Meet Didi (Dee-Dee). He's the constant companion and best friend of my 2 year old, S. He is a flatout bear, made of sheepskin and super cuddly, and as you can see, very well loved. Since S was 4 months old he has slept every night with his little friend. He named him Didi because he couldn't say "Stinky", which was our name for his bear.
fur missing, eye missing, and a horrible odour
Now, we have a little secret in our house. This Didi pictured is actually Didi number 2. The first Didi had an unfortunate situation with his leg. S liked to chew on his leg, until it came to the point where he had essentially eaten it when he was 1. When I did the switch of the first Didi, I explained that I had cleaned him and sewn his leg back on. My oldest child, then 6 years old said "Wow Mum, you did a great job!".... whereas my then 3 year old daughter eyed the new Didi suspiciously and said "but Mummy, how did you sew on his leg when S had eaten it?". A quick change of subject and it was forgotten about, but I knew that the next time we had to switch a bear it was going to be tricky..... for one, S. was older and could well reject a replacement bear. Secondly, his older brother and sister also had to be convinced that it was the same bear for a switch to work.
hole in the back
In preparation of the switch, I told S that Didi was going to the Teddy Bear Hospital, where they would sew his fur back on, fix the missing eye, and make him all clean and fluffy. S was very enthusiastic about this. Finally, a nearby shop had a bear in the right colour in stock, and I picked it up and started the preparations.
For 3 hours this morning, I managed to separate S from his constant companion, telling him that Didi would be in hospital, and would be coming home in time for S's nap after lunch. To convince the older two that it was in fact the same bear, a hospital record was produced, and the new and revitalised Didi was put on S's bed, with the ratty coloured ribbons (to help us find Didi when he is lost in the garden somewhere as he is the same colour as dirt) threaded through the label as always.
My other two have also had a special friend for bed. My oldest, H has "Dear" (his word for bear), and has Dear 1 and Dear 2.... he had a replacement as well, and after finding the original in our cupboard 6 months ago, now sleeps with both of them. My daughter E has "Bubba" (her baby word for bear) and is also on her second. I'd just say that a white bear is not ideal. All three of them have taken their bears everywhere with them until they are around 3... which means that Didi's days should be numbered, but S shows no signs of leaving him on his bed for the day just yet. And who can blame him? Didi is a very soft and cuddly bear.
Dear 1 and Dear 2
I had a bear as a child, one of those Koala's that are sold in tourist shops, made out of kangaroo fur, imaginatively called "kwalie". I used to chew his paws, so they were all bald from the fur being sucked off. Sadly, I left him on a train in Scotland when I was 4. He was never found in lost property, and the bear I was given as a replacement was just not the same. He hadn't had the vigorous love of a 2 year old to soften the edges - there was no history.
So, how did the swap go? Well, S walked in, spied rejuvenated Didi on his bed and squealed with excitement. He had an absolutely beaming smile on his face and shouted "Didi - you're all clean and fluffy, and you smell good!". Total acceptance. Tonight he is tucked up with Didi in his bed, clean and fluffy and very happy to be reunited with his special friend.
Pyjama'd up and ready for bed
So tell me.... what did you have as a child? Blanket, Bear or thumb?
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