When I was little, my favourite ‘bear’ was my Roland Rat. Now, some 30 years later, I still have Roland. He sits on my chest of drawers next to a rabbit that Damian bought me on our first Easter. I can’t bring myself to pack him away or, worse, give him away. He is scraggly and quite literally falling apart, despite my mum’s best efforts over the years to patch him up.
Roland was part of my everyday life – I talked to him, cuddled him and loved him. He went EVERYWHERE with me. He traveled abroad with us and my dad even made him a passport. He was a constant figure.
When Mr D was born he was given a range of soft toys, and I never really pushed one ahead of the other, just hoped that, over time, he’d find a favourite.
For a long long time there were two firm favourites. Dino, and Monkey. Dino was the favourite for a long long time, but now Monkey, who has since earned the title Daddy Monkey, is the firm favourite. This little long limbed teddy is loved by Daniel. Daddy Monkey is the bear he snuggles up to each night, brings into our room each morning and the one he talks and chatters away to.
When he is unwell or teething, he chews on Daddy Monkey’s tail – and I’m sure he is going to chew a hole in it one day soon. He adores the little monkey and he sits there, on his bed, patiently waiting for Mr D to get him. There are a range of other creatures that have made it onto his bed, but Daddy Monkey is the one he cuddles up to.
Miss E on the other hand took a bit longer to find a teddy bear friend. She didn’t seem to really warm to any of the soft toys that she was given or any that D already had. I wanted something with the long limbs of Daddy Monkey so I took her to Marks & Spencer one day (as that is where Monkey is from) and she reached for a similar style Lion.
Lion soon became her favourite. For a long time she gripped Lion’s left leg, to the extent that his left leg is just the outer fabric and no stuffing. She would suck it or rub it against her cheek as she fell asleep. My parent’s picked up a second Lion for her (it did have a button to make it roar) but that has stopped working. Lion and Roaring Lion are the ones that she snuggles up with each night. It has to be them both.
They read bedtime stories with her and she brings them down for breakfast each day, sitting them on the windowsill or a chair. She adores them and it’s cute to watch her as she shares her drinks with them or makes them food in the play kitchen.
They are much more than simple stuffed toys to them, they are key items in their development. When D and E feel unwell it is those teddies that they reach for and that I find snuggled up against me. E still rubs Lion’s foot against her cheek when she is falling to sleep, and D still chews Daddy Monkey’s tail. When there is a change of routine I notice that the bears tend to come downstairs with the children, rather than stay in their rooms. They’re a comfort to them. A friend to share their day with.
I love that they have these treasured bears and I can’t wait for the day that they choose a teddy bear to buy for me. It will be as loved as Daddy Monkey and Lion (and dear old Roland, of course). Do your children have a favourite teddy bear?
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