For the last few days [see: weeks], ALL I have been wanting is random toys and doo-dads from my childhood. I’m talking Nano Puppies, original airings of Are You Afraid of the Dark?, the plastic Chicken Nuggets that came with HappyMeals (McIdiot), and GameBoy Color with Pokemon Red, Blue, AND Yellow. I am attributing this reminiscent longing to my Christmas vacay, which was doubly extended due to the NYC SNOWPOCALYPSE, where I was able to dig through a box of my early elementary school projects and papers, most covered with stickers, doodles, and “Stop doodling on your schoolwork!” notes in red ink from my teacher. The thing I desire most of all, however, is not a Yak Bak or a pack of Gelly Roll pens. It is something much more.
Puppy Surprise was THE DEAL in Miss Ankney’s 1992 Kindergarten Class (Room 102, if you’re interested). Naturally my kindergarten boytoy, P.J., wasn’t a big fan, but the girls were bonkers over these lil guys. Why wouldn’t you be? It’s a giant stuffed toy (albeit a bit creepy with the hard plastic head) with MORE TOYS INSIDE?!?!?11!!?! Hi. iWant you. iWant lots of you.
With Puppy or Kitty (or as my inner horse-people tended to favor, Pony) Surprise, the belly was filled with either 3, 4, or 5 babies inside a velcro-sealed pouch. How many would you get?? If you’re lucky, you’d get four. If you were REALLY lucky and extremely cool, you’d get five. If you had no luck at all and were completely average, you got three babies. I fell into the latter category, repeatedly. My first puppy surprise was white with brown polka dots, and had three little “puppies” in it’s belly. I was fine with the three pups, as I was a first time mother at the ripe age of 5. I took it with me to school, since we were allowed one toy at nap time (EXCEPT I HAD 4 TOYS IN ONE. SUCK IT.). I’d meet up with my Room 102 best friend, Meghan, we’d lay on our nap time cots, and pull out our puppies. I was proud to show off my three bouncing baby pups, but when my counterpart revealed HER surprise, FIVE PUPS, I immediately felt unlucky, uncool, and embarrassed. I’d turn over on my cot as not to face her, cuddling my three little puppies with Momma Puppy Surprise overlooking us all as I’d lay for the next half hour, pretending to sleep.
I can’t remember how, but I ended up losing this first Puppy Surprise (I’m guessing because it was brown, since every little girl cares for her pink things more than her brown things. Duh. 90s.), and it was replaced with the classic PINK Puppy Surprise. This was it. This was MY CHANCE for redemption! This one even felt heavier — she looked more puppy preggers! She had to have more than three puppies in that velcro snatch of hers. Fuck it. FAIL! Epic 1992 Fail: THREE PUPPIES. Yet again, with a toy that most people only buy once, that I was lucky enough to get two of, I am stuck with the oh-so-common triplet result. It wasn’t even a surprise at this point. It was just Puppy. I got over the initial shock of my prototypical new toy, and loved those three little bean-stuffed pups, and their pink fuzzy momma Pup until they were nothing more than stuffed lumps, black and brown from dirt, crusty from my naptime drools, and splattered with yellow paint chunks from the day i dragged Momma Pup by her tail across the art supplies table.
I’m not so sure why I want one of these so desperately. Maybe I have an inferiority complex rooting in being stuck with my run-of-the-mill Puppy Surprise while my kindergarten BFF was granted a prize worthy rarity, and I secretly want the satisfaction of discovering five little munchkin puppies in a tender velcro womb. Perhaps I want the admiration and envy of those who out-Puppied me in my past. Don’t know, don’t care. iWant.
To add to the childishness of my desires, here is the source of my current ceramic cat envy: The beautiful and innovative Clare Connolly (see: Not Me.), living the Kitty Surprise Dream.
Au Revoir, suckaz.