It’s a very long time since I built a bear. I’d completely forgotten how much fun it is. All that stuffing and dressing and registering the new acquisition’s name on a personalised “birth certificate.”
I will cast a veil over the final action which involved a monetary transaction. But, hey, just one look at Young Morgan’s delighted face told me it was well worth it.
The two older boys were cycling into the city with their father which was an extremely sensible move because it meant (i) we didn’t need to take two cars; (ii) we avoided parking fees; and (iii) we could congratulate ourselves on adding to our
environmental credentials. That is, of course, what is known as a “Royal we”, especially as I travelled into town in the car with the Darling Daughter in Law. But don’t tell anyone.
We, the Advance Party, arrived at Build a Bear well before the cyclists, despite a detour into the Museum on the way. Thus it was that Morgan was able to choose his Birthday Bear without any undue influence / interruption
/ interference from his older brothers. His father told me later that he had planned it that way, so that his youngest lad could have me (and Build a Bear) all to himself for a short time at least.
Now I am not well versed on All Things Pokemon but I had been reliably informed by Morgan’s parents that a Build a Bear Pokemon would be just the ticket for his birthday. I rather assumed he would choose the yellow one,
you know, the one called Pikachu. This was possibly because Pikachu is the only character I know - and that only because the Darling Daughter in Law made a Pikachu-shaped birthday cake for Morgan one year.
If you have never visited a Build a Bear workshop then perhaps I need to enlighten you. Your journey starts (as they would doubtless say, breathlessly, in Disneyland) at Station One where you are faced with an alarming display
of floppy animals - many of them bears but not all of them. Your first task is to choose your bear. Knowing my grandson as I do, I reckoned a good half of those on show could be dismissed as being “too girlie” though that still left an awful lot
to choose from - but only two Pokemon characters. In the end it was an easy choice between Pikachu and Eevee. Eevee won, paws down.
Next we had to decide whether
we wanted to add a sound effect by inserting a disc into Eevee’s paw. It seemed rude to decline. With disc inserted (if you pressed his paw, our Eevee now squawked “Eevee! Eevee!”) we moved onto my favourite part of the whole process - the
Ceremonial Stuffing and the insertion of the bear’s heart.
First, the stuffing. Morgan was instructed to stand next to a large plastic cylinder full
of fluffy material. Please remember this as its importance will become clear later in the Blog. By standing on a pedal, an appropriate amount of the Fluffy Stuff was, as if by magic, transferred from the cylinder to our Eevee who swelled with pride. Or, more
accurately, with Fluffy Stuff.
Next the Birthday Boy had to choose his favourite coloured heart from a number of display trays - he ignored the red hearts, opting
instead for a blue patterned one. His choice says a lot about the lad’s refusal to opt for the obvious.
But now, here’s the thing. Before the
blue patterned heart could be tucked inside Eevee, it first had to go through a kind of initiation ceremony which involved Morgan waking the heart up by shaking it gently, rubbing it on his nose, back and knees (each action bearing its own significance but
I got a bit lost along the way) then holding it in both hands, closing his eyes and making a wish. Now, Young Morgan is wise beyond his years, probably on account of having two older brothers. He is seven going on seventeen with a teenager’s disregard
for anything obviously manufactured for effect. He was, nevertheless, completely entranced by the Heart Initiation Ceremony - reminding me that, Big Brothers not withstanding, he is still, after all, just a littl’un.
Choosing the clothes in which to dress the toy is usually a bit of a nightmare, there being so much to choose from. Fortunately there were only really two possible outfits for our Eevee. After that,
it was on to the important business of registering his birth and deciding what name should appear on the “birth certificate.” Morgan had no doubt - his name was “Fluffy.” Morgan’s father thought a more appropriate name might be
Stevie (to rhyme with Eevee, don’t you know) in honour of, well, himself. Morgan was having none of it.
Fluffy has barely left his owner’s side
since then. He isn’t just a bear, you know, he is a Birthday Bear. Fluffy inside and out, like all the best bears.
I know just how he feels...