I'm feeling a little nostalgic as my youngest, the subject of this blog post that I'm reposting below, finishes his first year of school. He is now 6, but his teddy bear has still not been relegated to the cupboard just yet. I will be sad when he does, as my littlest is growing up so fast - the children all are. For those who have read this before, I apologise. I have a half written blog post that is design- centric that I will hopefully have written and posted later this week, but in the meantime, here is one of my favourite blog posts of old.

.........................

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.


Bubba

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?  

22 comments:

  1. this is just so cute!!! I live in fear of losing my kid's teddy bear. It's cashmere and the label says sponge clean only but that bear has been through the wash a dryer a lot xx

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    1. There is just no way you can have a bear that can't go through the wash! They get so filthy. The flat-out bear was washed about 2 months ago, and I put him in the dryer to get him bed ready that night and he shrank!! S found it a little weird that he now had a teeny tiny bear, but fortunately over the next day or so he kind of grew back to a more normal size and S was ok with it.

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  2. My eldest made do with one because I could never find the same one again. It was a sort of bear head and arms attached to an unusual velour fabric. We also called ours 'stinky bear', shortened to 'bear' because she sucked on the arms until one fell off. I've lost count of the times I have sat in my car and rung every place we'd been in a day to find the misplaced comforter. Or driven back to a friend or family members house at 10pm because it was left behind! My husband thought it was a mistake to encourage the attachment but it meant that wherever we were, she would settle to sleep as long as Bear was there too. He has been her constant and she stopped sucking the arm by about 5 and he's gradually been relegated to 'off the bed' status for the last couple of years. I once asked my dentist whether it was bad for her mouth because they get so grotty but he said it's good for their immune system and doesn't affect their jaw or teeth like a dummy can. I think it is great for their emotional wellbeing. I love the flat out bears. They feel amazing. I have one for my youngest but she never took to it. I'm missing the beautiful baby and toddler toys stage. As they get older, so much seems to descend into cheap tat. How do you approach Christmas gifts with your kids? I feel like a Scrooge this year.

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    1. I agree with you - I always put a bear in the bed with them early so they'd attach to something, other than me! But then you do live in fear of it being lost. I've been out in the garden with a torch on so many nights looking for a dirt coloured teddy bear in the dark because they won't sleep without them.
      I know what you mean about gifts for older kids. We've just had our oldest say he's over lego, which I never thought I'd see the day. They get board games (this year the oldest is getting the original version of Cluedo, we gave my daughter the Game of Life for her birthday earlier this year which was a big hit), books of course, pool/ beach toys or equipment like towels/ beach bag, pjs, undies, new swimmers, sports equipment (new cricket bats, handballs and backyard soccer nets for the boys), this year my daughter is getting a new watch (her request), a craft/ sewing set and some dollhouse furniture, and then they get whatever they request from Father Christmas. Essentially, I just make sure they have a lot wrapped up under the tree to make them feel like they've got lots, but in reality a lot of it is stuff I'd buy them anyway, like the swimmers or undies or goggles etc. I have an especial challenge with the oldest as his birthday is late October, so we've already given him lots of things. I just feel like they've got so much they don't need a pile more toys to ignore, and when you couple it with two families also giving things to them it's overwhelming on the day. A lot of the toys we've given over the past few years we just add to, like the dollhouse so that keeps the overwhelming quantity thing down. But I have to say they're always happy opening up undies and swimmers surprisingly, so I keep those in to bulk up an otherwise fairly skimpy present list (the things above are things I've given over the past few years to give you some broad idea, they'll not get all of those this year!) x

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    2. Our son and then later his girls all had teddies and soft toys but they didn't ever become so attached. Not sure why. Once C1 learned to read she was far more interested in her kindle. Still is. C2 is more attached to real animals - she adores the family cats and can do anything with them. Now they have a puppy she is totally besotted with her. No soft toy ever came close.
      Sometimes I worry about all we give to children these days at Christmas and birthdays. I'm just as guilty a giver as I adore buying things for them. Far prefer the fun of giving to receiving. But they do receive so much. I always try to cover a range of interests: books, pretty clothes and jewellery, games, things for their bedrooms etc. One of the most successful gifts a couple of years ago was a Samsonite cabin bag each in hot pink. They use them for long weekends - or even short trips away - and last year were old enough to use them as actual cabin bags. It made them feel so grown-up as they rolled them along on their spinners through airports on their way to Paris.
      Love the story about Stephen Andrew's panda from China!
      Must think about Cluedo for next time. C2's favourite game is one based on the stock market (I found it second hand in an Op Shop) where you buy and sell shares - she's very good at it. But it bores our kindle-lover. Once they get into electronics they seem to be less interested in old school toys. C1 also loves her camera and her mobile phone.
      Have a lovely Christmas - and to your readers too! Pammie xxx

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  3. My parents gave away all our toys but I wan't too attached to toys so much and lost interest in any doll after a few hours even though i promised my parents i would play with it forever.Can't believe he is 6 now - time does fly. So sweet he still has it too. xx

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    1. He is still so attached to his bear! I feel like he still will be aged 20 at this point, as when I wrote this I did feel the days were numbered for Didi.

