July 14, 2008

Evie and Uh Oh: A Love Story

A couple of weeks ago, while hiding from potential buyers who wished to tour our house, we took Evie to lunch at Red Robin, where she got a red helium balloon. She fell head over heels for that balloon, tugging on the string, squealing, and talking to it in her sweetest Evie voice. We brought it home with us, where she continued to play with it. She accidentally released it and it flew up to the ceiling. She pointed to it and said "Uh oh!" - then repeated this about 30 more times through the course of the afternoon. We would get the balloon down for her, she'd play with it for awhile, then she would let it go and say "Uh oh" until we retrieved it again.

That night in the bathtub, I could tell Evie was thinking about the balloon. She pointed to the ceiling and said "Uh oh?" as if she were inquiring as to its whereabouts. The following morning, the first thing she did after getting dressed was run into the living room and find her balloon, "Uh oh," who at this point had lost his helium and fallen to the ground. She wouldn't give him up, and played with him in the car the whole way to daycare. When it was time to go inside, she was more upset about saying goodbye to "Uh oh" than she was about leaving me.

Evie carried the balloon around until he was just a limp little puffball of rubber dragging along the ground.

That Saturday, while grocery shopping, I found the perfect successor to Uh Oh. It was a silver Mylar balloon with a picture of a red balloon on it (how postmodern!). It even had a safety pin at the base, which allowed us to attach the end to Evie's shirt - not that we needed to, because she never let go of that string for a minute.

It was a match made in heaven. Evie loved her new balloon. He stayed by her side through diaper changes, playtime, and dancing to the Grateful Dead. For 24 hours, they were inseparable. We only separated them for dinner and naptime, because it was impossible for her to focus on the task at hand when her precious balloon was within sight.

Then, on Sunday afternoon, Evie walked away from the balloon for a few minutes. Distracted by her Little People Farm, she temporarily forgot him. Sam decided to move him to her bedroom for safe keeping. As he walked down the hallway, a tragedy occurred. Evie's balloon was sucked up into the air conditioning duct. We had neglected to put in an air filter, and the cavernous duct curved up into the ceiling, and then off to a mysterious place in the depths of the house.

Sam felt horrible. He assembled a search party with a dining room chair and a ladder. He came down, crestfallen. Evie's favorite friend was gone forever.

If Evie had shown us the depth of a toddler's love for a balloon, then Sam showed the depth of a daddy's love for a little girl who loves balloons. Without missing a beat, he scooped Evie up, took her to Safeway, and went on a mission to find Uh Oh 3. I wasn't there, but Sam recounted that balloon shopping with a toddler might be one of life's greatest little joys. There's always a silver lining.

Evie picked out an enormous, bright yellow, smiley face balloon. Sam bought me flowers at Safeway, and he replaced the air filter, making our house safe for balloons once more. And all of the Wiants lived happily ever after.

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