"No, not that one! You mom got that one for her last Easter. Remember?" The Husband throws the floppy-eared bunny back in the "Keepers" pile. He holds up the next one and I almost scream.
"No way! I got that one in my Congratulations basket from my old job after having Buttercup."
The Husband rolls his eyes at me but tosses the pink lion in the keep pile and moves on to the next one.
Another Pink Floppy Bunny. "Heidi and Justin, baby shower."
Santa Claus. "Madrina Elma. Christmas. Two years ago."
Winnie-the-Pooh. "My mom gave it to me and I gave it to Buttercup."
A fluffy dog in a winter hat. "My mom. It was one of those charity purchases."
Two hand puppets. "Pati got those for her at IKEA this year."
A zebra. "That's a $60 stuffed animal I got for free when I was reviewing crap, it's fair trade and organic. That bad boy stays put until she obliterates it."
A fuzzy-maned lion in red heart pajamas. "Are you fucking crazy? That's the one I got you for your 26th birthday that you passed on to her! We can't get rid of that one."
"You have a memory attached to every single one of these stuffed animals," The Husband says. "And by the way, when did I pass on Mr. Lion to Buttercup, because I don't remember doing that."
"You passed on Mr. Lion when Mr. Lion got tired of being in a tote in the basement," I says, indignant. "And I do not have a memory attached to every single stuffed animal. See?" I motion across the room. "I got rid of a few because I had no idea who got them for her."
"You got rid of three stuffed animals and think you succeeded at thinning out the zoo of stuffed animals that she never plays with? This? Is progress?"
I sigh, fast running out of any arguments. I've already tried pointing out that I didn't buy 90 percent of the stuffed friends she has. Buttercup boasts ownership of the entire Backyardigans collection, the Ni-Hao Kai Lan crew, The Wonder Pets, Dora and Boots, and Diego, along with half of the Disney channel, thanks to my sister, Pati and my mom. My weakness is the Build-a-Bear workshop and an excuse to relive my own childhood through my daughter. And because she was a super-good girl in her swimming lesson and overcame her fear of putting her face in the water, I decided she deserved a new friend and that her new friend deserved the dignity of an outfit.
She came home with a Fourth of July Hello Kitty. The Husband took one look at the receipt and told me to get rid of $50 worth of her old (read: ignored) stuffed animals. I've been at it for two hours now while her cousin keeps her busy downstairs and only come up with half of a garbage bag because I can't seem to part with any item that I can state the when, where, and why of the gift-receiving details.
The Husband knows this and he's tired of watching me torture myself, so he's decided to be The Heavy. After me through a trial-run of the entire collection and managing to only get me to agree to one "Toss" for a generic teddy bear I couldn't match to a memory, he is now ruthlessly going through the pile again and tossing animal into both the "Keeper" and the "Toss" piles so fast I can barely keep up. Until I see Pink Floppy Bunny.
"What the hell, Dude! That one is sacred!"
He raises an eyebrow. "She never touches it."
"So what! Look, she never touches this one, either." I hold up a backpack that's made to look like a dog. "She got it last year from a woman I barely know who came to her birthday party and she's never touched it. And more importantly, I won't miss it."
I take a deep breathe, as if about to negotiate for the release of a hostage.
"I'll trade you the dog backpack for Pink Floppy Bunny." It's a good deal. Pink Floppy Bunny is three years old. Dog Backpack is brand new and practically re-giftable. He'd be a fool not to take it.
"You've resorted to trading for Buttercup's stuffed animals?" The Husband now has tears in his eyes from laughing. While I can feel my lips twitching, I refuse to break until I know Pink Floppy Bunny is out of harm's way.
"We're not trading. We're negotiating."
"Oh God, that's worse." The Husband throws Pink Floppy Bunny at me as he walks out of Buttercup's room with the bag of the Condemned. "But you better watch it. Pink Floppy Bunny gets it the minute Hello Kitty's sister crosses our threshold."
I stay silent, momentarily focused on formulating a plan to keep the rabbit safe whenever the time comes and...
"And hey," The Husband interrupts my thoughts. "Get a life."