Friday, January 15, 2016

Once upon a time there was a little toy penguin named Tango...

Once upon a time there was a little toy penguin named Tango.
He and Olivia were inseparable.  They went everywhere together... They've been around the world (well almost).

It makes me a little sad that Olivia isn't as reliant on Tango anymore.  I'm also happy that she's not.  For a while Tango was an extension of Olivia's personality.  She and Tango were the same.  Tango allowed Olivia to be a bit more sociable and outgoing through him.  Mind you she does shove Tango in people's faces... not sure I am exactly a fan of that .

So who is Tango?
Tango is a small stuffed penguin that Larry found in one of his offices.  There was also an American eagle that we named Sam.  Originally Olivia was a bit more attached to Sam and somehow we managed to lose Sam so I kind of forced Tango onto Olivia to try to get her to forget about same (she was under 18 months from memory).  So that was fine.  I do apologize world - I created the monster that is Tango.  It is all my fault.  There is a kid's book named "and Tango makes Three" about two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo who become Dads.  We used to read that book a lot when the girls were younger and when we found the penguin - Tango seemed appropriate.

It's funny as a parent I think you tend to see yourself or wonder about yourself at that age when your children go through it.  I occasionally wonder if I had a toy like Tango that I was attached to and if my parents put up with much as we have with Tango (I shouldn't say put up with but I think most parents can relate to the we have to stop or go back or something because we forgot/left behind/dropped said toy or lovie as they are called here).  I do/did have Theodore E. Bear though - I got him just before I turned 7, he's been by my side pretty much since then even to the point now where he's one of Louise's army of stuffed animals.  Getting back on track...

Tango has been a hoot.  He's been pretty much everywhere Olivia has been, he's pretty much been around the world - there's photos of him in Hawaii, Mauritius, Disneyland.

One unexpected bonus about Tango is that Olivia knows a lot about penguins.  She knows the difference between chinstrap penguins and emperor penguins.  She did go through a phase where if there was anything involving a penguin she either a) had to have it or b) had to know about it.  She's growing out of it a little bit but still if there's something involving penguins it will spark an interest.

One of the other things that has always amazed me about Olivia and Tango is how realistic she has been about him.  He went missing for a while (about 3 months), he was put in another girls bag by mistake and he was in there for the whole time.  After being upset for the first couple of days, she did get very real about it all "oh he'll turn up" - mind you Larry and I did scour the Internet trying to find another penguin that looked exactly like Tango.

Things started to change when Olivia started Montessori last January.  The Montessori didn't allow the kids to have comfort toys unless it was rest time.  This was both good and bad.  It was good in that did allow Olivia to be herself, which I think may have also been helped by the fact that her and Louise were in separate classes.  The bad is that a little part of Olivia that is Tango started to disappear some of the magic was ending.

What has changed can change again.
Olivia and Tango are inseparable once more.  Tango spends the day in her school bag and comes out to play when I pick the girls up in the afternoon.  She still sleeps with him, he still goes pretty much everywhere with us.

A couple of years ago I promised Olivia that I would take her to Central Park Zoo so she could see the real Tango.  I emailed the zoo keepers to see if Tango was still there.  They were quite lovely and emailed me back - unfortunately Tango is no longer around, she died.  Now I will admit that I am a bit of an emotional person at times but this did make me cry.  I found the email again a couple of months ago because for some reason I got in my head that Tango was in a zoo in Pennsylvania and I said to Liv that I would try to find out.  So I find the email again and I'm crying again.  I worry that telling Olivia that Tango is dead is probably going to be more shattering to her than finding out that Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny are all me (I still think she suspects).  However I have promised that we will go to Central Park and see Roy and Silo in the Spring.  These penguins have been so important to Olivia (and us) for a long time its probably about time that we did go see them.