He was originally purchased while Julie was pregnant so that he could ride around in my car with me and let me see if I could ever get accustomed to the name "Jasper" in case we had a boy. I couldn't, of course (could you?), but the name stuck, and after a period of rejection by Baby Schuyler, he eventually became one of her most treasured friends. She even insisted on a girlfriend for him. (They have a baby bear, too.)
Julie and Schuyler fell asleep on the big floofy chair in the living room tonight, and at some point, Jasper slipped from Schuyler's grasp and fell to the floor, met by the gaping, slobbery maw of Max, Schuyler's very very very bad little dog. The rest you can probably figure out.
I looked over and saw the tragedy unfolding before it could get very far, and I managed to snatch poor Jasper up and take him to the other room before Schuyler could notice. The damage wasn't horrible, but it was bad enough. Ears chewed, one foot stripped of its fur, and most horribly, an eye completely missing. Jasper had been disfigured to an extent that couldn't be fixed.
Well, this is one of those parenting moments where they don't exactly tell you what you're supposed to do, now isn't it? What's the right thing to do here? Let Schuyler face the ugly truth and see what her nasty little hellhound had done to her best friend? Or run to the mall and pray that the Gap (Jasper's port of origin) would carry another that looked like him and try to slip a new Jasper 2.0 past Schuyler? In general, I am all about letting Schuyler see the world in all its grandness and all its pain at the same time, but tonight, I just couldn't do it. Ten minutes to drive to the mall, five minutes in and out of the store, and a sly switcheroo after she had crawled into bed in which she accepted the doppelgänger under darkened conditions, and the deed was done.
We'll see if it worked in the morning. These little Gap bears all seem to be a little different (lovingly hand-crafted by Chinese slave labor, no doubt), and Jasper Mark II looks a little different from his now one-eyed predecessor. Julie and I aren't in agreement on this, by the way. She feels like Schuyler is tough and could deal with the truth. I guess I agree, but then, I feel like she gets to handle the tough truths a lot. I will say that if Schuyler isn't fooled and notices the difference, then I'll come clean with her.
As for poor old Jasper, I think I'll take him on the book tour with me, one last hurrah for the little guy, and then maybe get him an eye patch and seal him up for the future, to be given to Schuyler when she's older and ready for a foolish, sentimental gift from her old man.
This was a tough call. There are times for me, I suppose, when honesty in parenting takes a back seat to the preservation of the fragile world that Schuyler creates. I'm not sure myself if this was the right thing to do. I only know that there's a lot I'll do in this world, right or wrong, to make Schuyler happy.