Wednesday, February 20, 2013

There are Now Officially Two Flatcats. For Real.

flatcat

Flatcat is a little scrap of cat-shaped Egyptian terrycloth that's been with us since P. was about a year old. When we bought him from Under the Nile, we actually bought four, as we'd already been through the experience of having a lovey go out of production. Out of production loveys, it turns out, have a ridiculously high resale value when they're NWT. We didn't want to make the same mistake twice.

Still, having multiple loveys is a recipe for a different kind of mistake. Two, in particular. When P. was two she walked in on two Flatcats laid out to dry on my ironing board. Her response was not shock or confusion, but rather "Oh! My two Flatcats," as if she'd always had more than one. The doppelganger was quickly dispatched for my underpants drawer, but every now and then P. would recall how once she'd had a pair of Flatcats. Then, at daycare when a primary Flatcat was briefly missing, all the kids went looking for him - while P. was carrying around his replacement. Again, her response was to tell everyone "You know I have two Flatcats?"

And then just recently, the third mistake: Flatcat went missing and bedtime was imminent so, after much searching, we pulled out one of the reserves. Three days later, which was yesterday, the AWOL terrycloth kitty shows up and P. runs into the living room with a Flatcat in each hand. Not confused or angry or suspicious, but triumphant. "See, mama? I have two Flatcats!" I said maybe he's just visiting and maybe it's a special kind of day with magic" and she just looked at me incredulously with two fists full of Flatcat.

A few hours later, P. went to dance camp and only one came along. I'd hidden the other by the time she returned and there was no more talk of two Flatcats. Until bedtime, that is. When she dejectedly said to the mister "I guess mama was right. I guess he was just visiting." And then when I went in to sing she turned on her side and burst into tears because all she wanted in the world was her two Flatcats.

I caved so hard, immediately grabbing Flatcat number two from under my undies and saying "Look, here he is! I found him!" She went to sleep with each arm wrapped tight around a Flatcat and a smile on her face. I guess our reservist is now here to stay.

For some reason, P.'s sudden affection for two Flatcats has actually made me weep more than once. The mister and I had a nice long gab about it and best I can figure is that I'm worried that having two loveys in rotation will somehow make those loveys less special. Flatcat has always been P.'s rock. Her lighthouse when seas got stormy. Their relationship is one of the great love stories, as far I'm concerned.

And now there are two. I worry that this simple doubling will devalue what was once, in P.'s mind, utterly unique. I worry that Flatcat will become just another thing in her roomful of stuff. I worry that since Flatcat's value was in his constancy, this change will take away from his ability to provide comfort. I guess I'm worried that he won't be important anymore the same way he was and because of that, he won't have that magical ability to help P. through tough times.

Or maybe I'm just over-thinking it and this was just destiny. After all, from the way P. tells it, there have always been two Flatcats.

4 comments:

  1. Evan has two identical blankies, knit by my MIL. One was supposed to be backup while the other was washed but he could TELL the difference and refused to accept the back up. So we let him have them both and now he HAS to have them both. There are TWO magical, special blankies. I think it's like having more than one kid - you don't THINK you could possibly have enough love for another one but then you DO.

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  2. I love the way you write and overthink.

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  3. This is a great story. Just wait til she discovers the rest!

    Her love will expand, just like you do with more than one kid. I'm pretty sure, anyway. Pea has a lot of plush animals; my rule was one per species (excepting bears and elephants), which some friends took up as a personal challenge: she has an anteater, badger, sloth, and porcupine among them. But she never had a lovey except for -- go figure, my kid -- a hat her teachers called "the happy hat." She rotates through animals, depending on her interests at the time. She loves them all. It works.

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  4. "two fists full of Flatcat"
    ...that is the sentence of the week!

    don't fret. you can't read into kid logic

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