wings and things

Love story 108 – Ming’s tail

on October 23, 2012

From the ages of about two to four, Ming wore a tail. At first it was a skipping rope with one handle missing. I’d get him dressed and tuck one end into the back of his shorts and off he’d go. The rest of the rope would drag on the ground as he walked, ran and played. The tail became so much a part of Ming’s identity that if we couldn’t find it there would be a frantic search.

Anthony I got used to shouting desperately, from opposite ends of the house, “Have you seen Ming’s tail?” This became our morning routine!

During this period, even though he didn’t always wear it at home, there was absolutely no way Ming would leave the house without his tail attached. “Where’s my tail?” he would wail. Once, when we couldn’t find it, and then I remembered it was soaking in the laundry sink, I had to ring the pre-school teacher to say he’d be late because his tail wasn’t dry yet. This happened a few times so that even she began to see this as a perfectly normal excuse for being late. She told me once that she’d had to speak to the whole class about not touching Ming’s tail after it had been pulled out once too often and he’d dissolved into furious tears.

Inevitably, the skipping rope split and we had to find another tail, before the trauma of not having one left long-term psychological damage. Not to Ming – to me! I just couldn’t imagine him without his tail.

Ming was surprisingly mature about the disintegration of his old tail after I said that, of course, we’d get him a new one. “I’m sad but I’m okay, Mummy,” he said stoically. “I’m gwowing up, so I jus’ need a black furry one now,” he reassured me.

This happened on a Saturday, so I left Ming home with Anthony (well Ming wouldn’t come to town tail-less anyway). I searched the toyshops all morning in vain. Each time I asked, “Do you stock tails?” I’d get a bewildered response. I could have bought another skipping rope or any sort of rope, but Ming had graduated to black and furry and I respected that.

I rang Anthony who told me that Ming had been weird all day – not himself at all, quite moody, in fact. “He says he doesn’t feel good without his tail,” Ants said, laughing quietly.

We made the quick decision to give him a black woollen tie of Anthony’s that he had only worn once before anyway. “You’ll have to run out to the car when I get home so he thinks I found one in town,” I said. And that’s what we did. When I got home, Anthony and Ming raced to the car but Anthony won and secretly tucked the tie into my bag while we both told Ming to close his eyes and open his hands.

I put the tie into Ming’s hot little hands and he opened his eyes. He stared at it for what seemed like ages before he looked up at me, tucked the narrow end into the back of his pants solemnly and said, with serious joy, “It’s sooo wicked; look, Andony. Isn’t Mummy awfulsome!”

What a relief, and I took all the credit even though it should have gone to Anthony.

I wish Ming remembered these days.

57 responses to “Love story 108 – Ming’s tail

  1. viveka says:

    Julie, I’m sure Ming still think you’re awesome – maybe not to get his tail back .. but many other ways – they thing is when we are in that world between teen and adult – we don’t express yourself very good and we don’t want to be acting childish not even in front of mum. To show feeling isn’t cool in that stage of life.

  2. neve16 says:

    That is so cute and funny!

  3. haha, I love this story! My brother and I did not wear tails every day, but we did sometimes and were quite facinated with them. Like it was cooler to be an animal than a human or something.

  4. Julie, I absolutely love this! You brought back such sweet memories of my youngest who insisted on wearing a cape for the longest time. It was the cutest thing. 17 now and no cape but still cute…well sometimes. : )

  5. it may sound quirky, but it becomes so normal doesn’t it–I love this story and the way you handled it and let him have his tail with no question–I tried to do that kind of thing for my boys too

  6. FringeGirl says:

    Kids are so funny. He reminds me of my daughter. She has these animal hats that she insists on wearing every single day. When she doesn’t wear one, people ask about it. They are so accustomed to seeing her in the hats. It looks like a stuffed animal on her head.


  7. Judith Post says:

    I love this tail story! What an imagination! He’ll remember the good times eventually. My daughters “reminisce” now when they get together or see friends they grew up with here. All those memories were there, just pushed aside for them to get independent and grown up.

  8. terry1954 says:

    that is such a cute story, and it proves how children need a security type in their young lives, and now that Ming is all grown, he has another security issue, and that is Ants not being there in his life and his mum feeling sadness. i am so glad that you and Ming have good days and only a few bad days. You both need each other through this journey in Ant’s life

  9. tersiaburger says:

    What a lovely post filled with beautiful, special memories. One day you will share it with Ming and his children…

  10. susielindau says:

    I love this story! It would make a great children’s book!

  11. What a fabulous story. I’m sure Ming might remember if you had photos, or bits of the tails left?

  12. You should really write a book of Ming’s childhood stories. They are absolutely wonderful!

  13. Helen says:

    Oh Julie, I had forgotten about Mings tail! So cute. Dont you just wish you could go back just for a little peek of our kids in those days and give them a cuddle? Jessica has Rabbie, a very worn stuffed rabbit that has had many operations. He has been on every sleep over, every holiday (even this year on a trip to Singapore there was a spare seat next to Jess on the plane – there was rabbie in all his glory, much to my embarrassment.) Heaven forbid when something happens to him. He is quite a joke among Jessie’s friends. Love hearing these stories about Ming 🙂

    • jmgoyder says:

      Cracking up thinking of you and Jessica on the plane with Rabbie on his own seat! I would very much like to meet this Rabbie – ha! Can’t believe you remember Ming’s tail and yes re the going back for a peek. Thanks Helen!

  14. Oh Julie, what a touching post. It put me in mind of my son and how he liked to dress up as “I Dream of Jeannie” using a racoon skin cap for the ponytail. He was about 3 at the time. But sometimes, when he gets a certain expression on his face, I see that little boy again. These memories flash on us and we can see how much change has taken place with our children. Thanks so much for sharing your family. Be well.

  15. Robyn Lee says:

    Adorable Julie ~ xo
    ps: did ok today ~ looks like my femur does come out of socket after all … xo

  16. elizabeth says:

    Julie, I’ve never heard of a kid wearing a tail. It is beyond cute! 🙂 You and Anthony were super parents and I’m sure the day will come when Ming will remember those wonderful times. 🙂

  17. artsifrtsy says:

    My grandpa had a tiger tail on the gas cap of his car – it was from some promotion – something like “a tiger in your tank” – it fascinated me – I would look in the tank to see if I could find the tiger.

  18. I’m totally confused about what a “tail” is.

  19. What a great story………….this really made me smile…………..thank you

  20. bluebee says:

    So funny the things kids get attached to, or vice-versa!

  21. pixilated2 says:

    PRECIOUS! Most parents would not be so accommodating. Love this, Julie.
    ~ Lynda

  22. Love your stories. Love Ming’s originality. He was an awesome kid with awesome parents.

  23. janechese says:

    That is so SWEET! True that some parents just wouldn’t “get it.” Glad you did-increases the joy and fun for all.

  24. janechese says:

    and thanks for your talent in bringing the memories alive and sharing them with us.

  25. victoriaaphotography says:

    The more I hear about Ming’s wonderful toddlerhood, the more I fall in love with him.

    He must have kept you & Anthony entertained for hours!

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