Friday, April 12, 2013

Kicking and Screaming

Anytime I see Toys "R" Us, I think about my little brother.

Hudson is the youngest child in our family and the youngest grandchild on both sides. He is also the only son and the only grandson on my father's side. Essentially, he was the long awaited heir to carry on the "White" family name, and he was loved by all. My dad likes to tell everyone that he was born looking "like a businessman" with his thick, dark hair parted to the side. He was a proud father the second he saw his little boy.
Because my dad is an only child (and we had very doting grandparents), my brother, sister, and I were quite spoiled when it came to toys. I remember telling my friend Joe that we had a couple of Teddie Ruxpins growing up, and he said, "What!? Do you know how expensive those things were!?" I had no idea they were a big deal. All I know is that my sister wanted one and my grandma bought them for us. We had dolls galore, puzzles, paints, and all the little things girls love.

Hudson was a whole new bag of toys though. When he began to like Power Rangers, he suddenly had every Power Ranger boy costume, a plush imitation of each character, and of course, a hoard of figurines. His room was decked out in Power Rangers memorabilia with everything from his bedsheets to his curtains and trashcan proudly displaying the multi-colored ensemble of ninjas. When he discovered that he liked other superheroes, his costume wardrobe grew to include Batman, Robin, Superman, and Spiderman. Some of my favorite memories involve him parading around our house constantly (and for years) in his different costumes. 

In short, he got what he wanted most of the time. And he was happy.

All of this being said, it was no surprise that he wanted a toy or two when we occasionally went to Toys "R" Us. Our parents gave us an allowance of 5 dollars twice a month, and we could save that money to get whatever we wanted. One particular trip, my mother and grandmother took us to Toys "R" Us so I could spend the money I had been saving. I, of course, wanted to spend every penny on acquiring as many Little Pet Shop animals as possible. Hudson, who had recklessly spent his money as soon as he received it, walked around the store with a frown on his face. 

However, once we came to a glass case which housed the Collector Barbie dolls, Hudson's frown soon disappeared and was replaced with a look of pure joy. He saw something he wanted. And he was convinced he would have it.
Yes. It was this exact Mattel Elvis Barbie that he wanted. 

With two older sisters who made him play with Barbies constantly and a love for costumes, how could Hudson not want this doll!? The Barbie was $59.95. I will never forget my mom telling Hudson that he didn't have any money to spend and that the Elvis doll was just too expensive to purchase. Hudson wasn't very used to hearing "no" and he did not like hearing my grandmother and mom telling him that he couldn't have this very precious doll. He looked over the glasses he wore (he was about 5 years old at the time) and just screamed, "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" as long as he could and for as long as his longs would possibly allow.

He was a force that could not be reckoned with. The only thing left for my mother and grandmother to do was to carry him out of the store. My mother calmly picked him up, held him tightly against her chest, and did her best to keep his swinging legs from hitting anyone else. My Little Pet Shop animals were left behind, and we hurried out of the store. I was humiliated. It was embarrassing to be seen with a screaming tyrant. I was also sad that his inability to control himself had ruined my fun outing. However, I wasn't mad at my mom or grandma for forcing me to leave my things behind. I understood. And even then, I was impressed with my mom's ability to remain cool, calm, and collected. There was no yelling or screaming. There was no severe reprimand. Instead, my grandmother and mother did their best to explain the situation to Hudson. He eventually calmed down, but we didn't go back to the store.

Now that I am a mother, I think back upon that day often. In fact, I thought about my mother's example a couple of weeks ago when I carried Eliza kicking and screaming out of the Disney Store. She wanted a $50 dollar Ariel dress and even though she has one (that was $2.00 at a yard sale), she knows it's not the official Disney Store one. Ahh! 

So, when I thought I was about to lose my patience, I had the vivid memory of my mother calming Hudson and trying her hardest to help him understand. Eliza doesn't often want material things, but she does cause me to lose my calm quite regularly. She wants a specific dish, she wants her blankets arranged a very certain way, she wants to eat only know, the usual three-year-old behavior (all of that is normal, right?). 

She looks at me over her glasses ALL the time and says, "No!" just like my little brother used to do, and somehow, I am learning to be more like my parents and offer her explanations rather than frustration. It's a work in progress, and I am learning--but I am trying. I love Eliza, but her obstinate personality has been a real struggle for me! Fortunately, I have Hudson's example, and I know that she will eventually mellow out. She just really wants to be like her uncle, and that's not a bad thing at all.

I love you, Hudson. 
(Let's take an updated picture when I go home. This one is...umm...6 years old).

And my grandmother totally went back once the Elvis doll went on sale and got it for Hudson. The story has a happy ending for him :)


  1. I am requesting a little bit of commentary on how Elvis fit in to barbie pretending time? Did you hold concerts in which your barbies would travel and camp out in line for tickets that they paid out the nose for? (which of course is an all too literal assumption of how you play with Elvis barbies)

    Or did Elvis fall into the soap opera of blonde Ken taking his relationship with barbie for granted finds that the new neighbor down the street is talk dark and handsome looking to date a bored Barbie impressing her with his cape wearing skills?

    1. He NEVER played with it! It sat on a shelf in a collector's stand and collected dust for 15 years :( My grandmother still has it displayed in a bedroom at her house. Your ideas were awesome though!

  2. This is such a great story. And how much did those Teddy Ruxpin bears cost? I definitely had one as a kid. Confession: I would play dentist with him and turn him off when his mouth was open so it would stay, and then poke the back of his mouth with a screwdriver. :/

    1. Haha! I love it! I am not sure how much they were, but apparently, they were the "Tickle Me Elmo" of the 80s. People went crazy for them!


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