I looked for proper dinosaurs to give my niece for her second birthday, but all I could find are battery-operated blinkenlight mech-warrior monstrosities, with guns. And goggles. And a price tag worthy of weekly groceries.
So instead I opted for crayon sets, endless Hello Kitty stickers, a plush Super Mario doll (she didn’t have any boy dolls, I wince at gendered play, though just as much to introduce a hero to play the part of hero, happily passive-aggressive ever after, but I suppose she’ll figure it out, she’s got good family, boy dolls can be foils and fools but fun and friends too I don’t need saving, but that don’t mean I don’t like you plus he’s a plumber, and pipes break) and the sweetest glitter leopard shirt ever.
Then I saw them at an antique fair—the ferocious rubber dinosaurs of my memories and dreams. Despite the plethora of gifts already purchased, I couldn’t resist. I’m not supposed to, I’m an aunt, this is my job.
Spoil her with presents, preserve her with love, prepare her for this mad, mad world.