Who Is Spare Mindy?

It was long overdue.  I retrieved the small cardboard box from Turtle’s closet and opened it.   

There she was, swaddled in two layers of clear plastic – Spare Mindy.   

She’d been shipped to me by Fisher Price, who I called in a fit of parental anxiety.  At 18 months, Turtle had become attached, taking her everywhere, chewing on her head, and sleeping with her each night.  That Halloween, we drove back from the pumpkin patch with my sister in the backseat, trying to make small talk with her nephew, quizzing him about the doll’s name.  “Min – daah” he babbled randomly.  "Oh, Mindy!  That's a great name!" his Aunt deftly responded, keeping the conversation going.  And thus the doll became Mindy.  

Prior to becoming a parent, I thought it was ridiculous that parents would buy multiple extra copies of a favored toy just in case one was lost.  Loss is a part of life and I figured that kids needed to learn to get over it.  Plus, how indulgent and consumer-focused, right?  And, I didn’t want to have that five year old who drags around some filthy stuffed animal everywhere we go, so why start now? 

So, it was with chagrin that I found myself calling Fisher Price coveting a spare Mindy.  Who, by the way, is actually named Mia and can only be purchased as part of a set along with her traveling companion Roberto and the nameless red-headed female pilot of the Fisher Price plane. 

But prior to becoming a parent I didn’t understand that your kid can get so attached to a toy, derive so much security from it, and will only fall asleep if it is there.  That sleep deprivation and a desire to control what precious little you can about your day, and especially night, with your toddler can compel you to obtain a spare “lovey” (I hate that term) attachment object (not much better)… Mindy. Parents, you understand, right?

When I started this blog, we were in the throes of separation anxiety and 4 a.m. wake-ups.  A year and a half into all-consuming parenting and 6 months after a major move, I knew I needed an outlet and to try to slowly recapture a little bit of me.  The blog was a place to reflect on my life from a short distance away.  To be able to see myself calling Fisher Price and laugh at the irony.  To grapple with how much parenting had changed me and accept that I had become someone who would not feel better until I had a Spare Mindy in the closet.  Spare Mindy is a metaphor for all the crazy crap you never thought you’d do that you end up doing once you have a kid.  I’m sure I will have thousands more Spare Mindy moments as the years go on. 

Predictably, Mindy fell out of favor some months after I ordered the spare and her status for the past year has been reduced merely to chewed on and mostly ignored airline passenger who occasionally takes the school bus or is tied to a race car careening around the living room floor. 

So, when doing a major overhaul of Turtle’s closet a month ago, I took out Spare Mindy’s box and set her free.  It felt good as a mom to realize that I didn’t need her anymore. 

When I unwrapped her and offered her to Turtle, his response was utterly devoid of emotion and inarguably logical:     “I already have that.” 

Does anyone need a Spare Mindy?  

1 comment:

Casey said...

Love his response. Sounds like he got what he needed out of his time with Mindy and was ready to move on.

I've found that many times I ended up almost as emotionally involved with my kids' pet objects as they were. I must've repaired this one woodpecker finger-puppet (Krusty) about a hundred times before Hurricanehead finally asked me to stop giving it back to him.

I kept it anyway, and probably always will.