It's all fun and games, til someone puts an eye out......

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dopey Withstands All

A face that only a mother could love. And I guess I speak from experience, considering I am a mother.

Let's just say I have a soft spot for Dopey.

After all, I did wear my Nana's handmade, satin Dopey costume for Halloween when I was five. One of these days, I am going to dig up that picture. My sis was a tight rope walker.

I digress.

Back to Dopey.

When my oldest boy was one, I was managing at a Disney Store in South Carolina. I say "managing" with a smile. Don't get me wrong, I was a good retail manager back in the day.
But at the Disney Store?
My dream place?
In between scheduling breaks, approving shipments, opening and closing, and counting down the registers, I was busy being happy at the Happiest Place on Earth.

Basically, I was shopping.

And I did it frequently.
How could I not? I had a one year old and he was at his Disney prime....

So, I bought him his first set of squeezy bath toys. They came in entire casts of characters.

There was Happy, Doc, Bashful, Sneezy, Grumpy, Sleepy and of course, good ole Dopey.

They were made of this delicious smelling PVC, had a kind of a new car smell to it.

The packaging had them all lined up, side by side, with the cutest forest background holding them all in. The bag was sealed with a little white snap.

And they all had a squeeze hole at the bottom, perfect for a little boy's bathtime, squeezing them in under the water, then blasting mom in the face when she tried to wash him.

Basically, they were a mother's dream.

But, I grew to love them. They gave my boy countless hours of entertainment in the tub. Especially when Mom was pregnant and just wanted to sit and stare.

There was only one problem with this adorable set of dwarfs.


My favorite.

He always sat on the sidelines.

And by sidelines, I mean the porcelain soap holder on the wall.
I never really paid any attention to it, I mean, honestly. In a soapy bath with a one year old, hands flailing all around, toys jumping in all directions. Who would notice Dopey sitting there all alone?

Initially, when I saw him there, I just pushed him in the water with all his buddies. I mean, he should be able to lie floating in the water too, right?  Just ready and waiting for the occasional filling of water to squeeze in someone's face.  It's only fair.

But as my boy got older, and wiser (you know, a two year old's wisdom is unsettling), he would keep Dopey up there indefinitely. When I pushed him in the tub now, he noticed, and quickly put him back in his sober spot on the soap holder.  Poor, pitiful, Dopey.

This ritual began to upset me, as a mother, never wanting anyone to be left out. Not even good ole Dopey.

So, I asked my boy why he sat there all by his lonesome. The answer was always the same.

"He likes it up there."

Hmmm. He likes it up there. Seemed like a reasonable response. For a two year old. But I knew better. Again, the whole Mom thing.

I began questioning my hubby about it, as if he really had nothing better to do in between graduate school finals and securing post graduate school employment, but entertain my constant need to keep my child out of therapy.  But he played along and humored me.

My husband did what he always did. He assessed the situation. He did a sit-in at bath time. He watched the way our boy played in the tub and how he socialized with the dwarfs.
Later that night, after careful thought, he said to me:
"You know? Dopey doesn't have any hair."

I looked at him. Did he really think I didn't know about Dopey being follicly challenged? Of course I knew he didn't have any hair. None of the dwarfs have any hair.  I am assuming that is why they fashioned those lovely caps they wear.  To keep their bald head safe from falling diamonds in the mine.  Plus, they all did what most balding men did.  They grew beards.  That way, at least their chin is warm.

Wait a minute.  They all had beards. Didn't they?  (Don't worry, I inserted this picture again, so you won't feel you have to scroll up.  Its ok, I wasn't sure they all had beards either.)

All of them had nice, full, white beards.  They all looked very distinguished, just the way mining dwarfs are expected to look.  Except for, of course......

That was it!! Dopey was not a "real Dwarf" to my boy. He did not look like the others, therefore, he had to "sit out".  I think my boy thought he was just a "boy" also, and he had no business hanging out with these older men.
I had no idea my son was going to exclude a dwarf because of his lack of hair and because he was not old enough.  Isn't that agism?

So, again because I am a mother and my life long goals are to ready my young cubs to fight the cynical ways of the world, I began my new mission in life.  I had to get Dopey back in the circle.  Back with his friends.

But most of all, back in with my boy. 

I kept talking about all the positive attributes Dopey had:

He had such a nice green robe.  I mean, who has this nice of a green robe these days?  And the less-than-obvious choice of colors for a hat....purple.  He was a pioneer in the color world.

He had pretty blue eyes and always had a smile on his face.  And he was always super silly!

What more could he ask for?

My son looked at me during my obvious sales pitch, reached in the water, and grabbed Dopey around the waist.

I held my breath.  This is it.  He is going to embrace Dopey and allow him to rejoin his brethren.

Alas, this was only a mother's dream.  My boy learned nothing from my talk with him and continued banishing Dopey to the soap dish for the rest of his bathing days.

What prompted me to tell this story is this.  It all happened 14 years, 6 moves, and three children ago.  After many years, we threw the dwarfs out, as they had molded from the stale water that always seemed to remain inside them.  As I was cleaning out some old toys, ready to make a trip to Goodwill, something green and purple peeked out at me amongst the sea of rubble.

It was Dopey.  He had made it.  All of his other dwarf buddies had fought the fight and were long gone.  But Dopey, after years of sitting on the bench, never getting picked, and being the odd man out, was still hanging around.  He had made many moves, some cross country and was no worse for the wear. 

There is still a small part of me that thinks my boy "saved" Dopey so he would be around one day to play with "his" children.  I can still hope for all that is good in the world, can't I?

P.S.  My boy, who was so exclusionary at such a young age, is a young man now.  And his mission in life is to always include everyone.  He is always in a group and never likes to see anyone get left out.  I like to think it has something to do with Dopey..........