Tag Archives: stuffed animals

The Adventures of Catfish, The Poop Goblin


My three-year-old daughter Bridget has been blaming all of her problems on Catfish lately, even though he’s her favorite stuffed animal.

He’s a Siamese-looking cat with a fish on his collar. She snuggles up to him every night even though he keeps wetting her bed.

And I was already having a rough day the other day when Bridget walks up to report:

“Really sorry mama, but Catfish pooped your bed…”


I run up to my room to find a bunch of poop circles all over the duvet cover (which of course I’d JUST washed and changed).

I walk into my bathroom to see a three-foot tower of toilet paper exploding from the toilet bowl, leading all the way back to a nearly-naked toilet room on the wall, which was splashed in brown handprints.  Dirty crumpled pants were wadded up on the wet floor.

I take a deep breath…

“Bridget,” I say in the most understanding tone I can muster. “I know it was you who pooped my bed, not Catfish.”


“Catfish doesn’t poop. Look, I’m really proud that you’re using the potty like a big girl, but you need to tell me because you still need help with…”

“STOP LYING, THAT NOT TRUE!” she screams, stomping away all indignant and mortified.

unicornSee, a guy friend of mine once ranted on Facebook about how badly his female coworker’s blatant grabbing of a newspaper before walking into the restroom had shocked him. He said women were delicate creatures whom he needed to picture floating several feet above the toilet to do their business, yards of fluffy tulle skirts separating them from the foulness below as they plan their next unicorn ride (or whatever it is boys think we do in our spare time).

The crazy thing is how he has two high-school aged daughters. Because I have no idea how the myth of the fartless female could survive the raising of two actual girls.

For my part, I’ve been reminded that girls poop every day for the past six years. My daughters still think farts are hilarious and will demand credit for them (I should probably do something about that before they reach high school).

“Umm… Catfish stole a croissant too.”

Still,  I’m finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Honestly, I don’t understand what other parents mean when they say their kid was potty-trained “at 11 months” (or whenever) because it’s not exactly a sudden event.

It’s more of a process spanning many unpredictable months (or years) of still needing diapers when asleep, relapsing for several days, or wetting themselves whenever they’re distracted or because they’re telling you they have to go potty eleven seconds before it happens and there doesn’t happen to be a toilet five feet away…

Handling Number Two all by yourself is the black belt of potty mastery, and Bridget really, really wants to believe she’s already there.

But her skill level doesn’t match her confidence yet. She’ll ask me to “PLEASE LEAVE” if I’m hovering and shriek “NO! DO IT MYSELF!” whenever I try to help.

But I still do, to avoid the gross aftermath of her independence streak, which is why she started sneaking into one of our four bathrooms to poop on the sly.

I find out whenever she’s mysteriously changed into new clothes, stink lines wafting above her head, and I start suspiciously checking the bathrooms for clear evidence of a struggle:

“Why did you change your pants, Bridget?

“Um… Like these pants better.”

Understandably, she’s not been wanting to own it. So, poor Catfish has been stealing Brontë’s toys, occasionally peeing the bed and leaving poopy clothes all over the bathroom floor next to piles of half-dirty toilet paper. Even though he doesn’t wear any pants.

At least Bridget keeps apologizing on his behalf.



My Daughter Is Sold Downriver By a Giant Orange Bear

Even though Brontë isn’t in preschool yet, she is never lonely. Out of a ridiculous number of dolls and stuffed animals, she has selected three best friends: Pink Bear, Yellow Bunny, and Minnie.

Caught sneaking honey again.
Caught sneaking honey again.

Pink Bear is a little bear that wears a pink hoodie. She selected him from Nugget’s flower shop one day and they have been buddies ever since. He’s cute, but given to lots of mischief behind the scenes. He jumps on her bed, throws her books off the bookshelf when no one is looking, and sneaks honey whenever he gets the chance (because, as we all know, bears like honey).

Pink Bear gets into trouble but is still lovable. I think he makes Brontë feel better about her own mischievous tendencies.

Yep, caught drinking honey straight out of the bottle.
Yep, caught drinking honey straight out of the bottle.

Yellow Bunny is Pink Bear’s quieter friend. He occasionally argues with Pink Bear, but is usually his calm sidekick. Still, he has been elected to Brontë’s inner circle, mostly because she flat out loves bunnies. They have two long fuzzy ears with which she can drag them around  and which she also likes to rub  under her nose.

It's a bunny. And he's yellow.
It’s a bunny. And he’s yellow.

Orange Bear is a giant orange bear with a blue nose that used to live in Brontë’s room. He was once a close friend, but fell out of favor. One evening, during her monster episodes (when Brontë was convinced monsters were menacing her room), I told Brontë not to be afraid   because: 1) there aren’t any monsters. I checked, and 2) if there were monsters, Orange Bear would protect her from them. I pointed out that Orange Bear is very big and could take care of any monsters, should they happen to sneak in. She seemed reassured by this idea.

The next morning, however, I was surprised to see Brontë with angry cartoon eyebrows, dragging Orange Bear out into the hallway and summarily dumping him there without fanfare. “What’s wrong?,”I asked her, “Don’t you like Orange Bear any more?”

“NO!” she said. “Orange Bear LET THE MONSTERS IN.”

