Thursday, 3 January 2013

Our Build A Bear Adventure

    Yesterday was one of those rare days that found my husband with the day off.  Christopher had to work most of the day New Years Day, and so his boss gave him yesterday off.  It worked out great.  Christopher and I had talked just after Christmas that it might be nice to take the kids to Oshawa (the closest Build A Bear Workshop) .  We had the startling realization that Elly had never made a Build A Bear.  When we found ourselves with some time together, we decided to pack up the kids and head to Oshawa, and let Elly discover the joy of creating her own friend.

    There are almost too many selections to pick from when it comes to furry friends.  The three youngest kids picked with ease, they fell in love instantly.  Grace on the other hand is our more indecisive one.  It reached the point of ridiculousness when Grace finally made her decision.  When she had made her decision after much deliberation, once her decision was final, she could not be swayed.

    I have never been to a Build A Bear Workshop that was not busy.  Considering that the company has been in business for so many years you might think that the popularity would wane, but it hasn't.  I guess that each new generation still wants to make his / her own special pet to love.  I will admit although not an inexpensive proposition, it is quite a neat and special event.  I also have to give them credit, that they select wonderful staff, who seem to genuinely like children (or are wonderful actors).  
    The kids all lined up excitedly to stuff their bear.  They each had to tell the girl working the stuffing machine whether they liked a soft and cuddly teddy, or a firm teddy.  Each kid got to push the peddle that controlled the stuffing machine.  By picking out their own skin, and by stuffing the toy themselves, I truly think that it gives them that special feeling of real ownership, because they had a hand in every part of their toy's creation.  It is a rare thing for my children to be patient, but there they all stood, patiently waiting their turn.

    One of the neatest things about the Build A Bear is that the kids get to hand pick a heart for their bear.  They do this neat little ritual, almost like magic before they put the heart in their toy.

    The other thing that is pretty neat about this franchise, neat and expensive are the amazing selections of clothing and accessories for the toys.  There are shorts, and pants, and dresses, and sports uniforms, winter jackets, boots, shoes, skates, snowboards.  Pretty much you name it, they have it for the bears.  The kids methodically checked over the racks and racks of accessories, being sure to match everything up just right.

Riley patiently waiting for her siblings.
Elly giving her new pup a bath and a fluff.
    After the new furry friends had been stuffed, and given a heart (and in Grace's and Elly's case they added a scent for $4 extra dollars - Grace chose Chocolate and Elly chose Candy Floss), sewn, and fluffed, and dressed, they had to fill out the proper information, that would then issue them their own birth certificate.  The kids were all really excited about getting a birth certificate for their friends.  It is a nice touch.

 We left Build A Bear with four really happy and excited children.  They each were excitedly sharing facts about their new friends (facts that they were making up on the spot).  After we left the mall, we headed to Red Lobster for dinner.  That was Christopher and my treat (a special treat enabled by a generous Christmas gift from my brother-in- law Todd, and Christopher's Mom) .  It was nice to sit there, everyone behaving and chatting.  I took a deep breath and tried to make a snap shot in my mind.  The days that my children will want stuffed toys is becoming fleeting, I know that my days are numbered.  I am trying to catalogue it all in my brain, taking mental snap shots of my contentment and trying to save them for when my children are no longer children.  To me this afternoon was bliss.

   Driving home the kids all chatted among themselves, occationally one of them would make a crude comment quietly, trying to push their boundaries, and gross out their siblings, all the while doing it quietly, hoping to only be heard by the occupants in the back. I chose to pretend ignorance, secretly enjoying it.  Up front Christopher and I sat with contented looks on our faces, listening to them.  Our looks were all the more content after we stopped for coffee.  We vowed that we need to try and do this more often.  It does not need to be expensive, but we need to step away from our reality more often and just enjoy each other.  Life is too short and time passes too quickly, we need to savor it more often.  We need to find more moments.