I have a new hero, and his name is Rhino.
Rhino’s story began days after the birth of our daughter. My boss gave our daughter a couple Sandra Boynton books, including The Going to Bed Book.
This is a classic. There is a rhino in it. We read the book a lot.
A year later, we were walking through the Kohl’s in the Town of Wallkill, New York, which is just outside Middletown, which is just outside, ummm, the famed Woodbury Commons Outlet Shopping Mall, which is just outside some forest, which is just outside New Jersey, which is just outside New York City.
And there was the rhino from The Going to Bed Book, and our daughter reached for it, the first time she ever wanted a toy. We were charmed. We bought the rhino.
She promptly forgot about rhino, who made the move to Sweden based soley on Mommy and Daddy’s Sandra Boynton nostalgia.
Rhino then spent three years in the bottom of various toy drawers and baskets, never played with, ignored, saved only by a parental memory of the day in Kohl’s – the proverbial neglected toy.
Then the girl’s little brother started daycare. He had never cared about a stuffed animal. He had never cared about The Going to Bed Book. But on day two, we decide to give a stuffed animal a try at nap time. Why not?
Mamma picked rhino from the bottom of the pile.
And within a day, rhino had become Rhino, and Rhino goes everywhere with Baby B. Rhino plays in the daycare yard. Rhino eats, sleeps, rides, runs, crawls, cries and paints with the boy. A week ago Rhino smelled like curdled daycare so we washed him secretly after the boy went to bed.
His Swedish teachers call the animal Rhino in English because that is the name, not a description. Rhino is the center of a pretty big world, right now, after all those years of waiting patiently, just hanging out and being rhino, staying ready for the day he would become Rhino.
With a capital R, dude.