The binky in my three-and-a-half year old's mouth drove AngryHusband to distraction. We had a stark difference of opinion on this subject. If there is a tool out there that a) keeps a child asleep and b) keeps their mouth shut when the evil just has to come out of it, then why don't we--thinking beings with very sensitive ears and a fondness for eight hours in the sack--take advantage of it? It's a technology, and nothing more.
My husband creates an elaborate myth of the Binky Fairy. She visits older children whose binkies are needed by new babies. He creates out of thin air a binky shortage. He sets the stage with lovable and needy characters that the Little One could help TONIGHT! Just by leaving her binkies under the pillow! And the Binky Fairy brings a toy!
The Little One said with her eyes: NO FUCKING WAY. And so we let the matter rest. In fact, we mostly forgot about it. Or at least I did. Until AngryHusband left the country for a weekend of drinking. Frazzled after a couple of days flying solo, I'm tucking the children into their beds, when the Little One grabs her cup o' binkies and starts pushing them under her pillow.
"I want the Binky Fairy to bring me a Zhu Zhu Pet." she says.
"What the HELL is a Zhu Zhu Pet?" I wonder, realizing that there is no possible way to get even a convenience store package of donuts at this point of the night. I create an elaborate cover story to explain why the Binky Fairy can't visit tonight. "We didn't write her a letter!" I plead. And The Little One--disappointed to say the least--gives up, crams a binky into her mouth, and lays down in the bed.
I find out what a Zhu Zhu pet is. It's an electronic rodent that costs about $8 if you can actually find one in a reputable retail establishment. But I also find out that they're the hot toy of the season. Dwight Schrute has a beet barn full of them, and he'll jack them up to the exhorbitant prices I see on Amazon right around Thanksgiving. He's going to be a rich man.
The Little One doesn't mention the Binky Fairy for the rest of the weekend. Monday morning I am able to rush to the Wal-mart to find exactly zero Zhu Zhu Pets, but because I'm an optimist, I buy a $20 house for a Zhu Zhu Pet and come home to do some research.
I find the same house on Amazon for $141. The pets themselves run $30 on Amazon and about $20 on Ebay. Height of stupidity. I can bend over now or try old technology. I pick up the phone and speak to the toy department manager at Wal-mart. She tells me the Zhu Zhu pets are on a truck, and there will be more tomorrow morning.
Within 24 hours, I have scored two Zhu Zhu Pets. Angry Husband has returned along with my sanity. AngryHusband puts Operation Binky Fairy into overdrive, and after some cajoling, Little One puts her binkies under the pillow, and we call it a night. Kind of.
At 4:30 a.m., the Little One has discovered the Zhu Zhu pets. AngryHusband has to coax them out of their boxes and put one in each child's bed. For the rest of that morning, we hear strange hamster-like noises through the baby monitor.
At 7 am the next morning, they wake up like it's Christmas. Within 5 minutes, a Zhu Zhu pet has sucked up a stray thread off the big One's Pajamas and attempts to hang himself. AngryHusband takes the thing apart to unwrap it. I stumble out of the bedroom just in time to see a Zhu Zhu pet find its way down the crack between the wall and the refrigerator. Before I can grab it, it has turned the corner and gotten itself stuck in there. I hear it chittering and gurgling, and we pull out the refrigerator and clean it off as best we can.
I walk into the laundry room and turn around in time to see another Zhu Zhu pet effortlessly climb the plastic water bowl and take a dip. It wanders around in there, unable to get out. I pull it, soaking wet, from the bowl and wrap it in a towel. The screwdriver is still out from this morning, and I take the thing apart in a frantic effort to dry it before it fries up. It is out of commission for a couple of hours, but never fear! The fun isn't over! The Little One sticks her Zhu Zhu pet on her head, where it attaches itself like a fetal Alien. Her hair bends an axle on the pet, and I have to cut a hunk of her hair off with safety scissors.
The time? It's nearly 7:30. By 9 am, I have opened them each back up again to change their batteries, and the Little One is missing another chunk of hair.
These are not electronic hamsters--they're electronic LEMMINGS.