When Stuffed Animals Attack

I have a stuffed animal … problem. It wouldn’t be a problem if I didn’t have kids; I would have lots of room for my stuffed animal friends if I didn’t have kids. Har!

But the problem is this:

I brought approximately 10 stuffed animals to this relationship. (SA brought, um, NONE, how is that possible?)
The first child brought 20 stuffed animals. I even dressed them in baby clothes and photographed some of them, because I had nothing better to do. Sigh. Those were the days.
The second child brought another 10.
And we also bought some along the way.

The other day, I was talking with some friends about this. One of the friends said that stuffed animals are a Low Play Value toy. They take up space, no one plays with them and woe betide you if you try to get rid of any. I understand this in principle. Other than using them for games of ‘toss the animal’ or as pretend audience members for impromptu stage shows, there is not a lot of play time for the animals. They get put in baskets, they get taken out and tossed around, they get put back in baskets. My kids play more with action figures and Lego and colouring books, at the moment.

But how can you throw away something with a face?

I find it very hard to cull my — and the childrens’ — important, sentimentally High Value stuffies. SA sometimes tries to sneak a few out in the donation bag and I’m all, HEY WHAT ARE YOU DOING PUT THAT BACK.

Trombone couldn’t care less about stuffed animals. I could probably give all his away and he wouldn’t notice for a few years. But Fresco, he takes after me in this respect. He is the kid with all the animals in his bed, the E.T in the closet, so to speak. He puts six animals in a backpack every morning, no matter where we’re going. He has appropriated my old duck puppets (yes, plural, what of it?), Trombone’s former ‘special’ kitty, and all six of the miniature dogs that came with the Melissa and Doug “Puppies Puppies Puppies” (or something) game that we got last Christmas. Every animal is special. Very special.* They have names and he knows their names and he knows which one is missing. I am pretty sure he knows their names better than I know HIS name some days.

* Except for the baby doll that I bought Trombone when he was a year old. Both children agreed we could give away the baby doll a few months ago, and though I sniffled a bit, I gave it away. It only cost $15; it wasn’t one of those Free Range Organic baby dolls or anything.

I remember the circumstances of how each stuffed animal came to live with us. Each has a story. How can you throw away something with a story? Especially if you are giving it to charity and then some other kid buys it and they don’t KNOW the story? (yes, then they get to have their own story, but I don’t care about that)(OK I do a little)(Actually it’s a fairly lovely sentiment.)

I still have my old stuffed bear, Gus, shoved in a plastic bin down in our storage room. The reason he isn’t upstairs with the rest of us is because he is 30 years old and I don’t think he would survive the current climate of War Soldiers VERSUS Iron Man VERSUS Wrestling Ninjas.

Gus was a Christmas gift the year I was seven. I asked for a big stuffed bear but I didn’t expect to get one. When I came downstairs at dark o-clock, there he was, under the Christmas tree, a red bow around his neck. He has always smelled like a motel. He has a tear under his arm that has been mended multiple times. He is the perfect size and shape for hugging and weeping into.

Where was I? Oh yes. So, eventually the stuffed animals will fall out of favour, I am assuming, and I will have to get rid of them. That day will suck.

The end. Except for this photo.

Left to right: Fresco holding Trombone’s special ‘first stuffie’ who is now known as Superdog; one of two identical duck puppets that I received as gifts from SA and my mom one Christmas; Trombone’s former ‘special’ kitty; Wally the wombat (puppet) my friend Phil brought me from Australia; Sheepie Sheep (a gift Fresco received at birth).
On the chair: Great Grandma’s special bear gifted to Trombone; Christmas sock monkey given to me the year before the kids were born. Back row: Magic the Moose (Trombone’s) and Bart the Beaver (Fresco’s) from Build a Bear — thank you Aunt Lillian.
Not pictured: Spot, Pepper, Bandit, Sandy, Cocoa (dogs) and Cowie Cow. And Chick. And Giant Duck. And 30 other friends.

Are you a stuffed animal person? If not, what is your sentimental toy thing. What? You don’t have a sentimental toy thing? Shut up, you do so.

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