Anna has 7 elephant toys, but she just found out about Dumbo. She loved the Dumbo toy that one of the kids at daycare brought in yesterday and Anna wanted to claim it as her own. She sobbed like her heart was broken when I told her it belonged to Hannah not Anna and that she could not bring it home with her. At that point I realized that the notion of property rights was probably not a product of legal rules, but rather something that grew out of emotional attachments to objects that even little kids can have.
So when she was taking her afternoon nap after I promised that Dumbo would come to visit her once she wakes up, I went out on a mission to buy a Dumbo for her. Sometimes I think 7 elephants and two large boxes of miscellaneous other toys are already enough for a kid who’s not even 3 years old, but then I thought I still needed that next camera even though I have 6 already, and when those innocent watery eyes look at you as if the end of the world has come, you really couldn’t say no to an 8th elephant, or the 9th, or the 10th.
So I went out and bought not just one, but four more elephants for her. I pretty much snatched up all available elephant toys in the two department stores I visited (only then did I realize how teddy bears and little bunnies far outnumber elephants in the toys department), but still no Dumbo. Apparently, after 60 years, Dumbo is not a popular cartoon figure anymore, at least not as much as Nemo or Spiderman or–thank god Anna is not into those–Barbie dolls. I was about to go to the Disney store on Michigan Avenue in search of Dumbo when I realized it was time to go home, hail a cab, and take the train to Ann Arbor.
So I left the elephants at home and took the train back to school. Anna was sound asleep, probably dreaming about the Dumbo visit. I was hoping that she was too little to remember the details of the Dumbo toy she played with at daycare, and that at least one of the elephants I bought, especially the purple one, could pass as the real thing.
When I called Ping later last night, I was told that Anna was happy to see the arrival of additional elephants, but still claims that she’s missing one particular elephant–the purple one with big blue ears and a little green turtle sitting on its head. From what I remember, the Dumbo at the daycare was precisely purple with blue ears, but it didn’t have anything on its head.
I googled several times for a toy that fits her description but to no avail. Whenever she remembers, Anna’s memory is usually pretty accurate. To this day she still remembers the license plate of the car we rented in Arizona and I couldn’t recall even the first letter when I had to fill out a parking slip at the park, so I trust her description more than mine. Eventually I came to the conclusion that either my memory about the daycare Dumbo was faulty and it really did have something green on its head, or that a Dumbo with a little green turtle on its head did visit Anna in her sweet little dream.
Either way, where to find that Dumbo is still a difficult question.