The New Otter on the Block

Posted: February 20th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Bargains, City Livin', Husbandry, Miss Kate | 2 Comments »

I realize most American kids probably don’t have sea otter stuffed animals. But in the Bay Area kids eat goat cheese not Kraft Singles, and sea otters are as a common a sight in stuffed animal menageries as stepstools are in family bathrooms.

The reason we’re all hopped up on otters has nothing to do with Otter Pops–which, don’t get me wrong, totally rock. It’s more about the beasties’ local presence here, of course. And for anyone who hasn’t had the nature-lovin’ luck of seeing the ridiculously adorable things frollicking in the chilly Pacific drink, chances are they’ve been to one of the sea otter feedings at the tremendous Monterey Aquarium.

It’s the place where Mark and I are always so blindly overcome with crazy sea otter love we’re elbowing young innocents out of the way so we can get a better look. Aside from their whiskery teddybear-like rolly polly playful cuteness, watching them eat–lying on their backs munching food that’s clamped between their front paws–is so insanely delightful it could melt even Charles Manson’s heart.

God, it’s good clean fun.

How can you not stop by the gift store afterwards to bring home the closest approximation to the real thing?

Of course, I got Kate’s stuffed sea otter at a yard sale, but that’s only because my genetic make-up virtually prevents me from shopping at full retail. Or maybe it’s more that I just love a good bargain. But I digress.

So, in the throngs of stuffed animals with whom we reside, Kate decided last night to single out her long-neglected sea otter for some intensive attention and maternal adoration.

Since then–less than 24 hours ago, mind you–I’ve started collecting some of the sea otter data points that Kate’s been imparting to Mark and me. Mark, the dear, has been tenacious about filling me in on any info she’s shared with him that I might’ve possibly missed.

“Do you know my sea otter? My sea otter’s name is Benny.”

“Benny’s last name is MacDonald.”

“Do you know what? Benny has an ear infection and it’s really bad. See? Right there is his ear.”

“Benny got lost at a yard sale. He was running around.”

“Did you know? Benny is a girl.”

“Benny is a boy but doesn’t have a penis. Not all boys have penises, you know.”

” Shhhh… Benny is sleeping now with a friend. Do you know the friend’s name? It’s Benny too. They both have the name Benny, yeah.”

“Benny’s owner said he needs to be combed–his fur.”

“Benny’s owner is named Maria. He got lost and I found him and I thought that I will be his owner.”

“Benny has a purple toothbrush. He doesn’t like it any more.”

It’s hard to know if we’ve just scratched the surface of what we’ll be learning about Benny, or if by sundown he’ll be back on the bottom of a toy bin, wedged between a princess shoe and a ceramic ladybug teapot. Later today I might use up the last tea bag in a box, and that empty vessel could suddenly be thrust to the center of Kate’s pretend universe. That’s just how things roll around here.

Whatever the case, the amount of love, attention, and pretend otter ear drops that have been administered to dear Benny should hold him over for a good long time.


2 Comments on “The New Otter on the Block”

  1. 1 Nell said at 5:52 am on February 21st, 2009:

    Kristen, I couldn’t see the “remodel” either, very glad to catch up with you again!
    As transplants from the Pacific NW, we do indeed have a stuffed sea otter- a puppet, actually. I don’t think it’s related to Benny, but who knows.
    If sea otters remain a love object in your house, I recommend the song “California Sea Otter” by the Banana Slug String Band (from Santa Cruz.) Verrrry catchy. Hope you had a good trip to RI; we’re planning our cross continent summer travel right now!

  2. 2 Lori said at 8:51 pm on February 21st, 2009:

    I am quite intrigued to know where Kate learned about anatomy. I am not familiar with this penis-less boy thing. Although, John just told me he thinks maybe that means Benny is married.

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