I picked her up. I saw the telltale signs of a well-loved friend. Ground-in dirt on the back of her ears. A flattened tail from much rubbing and chewing. A faded dress. A mark on the cheek.
This isn't just any Minnie Mouse doll. This is "Dirty on the Cheek" Minnie. I picked her up.....and I cried.
You see, I was home alone. Avery and Marty were having some "daddy-daughter bonding time" while I put my house back in order from a weekend furniture rearranging party (more on that in another post). Avery left the house....without her Minnie.
If you follow me on Facebook, you know that Avery is very rarely seen without Dirty on the Cheek Minnie. She needs her for sleeping at night. She needs her when she's upset or scared. She told me once that "Minnie isn't real, Mom. But she's my best friend. She talks just to me." If Avery went somewhere, Minnie was right there with her. Once upon a time, Avery couldn't pee without Minnie sitting in her lap.
But lately, Minnie has been replaced. By a baby doll. It's not that this baby doll is new, either. We've had her for awhile. Avery has just recently "rediscovered" this baby, I guess. Now baby is the one that goes everywhere Avery goes. Sits in the floor while Avery goes potty.
And I don't know why this bothers me......but it does. A lot.
I'd be lying if I didn't say that a small part of it is because I had hoped my child would love Disney like I do. With her Dora obsession though, I'd say I'm losing that battle. But the bigger part of me sees as Avery's waning interest in Dirty on the Cheek Minnie as kind of symbolic that I'm losing my baby.
Minnie has been right by Avery's side since six months old. And it was BFFs at first sight.
Look through any of my pictures of Avery and in 95% of them, Minnie's there. She's been along for the ride for some pretty big moments.
(clockwise from top left: At my cousin's wedding on her 1st birthday; getting her 1st haircut at Disney World; meeting Mickey and Minnie for the first time.)
Minnie's been on some big trips with us.
(cftl: With Avery on her first plane ride; on her first car ride; in Aruba.)
In general, Minnie has always been a part of the picture.
There's been times in the past that Avery's found a new friend. There was her fleeting obsession with Jake, Cubby, Izzy and Skully. There was that week that she wanted her miniature Minnie all the time. There was that very brief fling with Mike and Sulley. But through all of those moments, Dirty on the Cheek Minnie has always been front and center.
But this last week, I've found myself saying things like "Avery, don't you want to go back and get your Minnie?" and "Do you want to take Minnie in the store with us instead of Baby?" I'm almost ashamed to admit that I've said things like "Well Avery, if you're not going to play with Minnie anymore, we're going to give her to someone that will love her and play with her."
I'm actually shaming my child into playing with her Minnie again.
It's just a stuffed animal. I don't know why it bothers me this much. It shouldn't bother me this much.
But it does.
I feel like the loss of Minnie means the loss of my baby-ish Avery. Minnie has been such a huge part of Avery's baby and toddlerhood days. Most of my memories of Avery include Minnie by her side. Her growing out of Minnie makes me worried that she's growing out of being my baby. Attitude is replacing that sweet snuggly baby that loved her Mama. There are days that I look at my Avery and I wonder where my sweet girl has gone. I have a moody toddler. One that whines and cries and throws temper tantrums at the drop of a hat. It's like I don't even know who she is anymore. Where's my baby? Where's the Avery that gets a tiny bit sleepy and wants her Minnie so she can mindlessly rub on her tail until she falls asleep? Where's the Avery that grabs her Minnie and climbs up in my lap just to snuggle...instead of this almost-3 year old that wants nothing to do with me?
It's like she's grown tired of Minnie.
What if she grows tired of me?
I tell myself I'm being ridiculous. Just because she's grown tired of a toy doesn't mean that she's going to be the same way with me. But Minnie has been a huge part of her life up until this point. To me, Minnie symbolizes that baby Avery that loved being with me and was happy all the time.
On Sunday, I saw Dirty on the Cheek Minnie sitting in my kitchen. And I cried.
Obviously, I'm the one that's not ready to let go yet.