About 3 years ago Caleb discovered that there was a cartoon version of him, named Calvin. He read all the comics, memorized entire plots, spouted off clever lines and quickly decided he needed his own “Hobbes” stuffed tiger. We searched in vain for an authentic Hobbes but Bill Watterson, the comics creator, despised the commercialism that inundated our society with stuffed Garfield mugs and Snoopy dolls, and refused to license the characters. A sad 6 year old Caleb even wrote to Mr Watterson, and asked him to reconsider! please! No reply. So we looked for a substitute but either found Tiggers (Pooh’s old pal?! no way!) or very realistic tigers that, in Caleb’s discerning eyes “weren’t Hobbes”. Then one day I found this bright orange, ugly carnival-prize tiger at a tag sale. two quarters handed over and a turn in the washing machine with disinfectant and Hobbes was home. Caleb was ecstatic! He has gone everywhere with him since. To the park, to the beach, to Florida, and even to the zoo to see real tigers. He had his own Christmas stocking last year (with a tunafish can in it). He talks (“kinda growly sounding mom, but not scary”) and only Caleb can understand him. He has had many surgeries in the past and last night endured the most extensive procedure yet. Being a cheap Taiwan-made animal, and being loved intensely by an 8 year old who is convinced you can’t feel pain, that you LOVE the “parachute game” means damage. Extensive, almost daily, damage. Frankly, the surgeon is as tired of the operations as the patient and Hobbes has received duct tape bandages to “hold him over” in the past. Caleb comes to me and plaintively says “When are you going to do Hobbes next surgery?! Every night I tell him “Brace yourself Buddy, tomorrow you are getting the needle, but then you DON’T DO IT!” and he wrote it on the kitchen message board to help me remember. Last night we are all in bed when Caleb comes into my room and tearfully says “you forgot again. you promised and you FORGOT.” Is there a more painful thing for a parent to hear?! But I assured him that since it was not yet midnight, my promise wasn’t expired and so we got out the sewing-ahem-hospital kit and started in. 6 gashes and a partially detached leg mended…now we have a healthy tiger, a happy boy, a promise kept.
Caleb-“Will there be scissors?! Mom, please! I promised him NO scissors!”