of banana pillows and bouncy dolls


{image is a photo of Brooke’s Christmas list, detailed below.}

Christmas List

1. brand new PlayMobile

2. Banana Pillow

3. Really big bouncy doll

4. Rainbow ribbon

5. Dora Kit / set

6. Soccer ball

7. Giant Fire truck to ride in

8. Dora Soccer figurens

9. Characters I like Stickers

10. Huge Dinosaur

11, Ballerina doll

12, Balloons to blow up

13. Book

14. Kai lan basket

15. plane

I’m going to start by saying that what follows is in no way, shape, nor form a complaint but rather a tongue in cheek look at some of the more esoteric gifts that have made it onto my kid’s wish list over the years.

I say that because I need you to know that no matter how outlandish the requests, or how outlandish my efforts to fulfill (some of) them, I will never, ever complain. Because I remember.

In 2011, I wrote the following:

I understand that to some it may sound absurdly overindulgent to commission a professional costume designer to make a stuffed animal for a child. I understand that many of those same people may also think it somewhat inappropriate to be buying Sesame Street characters and Teletubbies for a nearly nine year-old girl.

If you are among them, please feel free.

But I remember, you see. I remember the days when for the life of me I couldn’t tell whether or not my daughter had the foggiest idea that it *was* Christmas. I remember staying as far away from Santa as we could. I remember escaping the room after opening a present or two, hiding in the stairway, rocking my overwhelmed girl. I remember Katie asking if we’d be back soon.

And I remember going through the motions year after year after year, asking her what she might like as a gift. I remember trying so hard to find the right words, to put them in the right order to make them accessible to her, to unlock the mystery.

I remember getting tantalizingly close –

“Hey Brooke, what do you think you might want to get as a present for Christmas this year?”

“I would get a present in a box.”

“Yes! And when you open it what would you like it to be?”

“I’ll open the box.”

“Yes, baby, and what do you want to be inside the box?”

“The present.”

I remember yearning to know what my little girl wanted, what she hoped for, what she coveted, what, if anything, she dreamed of finding under the tree. I remember watching and calculating and guessing and, sometimes, spectacularly failing.

I remember, and because I do, I will never, ever take a list for granted.

I will, however, inevitably find it funny.

Because, you see, along with the timeless requests – the books, the dinosaurs, the stickers and the ballerinas, there’s always a little something extra. And it’s always, always a challenge.

Like the year that she wanted a Fire Chicken Boots.


{image is a screenshot of Dora’s Halloween movie in which Boots can’t decide whether he wants to be a chicken or a fire fighter and thus, decides to be both.}


{image is a photo of Boots the Monkey dressed in a chicken costume and wearing a fireman hat.}

Or the year that she wanted a Jesus doll. I mean, not a “Jesus” doll per se, but a Victor Garber as Jesus in Godspell doll. Ya know, like this ..


{image is a photo of Victor Garber in Godspell}


{image is a photo of Brooke’s Victor Garber as Jesus doll. Right.}


{image is a photo of Brooke giving Jesus the first of millions of kisses.}

Or the following year, when she asked for his pal Mary Magdalene. Or, well, Joanne Jonas in Godspell as the character that Brooke calls Mary Magdalene. You still with me?


{image is a photo of Joanne Jonas in Godspell}


{image is a photo of Brooke carrying her new Joanne Jonas in Godspell as the character she calls Magdalene doll.}


{image is a photo of Brooke introducing Mary to Jesus. As an aside, I adore this photo for a thousand reasons that have nothing to do with this post.}

Or the time that she asked for the Oinker Sisters. What, you don’t know the Oinker Sisters? Fear not; I’m here to help.


{image is a photo of the Oinker Sisters, three singing pigs on Sesame Street.}

Et voila ..


{image is a photo of Miss Kimmerie’s amazing rendering of said Oinker Sisters}

Or Elizabeth. You know … Elizabeth ..


{image is a photo of Elizabeth from Sesame Street with her cat, Murray Sparkles}


{image is a photo of Elizabeth, also brought to life by Miss Kimmerie. And yes, she does have Murray Sparkles, but I think I’d have seriously tested Luau’s our photographer’s patience if I’d asked him to go find the cat.}

Oh, and then of course there was the giant potato, for which Brooke asked our babysitter, Julie. And Julie, well, she MADE this.


{image is a photo of the giant potato that Julie made for Brooke. Luau thought it would be helpful to put a stick of butter on it for scale. Yes, that’s a real stick of butter. Yes, that thing is actually that big.}

I trust that you get the idea.

So when she handed me her list last night, I can’t say that I was surprised to find that she was hoping for both a banana pillow and a “big, bouncy doll.” When I asked what she meant by a banana pillow, she looked at me as though I had three heads and said, “A pillow. That is a banana.” When I asked what she meant by a bouncy doll, she said, “A doll. That’s bouncy like my peanut.” She might as well have added, “Duh, mom.”

I’ve finally learned not to panic. Because inevitably, either Santa, eBay, or Kimmerie comes through.