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  4. Oh gosh so cute. My oldest had a tiger that was lost, though not until he was a teenager, I have a feeling he gave it to a girlfriend. My older daughter was attached to her animal habitat toys, those small plastic realistic-looking German toys, oddly she didn't have one stuffy in particular though she had lots. She did wear furry animal costumes for several years as a child though.
    Our youngest lost her Pink Piggy in Montreal on the train as a 4yo, devastated. I couldn't find a replacement (which I was planning to "send" from the train lost-and-found). Then she became attached to a teddy, who was lost on an airplane/in an airport somewhere between Frankfurt and Prague. Mass hysteria in the lobby of our Prague hotel when the loss was realized.
    Then it was an elephant "Eddie", and come to think of it I haven't seen him in some time but she's a teenager now and moved on to other things (boys for one).
    Just love this re-post and the form from the hospital! So adorable. xx

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    1. That's very sweet about your daughter and her animals. Did she turn into a vet or something? Zoo keeper maybe?!? I think a love for animals shows young - my younger sister spent all her time rescuing things as a child, or grooming her chickens for entry to the Royal Show (agricultural show. Her chickens never won anything), and became a Vet as an adult.
      You did have bad luck with your youngest's toys though! Probably a good thing that she's moved on, although maybe not if it's to boys! Wow the time flies indeed, I remember you posting about her when she was much younger. xx

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  5. So sweet! And so clever! I never had toys like this. My great aunt brought me a huge panda bear from China and after she left I told my mom it didn't go with my very Ralph Lauren bedroom. I think I was four. I didn't remember saying it but it's one of those stories that took on a life its own. I did convince my GG to buy me a beautiful onyx carved lion though.

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  6. PS my best friend's little sister had a rabbit made of some horrible sateen material and my friend and I were always trying to get rid of it because we were awful. His name was Puffy and we would throw Puffy out the window, leave him in the grocery parking lot, and hide him all over. And yet he always reappeared. Years later I asked their mother if she obviously had backups and there were actually many or dozens of Puffys. She said no! There was just one and they were always able to find him!

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    1. Oh my God!! So funny. I can just imagine you not liking the panda because it didn't go with your decor.
      That poor mother - the hours she must've spent looking for Puffy. I can tell you I've spent so long searching with torches for Didi somewhere, or turning the house upside down. Once I found him in the washing machine (not being washed, just stored for later play). S is unfortunately forgetful as to where he leaves him. x

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  7. Oh Heidi what a great post. My mom tells me I was very attached to stiletto shoes and she bought a new pair just so I could take one to bed. Of course I have no recollection of this but I do love stilettos to this day. My grandson has a lion appropriately called RA RA who is his constant companion. He is three years old and into Santa at present. Cleared the fireplace area so Santa has lots of room to come down the chimney Xmas morning. Also on his best behaviour. My daughter downloaded the Santa App and when Santa asked if he was a good boy he hung up on him. He did not want to ruin his chances on Xmas morning.

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    1. Shoes!!! That is the strangest and funniest thing yet! Well, you clearly had good taste from the time you were a little girl Lillian.
      3 is the best age for Christmas I think. The belief is unshakeable, and they are aware enough that they get really excited and into it all. I hope he continues on his best behaviour for Santa. xx

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  8. My 8 year old has swapped his old hand sewn silk Owly (which wasn't standing up well to the rigors of co-sleeping) and for the last two years has slept with his glow in the dark AFL footy. I know, only in Melbourne.
    Unfortunately when it thuds to the ground in the wee hours, the wooden floors echo and I wake with a start !

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    1. A footy... that sounds incredibly comfortable?!? Perhaps he finds the glow comforting or something? Or is he just so crazy about sport he likes to sleep with it? Kids are so funny!! xx

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  9. An absolutely charming post which left me clapping for joy at Didi's acceptance. Our childhood bears are so very important to us. I had one which was conveniently forgotten behind on our travels one year to Cyprus, traveling by taxi from one town to another. I wailed so much on the ride there that the driver stopped his car and made my parents get out and look for it in our luggage, in case it had found its way there. Unfortunately for all concerned, it remained separated from its beloved child and life has never quite been the same.

    My own daughter was given a bear on her first birthday by my sister who had purchased it from my favorite childhood toy shop in London, Hamleys. She insisted "Teddy" was a girl for the longest time and nothing or anyone could change her mind. Several years later, Teddy was suddenly being called "he" to my amusement. I laugh when I think about this because only a child could be so stubborn about such things. Their bears, as we've both discovered, are everything to them.

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  10. How gorgeous. I bought flat-out bears for both our grandsons. The honey coloured one for Finn and the Koala coloured one for Theo when he came along. They both love them and them and the seven and a half year old shows no sign of giving his up any time yet. My kids had lambskins as was the trend then and they were all attached to them. Took them on school camps until they were about eight or nine I reckon. I still have a couple of them. I love the hospital discharge papers. What a sweet idea. Tonkath

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  11. While I had lots of stuffed animals I cherished and humanize, I didn't have a special "lovey".

    Our son has two, Neefo bunny and Neefo kitty. We have no idea how they were named Neefo.

    The Neefo travelled extensively with us for nearly 11 years and were lost just this past August somewhere between Quebec Coty and home in the US. Both my husband and I cried and my mother scolded me for not keeping them safe. I searched EBay for hours each night until I found exact replacements. The replacements have been accepted but not without buckets of tears from our son.

    On one hand, our so pen seems a bit embarrassed that he still relies on the Neefos (he hides them from everyone but us and Nan). But on the other, he loves tradition and status quo and they represent that.

    I love your hospitalization story! A brilliant solution. Many parents gave me the advice to buy up as many of the favorite stuffier as you can find.

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  12. You are a legend of a mum. That is all. Gold star for bear management!!!!!

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  13. Can you believe that tonight we are looking after the grandchildren and Finn was looking for his flat bear at bedtime. Not packed in the bag!! I had to scout around and find his mothers lambskin which I offered him (after he refused various teddies and rabbits). He was very tearful and said it’s not as soft and it’a not the right shape. I can’t sleep without flat bear, it’s not the same. After a while he said begrudgingly, “ Oh well it is lambskin and this bit here is soft” and then settled down, still with a couple of tears. Poor little thing. Lucky I kept that “lamby” all those years!! Tonkath

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Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
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