This was Nicky’s plaintive call at 4:30am in the morning.
“Nicky, I don’t know where your zebra is, can we not just go back to sleep?”
“Zee-bra!” rather insistently now.
(If you’re wondering why he is saying it with an American accent, it is all our fault. We let him play Goodnight Safari too many times on the IPad and he has learnt the pronunciation that way. Sigh.)
“Okay, Nicky, let’s go look for your Zee-bra.” I admit defeat both in the accent and for loss of my sleep.
Nicky takes turns in enjoying various objects of affection, and right now Zee-bra has pride of place. He got lost round about the same time we found his lego “man” so that was a relief.
Picture me walking around the Randburg Wholesale Market (fruit and veg shop) while Nicky cries for his zebra. I thought he might have dropped it when we walked in so we looked around. A fruitless task.
It was in the car all along. After he was found again this toy was in favour again. Zee-bra was initially bought as part of my efforts to teach him the alphabet ( Z for Zebra) but Nicky grabbed him before he could go back in the box.
We traipse in the semi darkness to the lounge. I know his zebra is there. Nicky likes to line up all his cars in a row and also likes to place lots of things (ie smaller cars and animals) on top. So Zee-bra is sitting next to the upturned red truck, along with other small toys who were enjoying the ride.
I’m still pretty tired but my mind is turning over as I try (unsuccessfully) to get Nicky back to sleep. I start remembering that time I was a Grade One teacher and did zebra biome boxes with my pupils. I start talking to Nicky about zebras, how they like to eat long grass, run on their toes and how each have unique patterned stripes. I take him to my laptop and pull up my notes and pictures and read them to him. I show him the life cycle. The sun shines on the grass, the zebra eats the grass, the lion eats the zebra and then the vultures eat the lion. We start looking at pictures, and then I hit on the great idea to show him YouTube videos of zebras.
I found an amazing long video about how the zebra migrates across Botswana and let him watch it while I get going on breakfast and getting him dressed. I really liked the way it did show the life cycle – there were lots of lions and vultures.
The only bad part was when a stallion killed a newborn zebra. This isn’t something I could ever understand, but the narrator explained that the kid was not his and therefore would not get his protection.
When nap time came he needed Zee-bra and a car before he could go to sleep.
When we went to bed, it had to be fetched from the car where it had been left.
I think this close relationship with a plastic toy is special. It is amazing to watch how he prefers spiky plastic to a soft toy to comfort him. He loves cars and certain animals. I think these objects of affection play a special role at this age, and it is a privilege to watch this play out, apart from those times when it has to be so early in the morning….
Update on things:
-Nicky can say “raff” = Giraffe and “phant” = Elephant. He can say dinosaur now.
-Potty training … is just not going well at all. A few steps forward and a few back. He manages well out of the house.
-He likes to pull of all his clothes and “dump” on the trampoline. Then I must “dump” with him, and sing. I must jump over him until he says “dop!”
-My diet… well … I’ve kind of altered it a bit and kept what I liked, but no carbs and four potions of protein at night is getting old so I’ve changed that a bit. I’ve kept all the snacks, and I love the lunch of 3 beans chili and mashed potato.
– Laura and I are working hard on making the #JoziMeetup a super event and I’m looking forward to Saturday!
Oh, and today we lost both the zebra and the man. Fun times. But I managed to distract him with a car.
Cars are still very much in favour.
What kind of objects of affection has your child had?