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Posted: January 19, 2013 10:58 p.m.

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Build-A-Bear: Not as easy as you think

Build-A-Bear: Making memories and torturing mothers since 1997

I don't really do resolutions, but I decided that when 2013 reared its ugly head, Colin and I would have a come-to-Jesus meeting about household chores. While he's far too short to vacuum and too young to clean bathrooms, he can still help out around the house. But how to trick him into helping me...

I decided on a chore chart. It has little star magnets, which are apparently almost as awesome as stickers, and at the end of the week, a prize. Genius. I let him pick his chores and everything. Not much, but it has actually helped me keep the house tidy through the week when Hurricane Colin is in full effect.

The first week, his prize was small. A milkshake. The second week, he wasn't settling for something quite so lame. So after a really good week at daycare and home, completing all of his chores and regularly telling me I am beautiful (not his chore, but very much appreciated), I decided it would be nice to take him to Build-A-Bear.

As soon as I suggested, it I regretted it. I had never actually been inside of one of these stores, but I have heard the horror stories from several people. Why didn't I suggest going to Walmart for a new DVD? It would be cheaper, closer and still annoy me enough to appeal to my offspring. But once the words were out of my mouth, there was no taking them back. So we left daycare on a Friday and made our way to the Mall at Stonecrest to get our Build-A-Bear on.

All was well at first. The store wasn't very crowded and it was super clean and bright - both positives in my book. So we went about the business of picking the stuffed animal. After a couple of laps, he decided on a dog. Then he changed his mind when he saw it. The ugliest animal they had, of course - a rainbow patterned bear. I don't think bears, no matter their color, are gender specific. If he wanted an ugly rainbow bear, so be it. His prize, his decision. I was just the money man at that point.

The actual making of the bear was a little too "Silence of the Lambs" for me. I felt like Buffalo Bill as we chose which skin we wanted. Then the bear was shoved onto a weird contraption full of fluff, while Colin begrudgingly kissed hearts and scowled at the camera. He also picked a little noise box to go inside his bear. They had growls, kisses, songs... What does my son pick? A meow. Of course. Then he had to wash his bear, which was loud and weird and not really his cup of tea. And of course, as if a $22 bear wasn't enough, it has to have clothes. And there are all kinds of clothes to choose from.

Skirts, suits, jerseys, costumes for both Darth Vader and Buzz Lightyear, military uniforms, doctor's scrubs - you name it this place had an outfit for it. And why wouldn't they? No kid wants a naked bear, and with the outfits averaging $12.50 each, there are raking in the cash. Also, they had shoes, purses, little doctor's bags, berets - all sorts of extra nonsense. We didn't get in on that action. I'm not trying to drop $75 in Build-A-Bear because my kid remembered to feed his hamster and turn out the lights. I convinced him that his bear was special and the shoes wouldn't fit. Why? Because I knew the shoes would be off the bear before we got on the highway and then end up shoved in the corner of his toy box or used to torture the cat in some way. We settled on a Hawks jersey and shorts, which came with a little basketball and set me back $16.50.

But as we're walking around and picking out clothes I keep seeing the other parents eyeing my kid and his ugly rainbow bear, now named Kitty Cat Bear. Then they would try to slyly cut their eyes at me.

Look, I come from a family of trash talkers. I can spot that situation a mile away. One woman actually said something about my kid's bear.

My first instinct was to go all feisty on her and start rolling my neck and pointing my finger. But then I decided that I didn't want to be that mom. You know, the mom who becomes a story at Thanksgiving 20 years from now.

Like "Remember the time my mom got arrested in Build-A-Bear?" So I calmly cut my eyes at her and gave her a look that made it abundantly clear that I heard her snotty comments about my kid and his unattractive bear. She at least had the common decency to look away first.

A mere $42 later, we were back in the car with a hideous meowing bear. He still has his jersey on but his basketball and shorts have disappeared.

Occasionally at night, while Colin is in bed, I will hear a slight meow coming from his bedroom and know that $42 was totally worth it.

Amber Pittman is a reporter for The Covington News. She can be reached at com.

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