I didn’t have many stuffed animals or dolls as a kid – I had a koala bear instead of a teddy bear, and back then stuffed things were usually stuffed with an abominable sawdust mixture and made of heinous plastic fibers, which made them mostly uncuddly and very unwashable, so the koala was Not My Favorite. I also had some hand-me-down toys from my sister, and, sibling rivalry having been ramped up to the nuclear level between us, you can imagine how little I cared about the hand-me-downs. A few months ago, I decided to quit stealing my kids’ stuffed toys and get some for myself, just because. So, I have:
1. A stuffed emperor penguin with chick: I love this one, it’s soft, soft, and I like penguins. The chick is attached, sitting right between Dad’s feet, cute as can be. This one rides in my car with me, and the kids borrow it for cuddling when we’re going somewhere.
2. A Raggedy Ann and Andy: I count them as one because it seems wrong to have one twin without the other. When I was in elementary school, there were a lot of kids’ books about the Adventures of Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy. They ate a lot of candy, in fact, they ate candy exclusively. I thought that was a little yucky, but I liked the whole fantasy aspect of their stories when I was a kid. Also, I can wash them, and I like that they are plain, modest, and friendly looking.
3. Paddington Bear: Oh, Paddington. If I could have traded lives with anyone or anything or a fictional character in my childhood, it would have been Paddington. I envied him his life with the Brown family. No matter how sticky he got, how often he got lost, how many times he dug up the wrong plant, let the tub run over, or made a mess of the kitchen, they loved him nonetheless. What a lucky bear! I envied his duffel coat and his rain hat, and I wished I were him. So, I have a Paddington Bear, and he sits in my knitting basket next to my usual chair. Sometimes I just look and him and smile, and other times I pick him up and straighten his coat and give him a hug. A Paddington Bear is a good thing.
4. Not Got A Sock Monkey Yet. I can’t decide whether I want to knit one for myself or buy a pre-made sock monkey on line. When I was little, you couldn’t buy sock monkeys, someone had to make one for you. My friend Sarah had one, and all the way up until 6th grade, she slept with her sock monkey. It looked rode hard and put away wet and was all lopsided because she liked to sleep on it in one particular way. Lucky monkey, to be so loved! So, I’m still dithering over the monkey.
5. Fifi, sort of. She’s a black poodle wearing blue pajamas and white bunny slippers. I tried to give her to my daughter, but my daughter has her tiny teddy, Theodora, who rules the Pink Bedroom with a worn Iron Paw. Bunny doesn’t play with Fifi much, and every time I’m in her room, I pick up Fifi and snuggle with her. I went to one of those stores where you pick out a stuffed animal and add any noisemakers to it, if you want, before they fluff in the stuffing for you. Then you pick out clothing and pay a large wad of cash, and they create a nice cardboard cradle or pet crate, and you have to name the critter before you leave. Fifi was my first. I later had a pig stuffed and dressed him in a silver tracksuit and gave him to Spawn. His name was Kevin Bacon. Yeah, well, I probably needed an aspirin.
Anyway, I’m thinking of filing formal adoption papers to have Fifi become mine officially, and if that causes a lot of horrified expressions on Bunny’s face, followed by a great teenaged slamming of doors, then I’ll go make one up for myself.
Man, now I feel like I need a nap. With a stuffed critter!