Saturday, April 20, 2013

Chimy Bird

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.


Shannon said...

I remember Chimy Bird. And for some reason this makes me feel desperately sad. I suppose that's because you're such a good writer and not actually because I still love Chimy Bird.

ruth said...

Well, he's still in the garage. I got him out of the garbage and put him into the Rescue Mission box because my post made me desperately sad, too. If you'd like, I can mail him to you along with your cupcake froster. Which, by the way, I used yesterday...

I had four black bananas, and I began Saturday by making banana muffins out of my banana bread recipe, and then frosting them with swirled salted caramel icing.

Feeling guilty for not getting right at the throwing-out-and-packing-up, I assuaged my conscience with the thought that, "Well, I needed to use up the rotten bananas."

Maybe so, but in retrospect I realize that I was not obligated to painstakingly portion out the banana bread batter into cupcake cups, nor was it essential that I caramelize sugar to make homemade caramel to flavor my homemade frosting, which I did not need to apply artistically in swirls.

Avoidance can wear many different faces. I am thankful that today is Sunday and that Sunday is a day of rest.

They are particularly tasty cupcakes. Let me know if you want Chimy. He's living in the back of the van until someone with more fortitude than I makes a Rescue Mission run.

Hope T. said...

I am glad that Chimy has now been Rescued. We have the same thing only in the shape of an apple; we call him Happy Apple. My husband even made a song to go along with him and he would gently shake Happy Apple and the chiming plus the song worked well to calm fussy babies. We can never get rid of Happy Apple, even though we have been donating, selling, giving away, and chucking as much stuff as possible since we have no room for any of it. We rationalize that our grandchildren will someday need this toy but by my calculations we are at least a decade away from becoming grandparents. Perhaps this explains our endless cleaning out of the house that never seems to yield the desired results.

I am going to make your banana bread tomorrow. I made it last month but I didn't follow your directions exactly so I must try again. My bananas weren't black enough. Also, I used butter in place of oil. Is that ok? What kind of oil do you use? So funny that you used baking to distract you from other tasks. I really want to make that bread tomorrow but I am afraid I will use other tasks to distract me from baking. By the way, your cupcakes looked incredible. You could start a catering business to help out people like me. On my best day, I wouldn't be able to put together a cupcake that looked half as good as your "mistakes".

Ruth said...

Hope-- The original recipe for the banana bread does call for butter. I find oil much easier because I can just pour it in, and I don't need to soften it and then beat it with the sugar before adding other ingredients, the way I do butter. I just use plain old vegetable oil or canola oil, bad stuff, not organically approved by any means. I expect you could use sunflower oil, for slightly more healthful and probably very similar results. It would probably be delicious if you melted down some coconut oil and used that. I am too cheap to use my coconut oil that way.

Be sure to smash the bananas really well with a fork. The smoother you get them, the better it will turn out.

I was all self-conscious about those cupcakes, after reading lots of cupcake blogs and seeing how cupcake pros sneer at the run-over cupcake. Jonathan was more than happy to eat my "mistakes" and thrilled that I had made them. David thought that they looked good and tried to add them to the Large Bin of Cupcakes when I was packing the treats to go to the recital. I probably shouldn't have been so disrespectful of them. They were plenty tasty. And when you have a good frosting applicator, you can make even the ugliest cupcake look cute.

I could never be a caterer because I would have a nervous breakdown. I make a mean Chicken Alfredo for my kids' graduation parties, though. I figured it out after I saw the ridiculous prices for a pan of Alfredo from any of the (many) local Italian restaurants around here.