After yesterday’s long day of teaching followed by hours of Parent Teacher Conferences, I woke this morning to my alarm blaring. 4:45 am. Time to get up and make sure I had plans for the day and finished getting ready for tonight’s conferences. I had tons to do. It was time to get moving… I lay there in a daze, thinking dully, “Get up! Get up! Get up!”
Suddenly, I flashed back a few decades. You know how there are those odd, somehow disturbing toys that can haunt you? Some from your own childhood? Some from your children’s? I can think of several in each category. As a child, I had a wonderful reversible Red Riding Hood doll that I adored…until my siblings changed it to the wolf head and rested it on my pillow. Every night! (At least I’m pretty sure it was my siblings…) My son had a Sleep and Snore Ernie that used to come to life at night. My husband and I would wake with a start in the depths of the night to odd noises coming from the living room. We reassured ourselves that it was an odd battery quirk, but I’m still not so sure about that one. (To this day my husband looks uneasy when I mention Ernie.)
But this morning, I heard echoes of one of my children’s toys called a Jibba Jabber. It was a weird looking long-necked creature. You were supposed to grab it at the neck and shake it. (Odd concept, really!) When you vigorously shook it, it made “jibba jabber” sort of squeaky talking sounds that you were encouraged to interpret into some demented sort of conversation. My kids loved it and shook it all the time, so its head wobbled back and forth and it talked and talked and talked.
Back in those days, in the depths of sleep deprivation with three small children, whenever Jibba Jabber talked, I heard it say two things clearly: “Help me! Help me! Help me!” and “Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!” Always in squeaky groups of three. Somehow today, my dazed mental repetition of “Get up! Get up! Get up!” invoked the spirit of Jibba Jabber, and I heard those words again.
“Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!”
“Help me! Help me! Help me!”
Conference week is a challenge!
Addendum: While I was looking up photos for this post, I came across the following at Wikipedia:
“Jibba Jabber was a doll made by the toy company Ertl in the mid-1990s. The dolls came with various hair colors including red, blue, pink and green. The female version of the doll (called Ms. Jibba Jabber) had a pink body with pink nose and the male version had a black body with yellow nose. The distinguishing property of the Jibba Jabber was the distinct ‘choking’ or ‘strangling’ sound (resembling a groan tube) made by the wobbling head when shaken. When Ertl was told about Shaken Baby Syndrome, the company responded, as reported by the US Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect, by “plac[ing] an insert in Jibba Jabber packaging explaining that while Jibba Jabber is for fun, a lethal form of child abuse involves the shaking of babies. The pamphlet lists seven ways to react positively to a child rather than resorting to violence.”
The toy was recommended as an adult stress reliever and gift for corporate executives.”
Yikes! This puts a whole new spin on my disturbing memories!!!