OK, so maybe I read too many "mommy blogs" but only the funny ones, including Finslippy, who is usually funny but last week almost made me cry right there in my office because her post could just as easily have been about Sarah and Peeper, or Becky and Blanket Bear who once upon a time was pink but is now grayish and worn with love. I've had to re-sew his "ties" (the ribbon around his neck) several times because they tend to come loose with all the fondling and once the whole ribbon came off and Becky burst into tears, which made me leap into action with needle and thread and sew that sucker on so tight it's not coming off again ever. Likewise, the satiny heart on his front has needed restitching from time to time. Once we left Blanket Bear in a Toys R Us in the Deep South but fortunately realized it after only a few minutes had passed, so we burned rubber turning around and dashed back into the store to check the floor in every aisle. No luck. I was terrified that some other kid had found it and latched on, or some cleaning person has already disposed of the ratty thing, so I approached the service desk with great trepidation and little hope, but glory be! There he was.
On several occasions Sarah has almost lost Peeper, an unremarkable little stuffed tiger that her grandmother picked up at a grocery store checkout years ago. She actually did lose him once for a few days, but I miraculously remembered the brand name on the tag, located the exact same tiger on the web and ordered about four, one to replace the lost tiger and three more to hide in case of future losses. Of course what happened is that a) Sarah found the original, and b) later found the stash of extras, which actually didn't faze her. She simply decided that the first replacement was Peeper's much cleaner and fuzzier sister, Kitten Peeper. Fast-forward to February 2007, when we left her little knapsack in a taxi. In the knapsack, among other things, was Kitten Peeper. The stash of extras has also been used up somewhere along the line, so we're back down to one original and extremely worn Peeper. The poor thing has been sewn up so many time that it's got more thread than original material, and I'm petrified that it will dissolve every time we wash it. And no more washing machine, no sir -- way too fragile. Sarah lovingly bathes Peeper herself in the sink with lots of liquid hand soap.
I was so moved by the story of Minty Bear that I immediately went online to try again to find another Peeper, even though I have now fully forgotten the brand name. But even if I did, I doubt the company makes this model of stuffed tiger any more (that fickle world of plush toy fashion), so all I can do is pray that Sarah doesn't lose her little friend before she outgrows him. Like the kid in this post, Sarah speaks for Peeper in a distinct voice, in this case a high-pitched squeak that's actually cute rather than annoying, and occasionally has him sing his own special Peeper song that starts off "Ha-a-a-appy noo-noo, off the road!" Yeah, I know. More to the point, Peeper goes EVERYWHERE with Sarah, including school, summer camp, family photos, the monkey bars (yes, she can navigate the bars while clutching him in a couple of fingers)... There have been some very sad scenes on the few occasions that she has temporarily misplaced him. Same for Yellow Blanket, who also got left in the ill-fated knapsack and which I replaced via eBay after it became clear that she was still mourning it some weeks later. Sarah is also extremely neat. She just informed me this morning not to move any of the items around her bathroom sink from their designated locations. Not time to worry just yet, I guess -- just a reminder to keep stoking that therapy fund.
I myself had a favorite stuffed animal, a blue bunny whose "arms" touched my neck when I hugged him. I still remember the deep sorrow I felt the day he went blind. He had gotten dirty so my mother decided to clean him with K2R, a spray that dries to a white powder similar to anthrax spores that you then brush off along with the dirt, at least in theory. Except that his blue plastic eyes also got some spray, and it dried to a white film that would not come off. So from then on he was Cataract Bear, which is a lot easier for a three-year-old to pronounce than Macular Degeneration Bear, or Diabetic Retinopathy Bear (OK I didn't really call him that, though if I had actually known those words at the time, I still might have tried to say them). Despite all this, I survived and eventually thrived, though come to think of it I did get therapy at a few points along the line... but at least it's nice to know I'm not the only mother who is just as sappy about her kids' favorite animals as the kids themselves are.