sale to my next-door neighbor for a quarter. A quarter that I then gave back to him so he could buy one of the other toys I was selling. We repeated this transaction all afternoon until I proudly went inside my house to report that I had successfully sold every toy. For a quarter each! This quarter! This single, solitary quarter. This...oh.)
(I believe that must have been the moment my parents realized I was not Ivy League material and adjusted my college savings plan accordingly.)
But the set is giving me TERRIBLE stewardship anxiety. The Grover figurine alone required her to message a seller and convince her to pull it from a big ASSORTED LOT-type listing and sell it individually. Then to save on the shipping she had a relative drive to meet the seller at an IHOP parking lot, then she drove to visit said relative for a weekend MOSTLY PLANNED AROUND PROCURING THE DAMN GROVER.
Guess which figurine I already cannot fucking find, you guys. GUESS.
My boys are not rough with their toys, actually. Rough with each other, kinda, and our couch is little more than a piece of gymnastics equipment to them, but they are actually really at not breaking their toys. But keeping toy pieces and sets and accessories TOGETHER, on the other hand...not so much.
We start off pretty good — we have labeled baskets and bins and grand plans for toy categorization, but sooner or later the sets get combined in non-logical ways (see figure 1, below, SMURFS IN SPACE) or the toys migrate around the house — or worse, taken out in the CAR, which has only EVER ended in toys getting lost and yet EVERY TIME, they beg and plead and assure me that they will be careful because they looooove this toy and it's their favvvvvvorite and then 30 seconds after we've all buckled up, the Harry Potter minifigure has lost his hair and it's disappeared forever into a weird crevice and everybody's crying.
Figure 1, In Which Things Aren't Looking Good For Papa Smurf
Of course, my MIL assured me that she assembled the set for the boys to PLAY WITH and ENJOY, and that most of the sellers she interacted with were thrilled to hear the toys were being bought for an actual child and not a collector.
And Ike the Actual Child could not be more thrilled with his awesome Christmas present and hasn't stopped playing with it since.
(Though he also keeps asking "Where Gwover? Where Gwover go?")
(I DON'T KNOOOOOOOWWWWW. JUST PLEASE TELL ME YOU DIDN'T TAKE IT IN THE CAR OH GOD OH NO.)