Today we threw out Chimy Bird.
It was the first toy. Someone gave it to us as a shower gift before Shannon was born.
It looked like a massive, overgrown Weeble (from my own childhood: remember, "Weebles wobble but they don't fall down..."). That is to say, it was shaped like an egg and weighted at the bottom. It was rather an ugly toy, to be honest, blue and off-white with a funny, rounded orange beak and painted (printed) black eyes.
When the kids were newborns, we would put Chimy Bird in their cribs by their legs, while they lay on their backs. As they kicked and squirmed, Chimy would chime away, a soft jangle of muted musical tones. Sometimes, if the baby in question became upset, the kicking would grow more vigorous, the chiming would get louder and faster, and violent wailing would accompany the soothing sounds of the bird.
All four of our children played with Chimy Bird before they discovered any other toy. They probably do not even remember this.
But we do.
Shawn picked up Chimy, who was sitting in a dusty red basket in the basement under a never-used computer desk. Minimal motion brought on the old familiar sounds, transporting us both right back, back to the days when everyone was small, and nobody was moving away, back to when nightmares and gas pains were the types of crises we had to deal with, when hugs and warm milk could solve almost anything. "Remember this guy?" Shawn asked me, and we looked together at the ugly old beloved toy, beloved by us, the parents who remember.
The colors of his plastic were faded, and he was none too clean. He bobbled and chimed. We agreed that there was no reason to keep him. Shawn, braver than I, thrust him into the garbage bag, where he fell to the bottom and nestled in a corner. Through the thin white plastic of the bag, I could see him. And I could hear him chiming softly all the way up the basement stairs as Shawn carried him out to the garbage can in the garage.