After an afternoon nap, 9-year-old Quinton Bogner awoke to a parade of pajamas. Announcing their arrival, the Child Life team at St. Louis Children's Hospital paraded into his room in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit with popcorn, hot chocolate, marshmallows, and homemade cookies, and quickly began composing the perfect Polar Express pajama party.
Because of the timing of his hospitalization, Quinton, still recovering from a heart transplant, would miss the annual Polar Express party at his school. As a substitute, the Child Life team decided to throw him his own party. Just as they started the movie passed the food around, music therapist Christy Merrill enacted the rest of the plan.
"Have you ever played Chubby Bunny?” she asked.
The objective of the game: fit as many mini marshmallows into each person's mouth as possible. Christy challenged Child Life Specialist Becki to a duel -- a decision she would soon regret! Becki won by a landslide, packing 53 mini marshmallows in her cheeks. Next, Quinton’s doctor took a turn.
Quinton had made new name tags for members of the staff, assigning them alternate personalities. In true 10-year-old boy style, he renamed his doctor, "Dr. Fart".
"Paging Dr. Fart" the team bellowed down the hallway.
He didn't miss a beat. As the door opened he immediately began hassling Quinton right back.
"You're the only boy here! Are you having a sorority party?" He accepted the Chubby Bunny challenge but cheated, sticking marshmallows up his nose to pad the count.
Hundreds of miles away, Quinton’s classmates were scheduled to participate in similar activities. Every year, all of the kids at his school gather in their pajamas to watch The Polar Express, drink hot chocolate, and eat popcorn. This year, though, Quinton beat them to the punch. Their party fell on December 21st, the day after Quinton's pajama party at Children's. But no one would be left out of either celebration. His mom, Brooke, sent pictures of Quinton's party to his class where so they could post the pictures around the classroom during their party.
When asked which party he preferred, Quinton responded, "I like both [parties]. This one because you're not crammed together.” He went on to site the highlights: playing Chubby Bunny and having all of his favorite staff members together at once.