When Youngest Son was a year and three quarters, he LOVED elephants. “'Phunts!” he would shout, and stick his arm up alongside his head, sway it like a trunk, and make a big elephant sound.
Amongst the presents under the tree that year was a toy workbench, complete with hammer, a King Babar stuffed animal, and one of those animated toys, an elephant which would walk a few steps forward, stop, raise its trunk, and bellow.
Youngest Son opened the workbench first, and delightedly went around banging the hammer on everything in sight.
He then opened the animated elephant. We had already put batteries in, and my husband reached under it to turn it on. It happened to be in the “bellow” point in its walk-stop-raise-bellow cycle. It was pointed right toward Youngest Son, and it bellowed, loudly. Youngest Son shrieked and started to cry. We had to banish the animated elephant immediately (and it stayed banished for a couple of years – everytimg we brought it out Y.S. would get upset again).
We calmed Y.S. down, and returned to opening presents. The toy hammer was on the floor next to him as he opened King Babar. He immediately shrieked, grabbed the hammer, and cloncked King Babar on the head.
(I have to tell you that hubby and I could not help but laugh, loudly and longly, over this poor child’s terror upon being confronted with the King of the Elephants. No doubt it is the first memory he has to share with his therapist some day!)
Babar was banished too.
Y.S. is now nine and three quarters, and enjoys hearing this story. And, amazingly enough, after that Christmas he STILL loved “'phunts.” Just not those two.