Elmo, Barney, Berenstain Bears, and Snow White! Huh?

Two weeks ago Maddy started asking, “Elmo, Barney, Berenstain Bears, and Snow White!” Huh?

This was met with a blank stare from me as I tried to solve this LSAT question about the relationship between the four characters. I began to sweat a little, because although the sample test on the MENSA website clearly indicated I am one of those rare brilliant types, I couldn’t see the connection between these characters. And the menacing look on Maddy’s face told me that blowing it off and just insisting that I am “a smart guy” wasn’t going to cut it.

There is the obvious connection that they are all children’s characters, appearing on TV, film and books. There is the fact that our children would happily pay more (of our) money to have a stuffed version of any one of these characters, or even a sticker of them, than they would even consider forking over for ransom money to get their actual parents back.

But I didn’t think this was the connection she was looking for. Could I phone a friend? Or a travel agent? I was going to need somewhere to hide out for awhile if I didn’t get this figured out.

Then she added on the word “signs” to the end of her monologue, and pointed out my bedroom window.

Oh dear God, she wanted us to put signs on the front lawn? The neighbours already hate us, and are offended by the leaves, so I can only imagine the reaction if we installed a cartoon village in the front yard.

Maybe the sign was a real estate sign? Money has been tight lately, maybe she’s been reading those flyers that the real estate agents coyly slip into our mailbox.

“I have a very motivated buyer who has been casing the joint, er is interested in buying your home. They made a killing draining your investment accounts and can pay cash. Closing date is flexible. It keeps the feds guessing.”

Liquidating the house means more money for Elmo dolls or that trip to Disney World that she’s now come to realize is never going to happen.

Had she been talking about Lalaloopsy dolls I would totally believe that this was the theory, because they don’t seem to make those anymore, and it’s going to take a small empire and a team of international buyers to complete her collection. All that takes serious cheddah!

But these are all fringe characters in the realm of her interests, and I don’t think she has ever mentioned Snow White before. She likes her dwarves, but I’m pretty sure she just wants some short people to boss around.

At some point she must have said something to trigger my memory. I can’t for the life of it remember what that was. This is one of the reasons I could never actually join MENSA…I’d never make it to a meeting, and if I did I would forget everything we talked about. I’m smart on the inside, but it often doesn’t make its way to the outside. And then there’s the “naturally dense expression” my high school algebra teacher was fond of telling the class that I possessed. Finally there’s the fact that I insist on being the smartest person in every room so I can feel superior in my maternity yoga pants (my youngest children are turning 12 next month), and chocolate-stained sweatshirt.

I had a flash of clarity and remembered going to a pumpkin patch with Melanie and Lizzie’s Brownie group years ago. I was dropping them off and Maddy was having no part of leaving them to get all the good pumpkins, so we tagged along. I remembered going on a wagon right through a forest and seeing character cutouts.

Of course I also vaguely remember being on Tiny Talent Time as a child, and there is no evidence to that effect, so I had my doubts about the reliability of my event recall.

But I tracked down Parkside Farms’ Facebook page (using my high IQ) and found these photos:

Maddy was begging to see Elmo, Barney, Berenstain Bears and Snow White. I found them hiding in the Storybook Forest at Parkside Farms!

Maddy was begging to see Elmo, Barney, Berenstain Bears and Snow White. I found them hiding in the Storybook Forest at Parkside Farms!

Maddy was begging to see Elmo, Barney, Berenstain Bears and Snow White. I found them hiding in the Storybook Forest at Parkside Farms!

Photos courtesy of Parkside Farms

I hope you shivered along with me.

The only picture I didn’t see was Snow White, so I messaged the farm and they messaged me almost immediately back, saying that she, and her dwarves were indeed inside the Storybook Forest.

I quickly showed Maddy the pictures, patted myself on the back for excellent detective work, and told her we would visit the farm the following weekend. I didn’t even have time to bask in the glow of crisis aversion, or to mentally write my “Best Mom Award” acceptance speech, before she made it abundantly clear that I had jumped out of the frying pan and into the crematorium.

It seems this conversation was initiated while we were discussing her upcoming field trip to the farmer’s market with her class. And I had somehow confirmed in her mind that farmer’s markets took place at a farm, complete with wagon rides, corn mazes, and pumpkins for miles. When really they were taking the city bus to the parking lot of a shopping mall, with pumpkin spice lattes for…whatever size the food court is.

I showed her a picture of what the market looks like, with the mall in the background, but that just made it worse. Instead of hunting for pumpkins she would be ransacking the stores for lalaloopsies.

Nervously I confessed to her teacher all the ways in which I had ruined her field trip before it even started. She was very gracious and assured me that they would phone me if they felt like they needed an extra set of hands. Or the police force tactical team.

I’m happy to report that the trip went very well, and despite attempting to make off with a giant pumpkin that she picked/stole from a farm stand, she made it back to school without any major incidents or police reports. I’m sure the teacher will think twice about telling me any trip details in the future, however, for their own protection.

At least the farmers can’t say they didn’t have fair warning. Her sweatshirt announces her intentions. Mental note to make sure she doesn’t wear that one to the airport.

Maddy at the Burlington Mall Farmer’s Market

Maddy at the Burlington Mall Farmer’s Market

Maddy at the Burlington Mall Farmer’s Market

The day after Maddy went to the farmer’s market, Facebook reminded me of the photos I posted the year before. 2016 is on the left and 2017 is on the right. A day apart, holding pumpkins, and wearing her rebel sweatshirt. I’d love to say this is a coincidence, but I’m afraid I can’t. We live in the upside down now.

Maddy remembers everything! She chose the same sweatshirt to wear on the day she got a pumpkin, one day apart from the year before. We live in the upside down now.


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