Who’s afraid of Lightning McQueen?

Sometime in June, we went to my parents’ house for Sunday supper and they gave a new toy to Philip. Dad told me that he couldn’t resist buying the Lightning McQueen plush toy pictured here.

Philip is a fan of the first “Cars” movie. I think he is still too young to take to the theater to see the sequel that released this summer. “Cars II” has inspired a whole new line of merchandise including this toy. I think Philip would really like playing with this soft toy except for one problem.

It talks.

According to Dad, the toy activated every time they hit a bump in the road on the drive home from the store. We chuckled about how we probably would be hearing a lot from the toy. My dad showed Philip the car and pushed it so that it would emit one of its eight catchphrases. Philip squinted his eyes closed. After the second demonstration, he backed away. Philip has been scared of it ever since.

After the egg-smashing incident, we decided to take advantage of this fear. We put Lightning McQueen on a kitchen counter in the hopes that it will keep Philip out of the drawers underneath. So far it is working. When Philip goes to the fridge to grab some milk, he gives the counter a wide berth, often peering cautiously in Lightning’s direction to make sure he is still in the same spot and not any closer than the last time.

We honestly aren’t trying to torture our son with something that he fears. We occasionally pick the toy up and show it to him, speaking soothing words to let him know it isn’t going to hurt him. Still, if we accidentally bump the toy or have to move it and it talks, Philip cringes and tries to get as far away as possible.

Philip no longer trusts non-talking Lightning McQueen items either. We saw a cute chair at Wal-Mart (similar to this) and thought it would be perfect for him. I took it off the shelf to show him, but he scrunched up in his seat in the shopping cart. Every time we go to Wal-Mart, I go by the chair to try to get him accustomed to it. Each time, he clings to me. And this thing doesn’t even talk.

Saturday night while shopping, we decided to pick up a new dog toy for Roscoe. Unfortunately, Roscoe can’t distinguish which toys are his and which belong to Philip.The same can be said for Philip. Roscoe often gnaws own Philip’s stuffed animals, and Philip has been known to pick up Roscoe’s bone and carry it around. We usually catch him before he puts it in his mouth. Therefore, we decided that Roscoe needed his own new plush toy. We picked one out that squeaks. Peter showed it to Philip and squeezed it.

Philip was afraid.

The good news is that Philip has no desire to play with Roscoe’s new toy. The bad news is that he stares at it suspiciously, so much that I had to put it out of sight yesterday so that Philip would relax.I know that Philip will probably outgrow all of these fears. I think of how scared he was of the bug toys my brother’s family bought him for Christmas after he first unwrapped them. Now he plays with them without a second thought. And then there is Scout, the talking dog toy. He ran away from him, too, at first, but Scout was a source of comfort when he got sick back in March.

For now, Lightning will continue to hang out in the kitchen. Maybe some day, probably when we aren’t looking, Philip will work up the courage to pick up the toy. And soon, I’ll be complaining that he won’t stop playing with it.


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