Sunday 6 November 2011

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We Travel with a Leopard and a Lamb

This is Mowgli and Lambchop. These are my youngest daughter's two favorite stuffed animals, and they come everywhere with us. My daughter is more likely to forget to pack clothes than she is these two. Both of them would have qualified for MVP status on Alaska Airlines last year except for the little fact that they don't actually pay for tickets. They did fly over 25,000 miles last year though, and even managed to get in almost 8,000 miles in first class. They actually might have gotten to spend more time in first class than I did last year. Something's wrong with this picture.

The newest - Bella - on her way to Vancouver
Mowgli and Lamchop started out as nighttime protectors for my daughter when she was really young. Each night they would be stationed at the foot of her bed, and they would stand guard while my daughter was sleeping, protecting her from anything that might cause a bad dream. I'm not sure whose idea it was to pair up a leopard and a lamb for this job (Wouldn't it have been more biblically correct to use a lion and a lamb?) but they've been partners for a number of years now, so it seems to be working. Of course they don't have to do the whole night alone. My daughter has almost 100 Webkinz, and each night 4 reinforcements are brought in to sleep in the bed. When we travel, a team of six come with us, thus leaving no room in my daughter's backpack for anything else. It also provides plenty of entertainment for airport security, as every time the backpack goes through the x-ray machine it looks like we're smuggling puppies.

Which Webkinz get to join Mowgli and Lambchop on each trip is a matter to be decided by the charts. The birthday charts in particular. My daughter has a chart that lists every one of her Webkinz birthdays. If one has a birthday while we're going to be gone, they get to come with us. The rest of the spots on a trip are filled via some elaborate algorithm that I don't even pretend to understand. With all of these complex systems in place, the only birthday that routinely gets forgotten about is mine. Somehow I need to get on that chart.

Pascal's birthday was while we were on the Disney Cruise - lucky chameleon.

Leapy - Center Court at the Clippers
They don't just come for night duty though. My daughter likes to bring a Webkinz with her wherever we're going. Different animals have been to hockey, baseball, and basketball games, ice shows, Broadway plays, and concerts. In fact, if we're going somewhere that my daughter has no interest in, the stuffy might watch more of the event than my daughter will. Ask "Leapy" how he enjoyed the LA Clippers game. While I imagine you'll get very little information out of him, I'm guessing my daughter can tell you about the same amount, since she spent the entire game watching movies on her iPad (she did look up whenever they came out to shoot t-shirts into the crowd).

Blackberry & the girls at Universal Florida
Creative naming strikes again!
My daughter long ago stopped needing her stuffies for comfort, but it's kind of a fun tradition now. Every night I tuck her in and say goodnight by name to each of the animals who are along with us. Remembering each of the hundred Webkinz names is tough (I don't have a chart) but fortunately when my daughter was younger she didn't have too much creativity when it came to naming things. If you can't remember the name of the black cat, you'll probably do pretty well throwing out a guess like "Blacky". The newer additions are much more complicated, as they're starting to be named after random Disney sitcom characters, which is making my job much harder. Still it's a nice tradition, and I imagine when my daughter stops traveling with us I'll miss the game. On the other hand, at least I'll stop losing my first class upgrades to a leopard and a lamb.