The kids spent Monday at home with me. It was the MLKJ school holiday.

I took them grocery shopping at a Chinese supermarket. I thought it would be fun to buy Chinese New Year treats together. I have fond memories of going shopping for Chinese New Year with my parents when I was little.

After an authentic Chinese lunch at a restaurant in the shopping center, we walked toward the supermarket.

“Wait, Mom! Can we go in there?” The kids halted my march and pointed to a gift-ware store with enthused anticipation.

“Uh…okay.” me.

“Yeah!” they filed into the store cheering.

I immediately began to regret the okay. This store is full of random totally unnecessary, but ridiculously cute things that appeal to young children and overgrown she-child. They have these little tea pots that I would want to pet, rather than drink tea out of.

As soon as I stepped into the store, my children greeted me with this big-eyed whatever it is stuffed animal thing.

The Big Eye Thing

I felt trapped! They must have seen this thing from the store window, and knew they wanted it.

They wrapped their arms around this thing and stood pleading with me with the biggest smiles they could fake. The kind of smile that I often demanded from them when snapping a picture of them, then quickly decided that isn’t the smile I really wanted.

They are 11 and 8 years old. They have outgrown stuffed animals. So, I shook my head, and mouthed no.

They immediately changed facial strategy. They both curved their mouths downward, turned their fake smiles into sad faces, stared at me intently with those big sad puppy eyes, and blinked purposefully. Three pairs of big eyes staring at me were too much to bear. I cracked too easily.

“YEAH!!” the kids and the store owner were happy.

This big eye whatever it is cost $30 dollars!! This store is not cheap either.

On the drive home, I aired my grievance about this purchase out loud.

“I feel like a sucker for buying this thing for you guys.” me.

“Can’t believe it cost $30 dollars!” me.

“You two are too old for stuffed animals.” me.

“Sure, you have to have it now. But in a day or two, or at the most 2 weeks, it will sit in some corner collecting dust.” me.

The kids were oblivious to my ranting. They were busy holding the toy and giving it a name. They like to name everything.

“I want to call it Po Po.” 8-year-old.

“No! It sounds like Poo Poo.” 11-year-old.

“Why would you name that cute little thing Po Po? It sounds like grandma in Chinese!” I chimed in.

“How about big eye?” me.

They ignored my suggestion.

After we got home, the children spent most of their afternoon upstairs. They were suspiciously quiet.

Around dinnertime, I went upstairs to peek at them. I was surprised with a long line of toys from one of their bedrooms all the way around the hallway to the middle of our bonus room.

Line of toys

Toys along the wall

I have not seen most of these toys in a LONG time. They were dormant in some toy chest until that day. Most of the toys were stuffed animals, and many were old favorites, which I immediately reacquainted with sentimental feelings.

line of more old favorites

This long line of toys lead to the big eye thing, which sat in a big black leather chair.

Big Eye on his throne

Our newest toy has a god complex.

“What is this about?!” me.

“Today is Butterball’s birthday. So, everyone here is standing in line to wish him a happy birthday.” 11-year-old.

Of course, it was Butterball’s birthday. Butterball is a fitting name for Big Eye.

I was duly impressed with Butterball. That he could just show up and make my children shake off their sophisticated 3rd and 6th grader ways, and play like pre-schoolers. I have a healthy respect for childish happiness.

I no longer regretted buying Butterball.

“You two will need to clean all these up.” I shouted out, as I headed back downstairs.

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