So I was introduced to Build A Bear last summer. My friend Dawn got suckered into buying them by her kids. They were getting ready to move and she couldn't say no. So like eighty ridiculous dollars later her kids went home with their Build a Bears. I thought she was nuts but gave her a break because if my kids were bummed out about moving I just might have a weak moment too.
That was eight months ago. We don't spend much time at the mall, but over Christmas we saw Santa at the mall and walked by Build A Bear. The girls were wide eyed and all excited at the sight of this store. I quickly shot down their Build A Bear dreams by telling them that we don't go to that store, we don't spend crazy amounts of money on stuffed animals...sorry. They never talked about it agian.
Well last month Maya was invited to a Build A Bear birthday party. I was very nervous. I even called my friend Ashley (who knows all things Build A Bear). I ask..."Do I have to send money with Maya? Who buys the animal?" She assured me that who ever the "parent of the year" was who allowed this party would be kind enough to buy one for each of the kids. I couldn't beieve it! I went to Build A Bear the next day to see for myself what this was all about. I saw the small $10 animals and thought okay, Maya will just get one of these. This store isn't so bad.
So I tell Maya before she goes to the party...Do not ask for a big animal and don't ask for any clothes for the animal.
She comes back with like the biggest animal they sell, it was a monkey, she named him Bananas. She also had sunglasses and a hat for it. I was mortified! "How much did that cost?!" I was thinking to myself. But before I could say anything, Maya assured me that all the kids picked out the same size and got to pick out two things for their animal. Lucky Maya. Crazy birthday parents who have made the rest of us feel like cheap loser parents...anyway.
Eden, the poor left out little sister, is handling this pretty well. But as the days go on we can see how badly she wants a Buld A Bear. Well I told her that if she saves her allowance she can go buy one. She had gotten some Valentine's money from her grandparents so she was already almost half way there. After about three weeks she had enough money. She was so excited to go and get her very own Build A Bear. Unfortunately I was sick and not really feeling up to a trip to the mall. A couple nights went by and Eden was trying to be patient, but then on Tuesday night she was hiding Bananas in her bed because she needed something to sleep with. (Because the 307 dolls/animals on her bed didn't count)So Aric and I decided we would go the next day. So here is Edee's Build A Bear experience...
She picks out a dog...yes, a dog. The kid who is deathly afraid of dogs picks one out. It was twelve dollars, one of the cheaper ones, so we're off to a good start. But then the girl that works there starts pushing the "add ons" asking Eden "Do you want your doggy to bark?" (extra $5) Uh NO WAY! That's just what we need, a barking dog to wake her up in the middle of the night! "Do you want it to have a heart beat?" Again NO THANKS! She already thinks it's alive, I don't need to spend 5 bucks to make it even more alive. Luckily Eden is very agreeable because she has anticipated this moment for so long. And it was finally here, the most important part of the Build A Bear process...making a wish (on the free, no noise making heart) and puts it inside of her dog.
Phew...we made it to the stuffing machine with out any "add ons". So far so good.
Eden helps stuff her dog and washes him off.
Then the fun begins...picking out an outfit that costs as much if not more than the outfits I buy for my own children that are actually alive and human. Aric and I told the girls that we would buy the outfits. But when we realized how much they cost, we said they could only pick out a top and a bottom. They don't need shoes...they don't walk...right? And they certainly don't need a pretend MP3 player.
I tried so hard to steer Eden to some of the cuter outfits but she insisted on this one. Rhinestones and all. Oh well, it is her animal. And we did make her save her tiny 4 yr old allowance for it. So I backed off.
So my sweet Eden (who channels Cindy Lauper when she gets dressed) was the happiest kid on the planet. Maya (who got a "modest" swimming suit for Bananas) was a good sport and was really excited for her sister.
And there you have it. I have been converted to Build-A-Bear...because:
(A) My kids actually care about doing their jobs (so they can earn more money)
(B) They don't have as many fits (because if they do they lose their money)
(C) Stuffed animals are way better than Barbies...WAY better.
(D) My girls love playing together with their animals.
Having said that you will still never see me hosting a birthday party there...I like my mediocre parent status and I'm too cheap.