Monday, August 8, 2011

Buzzy, not Buddy

I'd like to introduce you to a friend of ours:


That's Buzzy. He has a story -- don't we all? -- that took an innocent twist today.

Before our son was born, Becky entered a give-away contest and won. A few weeks later, a box came in the mail with a stuffed giraffe and some giraffe-print baby clothes. We had already decided to go with a giraffe theme for Henry's room, so you can imagine our excitement at the surprise prize being a giraffe.

As soon as it was safe for Henry to sleep with a stuffed animal, in went the giraffe. As soon as he could walk, the giraffe was rarely outside his reach. And when the first few words came tumbling out of his mouth, "Buzz-EE" was what we heard.

Buzzy has been with us as we flew to Phoenix. He took the train with us to Denver. He's been to Minneapolis and Washington, D.C.

He's been sneezed on, sat on, and loved on.

Buzzy's story isn't unique. We all have that someone like him.

Today, as Henry and I were getting ready for nap time, we went through one of my favorite rituals: the hunting of the Buzzman. I pick Henry up and sit him on my hip. Then, we walk all around the house calling out, "BuZZy! BUUzzy!" We always end up finding him "sleeping" on the floor in some room. I drop Henry down like the crane in the claw game you've all wasted quarters on trying to satisfy your kids (or yourselves.) Henry didn't know what to think the first time I did it, but now he smiles as soon as we start and calls out, too.

What was interesting was that today, when Henry called out, what I heard wasn't "Buzzy." It was "Buuuuddy."

I put the thought aside when we spotted him on the floor. We picked him, went to Henry's room and I rocked him to sleep.

I couldn't shake it, though. Was Buzzy really Buddy?

I got to thinking about first impressions and how lasting they can be.

With school starting up in the next few days or weeks for most of us, this point doesn't need to be sugar-coated:

Be careful not to lock in first impressions. 

I'll be meeting sixty-five 11- and 12-year-olds in the next week or so. Their first impressions of me and mine of them must be malleable. It's a long school year.

As for Buzzy -- or Buddy, whoever he is -- he's safe in my son's arms. Whether I had him pegged wrong from the start doesn't matter. Henry knew right where he needed to be.

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