Thursday, April 7, 2011

Elka's favorite toy: The Third Man

Elka has a very clear preference for one of her toys: Gumby.  The evidence:

Gumby #1 is the gentleman to the far right, possessed of no arms.  I'm not sure when we got Gumby #1, but I know he lasted about two months before the arms became too loose for comfort and I removed them.  Gumby #2, in the middle there, we got in August '10, and his arms had the same staying power. As of this writing, Gumby #2 is also possessed of no arms.  Gumby #3 has been the best lasting one of them all, bestowed upon Elka at Christmas and still possessed of all limbs.

The first two, I purchased at the Feed and Seed, the first one more as a gimmick.  I watched reruns of the Gumby show when I was little.  However, the toy was an instant hit, and the one that Elka wanted to play with the most, and hence the procession of Gumbys.  Gumby #3 came from BJ's, in a two pack with Pokey, who is not as big a hit.  Elka occasionally chews on Pokey's eyes, and that's about it.

You see, Elka's favorite game is tug.  It doesn't matter what the toy is, be it a ball that fits almost entirely in her mouth, a rope, or a Gumby.  Gumby has the distinction of being tough, flexible, and long enough for both players of the game to comfortably hold.  I prefer to hold the legs myself, as the arms tend to get compressed in the give and take of the game and pinch my fingers.  When Elka plays tug, the best way for the human to handle it is to clamp one's hand on the toy and let the arm go limp, as she thrashes it around and growls fiercely.  I find it particularly fun to make it seem as though the growling has reached a fever pitch, and then say "drop it".  She will, promptly, and then lay down, staring at Gumby with a laser-like focus.  Then the game will begin anew, or not, depending on how much time had been spent on it already that day.  Elka will play tug tirelessly; I, alas, cannot.

The other game we play with Gumby is "Find Gumby".  I tell Elka to go to the kitchen, lay down, and stay.  I sneak off to the living room and put Gumby in any number of places.  I then return to the kitchen, where Elka is typically still laying down, waiting, her back legs shaking as she holds herself in place despite her excitement.  When I say "Okay, find Gumby", she bounds off in search, on the couches, underneath, near the stairs, and when she finds him, she charges back, and what do we play as a reward? Tug.

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