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How they do grow up

“I know just the toy I’m going to get you this year,” I said to Dan as we were preparing our Christmas gift lists for each other.


“I don’t want any toys,” he said flatly.


“But this is the hottest toy of the year!” I protested. “It’s these little mechanical hamsters, see, and you can get all kinds of tunnels and cages and exercise wheels and stuff for them – even outfits! They’re so lifelike. They’re adorable!”


“I don’t want any toys,” he repeated.


I was saddened because I like to put quirky things in his stocking like Koosh balls and mini lava lamps, and I like getting him at least one toy for Christmas. Apparently he didn’t like the toy I gave him last year – the Fantastic Four’s Flame on a motorcycle that sped around the floor in circles. I ended up putting that toy in the Mother to Mother silent auction, hoping some other boy would appreciate it.


“I can’t believe this,” I said. “I remember one year you sent a fax to Grandpa and you wrote on it, ‘All I want for Christmas is toys, toys, toys.’” We both smiled at the memory, but I sighed, too. “I guess you’re growing up.”


“I’m going to be 23. I want big-boy toys,” Dan said. “Like a nice watch. Or an iTunes gift card. Or a nice UK pullover. No kiddie toys.”


“As you wish,” I conceded. But in the back of my mind I thought, “I relly like those little mechanical hamster thingys. They’re cute. I’ve always wanted a hamster. And I won’t have to clean up after these.” So somebody is going to end up with a Zhou Zhou Pet for Christmas this year – if I can find one.