“Orange Bear protects you from monsters,” I argued.

“NOOOOOOOOOO!,” she yelled, “He LET MONSTERS IN.” She stomped back into her room and slammed the door.

Monster double agent and all-around traitorous bear.
Monster double agent and all-around traitorous bear.

Hmm. Well, I can understand why she was so pissed off with him. He’s supposed to be her friend and gives her this whole song and dance about protecting her from monsters, then late at night she saw him letting them inside her room? What a douche.

We moved Orange Bear into Bridget’s room because Brontë absolutely would not have him back, and luckily, he and Bridget seem to make better roommates.

Minnie, on the other hand, is Brontë’s absolute BFF. Pink Bear and Yellow Bunny are fun, but Minnie is undoubtedly the favorite. She is chief counselor and vice-president reigning supreme over all other toys in Brontë’s play world.

Minnie is a Minnie Mouse puppet blanket that Brontë likes to throw around her neck and drag along, wherever she goes. Minnie always cuddles Brontë when she goes to sleep. Brontë often tries to shove the Minnie puppet on my hand so I will talk for Minnie, yet my daughter seems to accept Minnie as a distinct personality despite her awareness that she’s frequently powered by my hand.

Nonetheless, Minnie is completely out of control. She may speak with a cutesy mouse voice, but she’s moody, throws fits, and often tries to chew on Brontë’s hands. She mocks Brontë and Brontë mocks her right back. Sometimes Minnie does incredibly inappropriate things like grab pencils and draw pictures of poop on notepads, yell at Brontë for being loud when she’s “trying to sleep,” or take over story time and repeatedly attempt to eat Brontë’s books.

I think Brontë not only can identify with Minnie’s wild impulses, but she also likes to be the one saying “No!” For once, Brontë gets to bark the orders, enforce house rules, and tell Minnie Mouse to settle down.

Minnie has been a surprisingly useful training tool. For example, we had a problem for several months with Brontë’s behavior when we picked her up from grandma and grandpa’s house. Brontë wouldn’t look at me for hours, would throw nasty screaming fits, refuse hugs and all conversation, and would generally act up well into the next day. This would happen again and again, until John and I were at our wits’ end trying to figure out how to handle the situation.

We weren’t sure if Brontë just didn’t want to leave her grandparents’ house, where she never gets in trouble and popsicles flow like running water, or if she was incredibly angry at me for leaving her. It was probably a bit of both, but I was tired of dealing with two days of constant tantrums for whenever Brontë stayed with her grandparents and every approach to calm her down was an utter failure.

Finally, one night we were going home after picking the girls up from their grandparents and Brontë, as usual, was pouting, whining, and averting her eyes whenever I looked at her. I called her into her room to go to bed, as Brontë stomped around behind me, where Minnie was throwing a massive fit. Brontë stared, wide-eyed… “I’M MAD! I’M MAD AT YOU!” Minnie said, then started rolling back and forth, yelling and screaming and kicking her little high-heeled mouse feet. Brontë’s eyes bugged out for a second before she started to giggle. Then Minnie got right in Brontë’s face, opened her big muppet mouth, and started yelling, shaking her head back and forth. Brontë broke into hysterics, laughing so hard that her eyes started watering.

Very popular, despite her rockstar antics.
Very popular, despite her rockstar antics.

“I MISSED YOU! YOU LEFT ME! YOU WERE GONE, GONE, GONE AND I DIDN’T KNOW WHEN YOU WOULD COME BACK!” Minnie screamed. “Aww,” Brontë murmured sympathetically, a real look concern in her eyes. “I”m back!” she said, and gave Minnie a big hug. She pet Minnie’s head sweetly and said, “I missed you too.” They cuddled up and went to bed.

You know what? The next time we picked up the girls from their grandparents’ house, Brontë walked out, looked me in the eye, and said, “I missed you, mommy.”

“I missed you too! I’m back!” I reassured her. I gave her a giant hug and she squeezed me back before grabbing my hand in her little fist. No tantrums that night.

Minnie continues her ridiculous antics from time to time, but she has proven herself a valuable ally in Brontë’s coterie. She can talk to her about stuff that’s too scary to tell mom. And Minnie always understands.

Brontë Gets into an Argument with Pinkbear

Pinkbear sometimes takes his shenanigans too far.
Pinkbear sometimes takes his shenanigans too far.

So, yesterday Brontë got into an argument with Pinkbear (a little teddy bear in a pink hoodie who is normally a favorite toy).

I asked if she wanted to bring Pinkbear to bed and she shouted, “No!” When we sat for story time, I perched him toward the book and said he wanted to hear the story too, and Brontë screamed “NO!” with angry cartoon eyebrows, then flipped him on his stomach so he couldn’t see the book.

After story-time, Pinkbear hopped up to her as gave her a kiss on the cheek. She paused, softened, and hugged him after holding him out for me to give him a goodnight kiss. I’m not sure what they were fighting about, but it seems to be over now.

I think she may have been worried he would start pressing the buttons and flipping the doors on her interactive books. Next thing you know, the raccoon, Princess Merida, and Yellowbunny are all crowding in for story time, and suddenly Brontë has to fight to see the pictures…

Story time is for mommy and Brontë and she will brook no interlopers.