Back in the days before blogging when we were a family of 3, I sent a mass email to my friends and family. At the time Alexander had just turned 1 and we were living in Madison, WI. We miss many things about Madtown, and the mega grocery and liquor store Woodman’s is at the top of the list. Don’t judge, especially if you’ve never been there. Oh how we took for granted the ease of purchasing fresh cheese curds, brat burgers, New Glarus Spotted Cow, and Wollershime (everything).
(See email below)
March 29, 2006
Parents will do just about anything for their kids. Here’s the story. In our grocery store (uh, I mean the wine section) is a stuffed animal black sheep. He is the mascot for Le Grand Noir wine and has been on display for quite some time. Apparently le grand noir is French slang meaning Black Sheep. In any case, my son has fallen in love with this black sheep. We make frequent visits to him, even when I’m not buying wine. (how often is that?) One might think that with the nursery rhyme baa baa black sheep that it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a stuffed animal black sheep to buy, especially with the internet. Folks, it doesn’t exist. The closest I have been able to find is a little baby black sheep (always sold out), and a scary Mama black sheep (who’s not really black) with a horrid face. All others are either gray, or white. The grocery store isn’t willing to sell their black sheep (yes I asked) and I can’t find the winery contact information to inquire directly to them. I’m asking, admittedly with embarrassment, for you all to keep your eyes open for a stuffed animal black sheep that resembles the attached photo. Yes, I did take a photo of him and looked like a dork, I’m sure.
---Jen (and Alexander)
Nowadays there are more options for finding a black sheep stuffed animal, but back then, I had friends and family all over the country on a search. One day, I went to Woodman’s and a staff member pulled me aside. On his own he had ordered me another black sheep through the distributer and I could take him home!
Needless to say, I was stunned and Alexander loved that sheep. As time went on, black sheep fell out of favor, as most toys eventually do and he went into storage. Many times through the years I nearly got rid of him. He takes up a lot of space and is scary looking, but I couldn’t do it. He held too much of my first born’s love.
A few weeks ago as I dragged out the Halloween decorations, I spotted black sheep and thought, hmm, maybe I could use him. With that large face and spooky eyes, maybe I could put him on the porch or have him peering out of a window, so I brought him up from the basement.
Alexander spotted him and swooped him into his arms like a long lost friend. He hadn’t seen him in years and did not understand why he was so happy to see this large, black sheep. Yet, he lugged “Sheepy” (his new nickname) around for days and he was added to the special stuffed animal friends who help him sleep at night.
Now, Alexander likes (age appropriate) scary things, as do I, but they still bother him from time to time. Once in a while he gets spooked in his bedroom at night and needs to be helped back to bed. If he has a particularly bad dream, Mark usually sleeps in his bed so Alexander can snuggle up with me.
On one such night, Mark was putting the girls to bed and I was still up, downstairs. I found this note on my pillow once I finally turned in, though by then Alexander was out.
It happened again last night. Mark was putting the girls to bed and I had already tucked him in. I heard the unmistakable sound of little feet trying their best to sneak down the stairs.
“Alexander?” I called. “Why are you awake?” He got spooked, he said, so I took him back to bed. Once there I spotted Sheepy on the floor, that big scary looking creature.
I told my son that Sheepy was there to protect him while he slept and would keep the nightmares away. Alexander nodded with the understanding and trust that we have as children about such things. He hugged Sheepy to his side and we had no more trouble last night.
This morning I snuck in to see if Sheepy had been booted out of bed while he slept.
Yes, I know this looks like the scene from The Godfather that coined the phrase, “going to the mattresses.” Yet Sheepy is here for Alexander, not to scare him. He is his sentinel.