"The next time I have to give something away, I'm going to choose something without a face. I get too attached if it has a face."
These profound words were spoken by Ben, after picking out a toy for the White Elephant Christmas gift exchange at school. Ben then spent an agonizing evening and early morning coming to terms with the imminent loss of this little creature which he had personified.
While my budding vegetarian is prone to attachment of inanimate objects, it's even more intense for living things. On our recent trip to Oman, he developed a love of camels that would rival Romeo and Juliet, or at least Brangelina. Their bad teeth and high-pitched growls notwithstanding (the camels, that is), he took one look at those long eyelashes and turned into a puddle in the sand.
And so, it was without much question or debate that we decided to get him a camel for Christmas. For obvious reasons, erecting a stable in the back yard for a real one was out of the question. Instead, I embarked on a search for the largest stuffed camel I could find.
Piece of cake, right? Not quite. Considering that we live in the heart of Arabia, it is surprising how hard it is to find a stuffed camel. But after searching the city over, I finally found one at Hallmark, and it was the biggest, saddest looking creature you could ever imagine, with huge doe eyes and a scruffy mane. Dan took one look at it and said, "That's the most pathetic looking camel I have ever seen. He's going to love it."
And he does love it. Ben had previously been on a website with a cartoon camel that said, "Iowa", which is kind of what a camel sounds like, oddly enough. So, Iowa has become a member of our family, and he was even part of our most recent family picture. Now I just have to find a way to break it to Ben that I'm not springing for a plane ticket to Canada for his new little buddy this summer.