This time, it was China. For $12.94 cents. Behold, banana pillows. Yes, really. Apparently, they’re a thing, And in 6-10 days, there will be one in my house. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a banana with a stemmy thingy quite that pronounced, but hey, it’s all good, China, it’s all good.


{image is a photo of two banana pillows. Seriously; they’re pillows shaped exactly like bananas. I know.}

As for the bouncy doll, well, that might be a little trickier. I mean, lots of them came up in my google search, and they’re plenty big and definitely bouncy, but I’m pretty sure this isn’t  really what she meant. At least I hope not.


{image is a photo of Judy, billed on her package as “The Inflatable Friend.” Sorry, Judy, but no. Great eye shadow though.}

Luckily, Santa’s got 43 more days to figure it out.

19 thoughts on “of banana pillows and bouncy dolls

  1. 🙂 I have folks that think its strange that my son gets legos and pvc pipes and pipe fittings for christmas -he loves making things with both 🙂 – may even see if we can find an old car starter (he loves to take things apart ) we are even making him a pipe tree this year(pipes in different sizes glued to a board – his daddy is gonna drill holes in the back to run lights in it ) my son and his (nt) twin sister are 12 🙂 -I love your posts

  2. This post absolutely made my day! I don’t see fulfilling her list as indulgent AT ALL! I see it as making magic BROOKE’S way. While it may sometimes take some effort and some great imagination, the end result (evidenced by Brooke’s face with the Jesus and Magdalene dolls) is SO worth it!

  3. My son gets painters tape for Christmas every year and every year it is his favorite gift. Do you have a photo of the bouncy peanut – cause maybe one of your readers will have an idea for the bouncy doll if we knew more about the peanut. lol You are an awesome mom.

  4. That “I would get a present in a box” conversation? That’s where we are this year. My girl will be 5 next month. Honestly, if she said she wanted a banana pillow, even if she said that she wanted Playmobil, all I would know would be that I didn’t know exactly what she was picturing or meaning. I shall be using a lot of guesswork for both her birthday and then, a week later, Christmas.

  5. When I read banana pillow, I immediately thought of the Banana prize at Six Flags for the past hundred years. He has dreadlocks and maybe a hat? Just wondering if she might have seen him in the past? (I don’t want her to be disappointed!)

    Here’s the link:

  6. Literally laughing out loud in my office at the “bouncy doll” photo and comment. This totally made my headache go away. Thank you!

  7. I tell my son (16, on the spectrum) of the year he asked for a “motor ramp”. Like you, I continued to ask questions, and got a lot of cryptic (at least, to me) answers in return. Well, after searching high and low, I settled for a racetrack with a loop/ramp. He opened it, looked at it, and we yelled “it’s a motor ramp!” He exclaimed with glee “a motor ramp” and went with it…big thankful “whew!” on that one!! All this to say…I feel your pain and joy in searching for those gifts!! Carry on, mama!

  8. I know the feeling. Q will see an old show on TV and want the truck or that what ever it may be. Toy Story is the best or worst depending on what it is he wants. The pizza truck was the hardest and most expensive. He wanted a Mr. Spell one year. Ya right. It was never a real thing but I did find a little toy Mr. Spell figure in a large package of other stuff. Bought it…he was happy. That’s really all that matters sometimes anyway, to see the smile and excitement. All worth the search and $ . Bouncy doll – too much 🙂

  9. I just had to say that I love her list and your blog! I have an 18 year old daughter, recently diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. I love that you’re bringing attention to girls on the spectrum as I think we could have had my daughter diagnosed sooner if there was more information about girls. Instead she was diagnosed with “developmental encephalopathy”, visual/spatial motor issues, and a learning disability in math at age 6. All that sounds kind of a lot, but she is a super smart, adorable girl…gifted in writing,etc. This diagnosis has really been what she (and we) needed and she is actually thrilled to know that this is the reason she is the “way she is”. 🙂 Some of your posts about your daughter remind me in some ways so much of mine. Thanks for writing!

  10. I absolutely love your blog!! Thank you for writing. This has been one of my favorites! My daughter is 7 and on the spectrum. She just recently started figuring out she can ask for presents and I’m so excited to see what she comes up with!! For her birthday in March she asked for a “bird park”. I finally figured out she wanted bird houses, bird feeders, bird bath etc so she could bird watch in our yard. Aren’t our kids the coolest?!?

  11. As always, you made me laugh and cry within a five minute period of time! You always leave me with hope. I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old on the spectrum. Your stories of a younger Brooke remind me of what I am going through with my 4 year old son right now. We love Christmas and are big on making it a magical family holiday. I had many grand dreams of how special I would make Christmas for my kiddos before I had two non-verbal boys on the spectrum. I still have those dreams, and I still work to make my visions suitable to my boys’ needs. Everyone comments on how many toys my kiddos have, but this is what happens when you buy toy after toy hoping that they will connect with and play with one appropriately! I dream of the day my kiddos can tell me what they want for their birthdays or Christmas, and I promise to never forget these days when they finally send me on wild goose chases for the perfect gift! ❤ Thank you for sharing. You and your family's story has touched our family, and given us great hope and new perspective on this journey! ❤

  12. Pingback: christmas 2014 | a diary of a mom

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