Mister Tatato Ed is the new crush.
I mean, it’s official. They are in love. They go everywhere together: bed, bath, nursery. The last cry at night is “Mister Tatato!” and the first in the morning…. When I go to bed, I spend some time in his room rummaging underneath him for the requisite parts, fearful that it’s an uncomfortable sleeping partner, though he appears oblivious to the whole affair.
So imagine my chagrin when lovely Linsey at nursery asked if it would be possible not to bring him in any more. You see, the other little ones (and let’s remember they’re only two and three years old) know very well who Mr Potato Head is. And they love him, too. They are liable to become a little distressed when Teddy doesn’t allow them a turn. And Teddy, for his part, becomes a little disgruntled when they start getting too close. Nobody can understand the depth of this love 😉
Yesterday, with heavy heart and a doom-laden sense of foreboding, I brought Teddy downstairs. I hadn’t done a recce of the landscape beforehand, and there he was, bold as brass and plain as day. Mr Potato Head. On the coffee table. And it was too late.
I was determined. I said “No,” gently, and moved Mr PH out of sight. I tried distraction with other toys: Peppa Pig, Angry Birds, My Little Pony. All of whom he has loved most dearly. But right now, at this moment in time, only Mr Potato Head will do.
I braced for the meltdown, feeling like a rotten meany as he blinked back tears and his bottom lip trembled, cajoled said distraught Teddy into the car, gave him his Leapster, which has a new Cars 2 game on it. Teddy does love Lightning McQueen. And it worked, though the peace felt enormously fragile and, halfway to nursery, a small wail issued from the back seat:
“Mr Tataaaaatoooooooo!” and my heart crumpled a little bit.
When we left nursery, he asked for him again. I explained “Mr Potato Head is at home with Daddy.”
“Mr Tatato Daddy” he repeated and, for the first time ever, appeared to grasp that concept and be reassured by it. Each time he began to become distressed in the car, I told him again, he repeated it and equilibrium was restored.
Today, by contrast, was a military operation.
He had Mr PH upstairs and brought him downstairs with him. We assembled our belongings for the car-ride and the morning at nursery, and, with the stealth of a sneak-thief, I squirrelled Lightning McQueen and Mater into my handbag. Teddy clutched Tatato all the way there.
Upon arrival I employed an extremely useful tactic, introduced by nursery: I asked Teddy to give me Mr PH and began the countdown from 10. When we got to 1, he allowed me to take him, and I produced, like the rabbit from the hat, Lightning and Mater. He was delighted, distracted, and trotted happily into school.
Upon collection, I was informed that he had had his keyworker draw him a Mr Potato Head, cut it out and glue it to a lollipop stick, which he had clutched for most of the morning.
Teddy is undefeated.