Thursday, May 27, 2010

The World's Most Beloved Toy

My son's heart belongs to a little stuffed elephant. They've been together for years. You've all heard stories about the dog that waits for his master to come home, or the kid who loves his blanket, or the undying affection of a faithful friend. Kid C's love for Baby the elephant eclipses them all.

You may think I'm joking. I'm not. Adoration is too weak a word for this child's feelings. He snuggles Baby, talks to Baby, sleeps with Baby, and pets Baby. He even wears Baby around on his shoulder like an emaciated parrot.

The only time they're apart is when we pry Baby from his fingers just before Kid C steps on the bus. Then Baby waits by the front door for his return, and Kid C's first words when he steps off the bus are, "Where's Baby?"

They go to church together. Kid C smuggles him into the store, takes him to the swimming pool, parties, the movies, everywhere. They're inseparable. It's as if the entire capacity of my son's heart is invested in this small stuffed animal.

That is why we have a problem. A big problem. Here is Baby.

Baby is dying. And I'm afraid.

What you can't see in this pic are scars from the scores of times Baby has gone under the knife for emergency surgery. This little guy has had more stitches than a shark attack victim. But you can only mend fabric so many times before it breaks down and shreds. Baby is beyond shredding. He's disintegrating on a molecular level.

We had a new "Baby" made because we foresaw this bleak day. But new Baby lies abandoned and alone in the depths of Kid C's closet. There is no love for new Baby. You can't transfer feelings like this from one toy to the other.

My mom suggested we place Baby's remains in a cardboard box and hold a service in the back yard. I can't do it. The grief would be too much. So we'll stand by and watch as Baby loses limbs, or more likely his whole torso. I have no doubt Kid C will then carry Baby's head around on his shoulder and love him all the more fiercely to make up for Baby's loss.

I don't know what we'll do to make up for Kid C's loss when Baby's fibers finally collapse into a dingy pile of dust, but we stand by with new Baby and hope it will be enough.

What favorite toys have your children loved and lost? How about you? Do you have memories of a cherished friend?


Jenilyn said...

My youngest loves his stuffed Nemo. As a bit of advice, don't EVER let your kids have a Nemo for their favorite. You will spend more hours finding Nemo that you ever wanted to spend.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you could make clothes for Baby! Clothes that are attached/irremovable and a clever disguise for the fact that what you're actually doing is creating a new body for him . . .

LeishaMaw said...

Jenilyn, ha! Finding Nemo. So funny.

Nikki, what a great idea! I'll try it and see if he accepts the addition of clothes. You are briliant.

Blake Goddard said...

My brother had a blanket called "DeeDee". He wore it down until a two inch by two inch square was left. He took that piece on his mission with him and he still has it. he is in his early thirties.

I vote let it fall apart. Whatever is left will go on with him for a long, long time.

The Huffies said...

Cute cute post. Spencer loved his old blankie and it slowly disintegrated too...we replaced it with a new blankie (same fabric), but he still sometimes cries for his old blankie (shhh, don't tell anyone). There is nothing like a child's love for his special something!

mike and lisa said...

My mom covered up my worn out pink silky blanket when I was very young. Apparently her attempt to make it a refreshing purple tie quilt failed when I broke all seams to get to my pink silky beneath. She never attempted to fix it again. So I walked around with two really bad looking blankets tied together.

mike and lisa said...

Let me tell you my take on the obsession with a childhood toy or comfort thingy. I believe it has everything to do with pheromones. (How do you think I discovered my old silky buried underneath the new one?) It's an interesting concept and I really want one of kids to do a science project on this very matter. If I find an unfamiliar coat laying in my back yard or on my couch, I can either 1. pick it up and look for a name printed on the inside. 2. pick it up and smell it. OR 3. ask my kids who it belongs to. Since #1 and #3 always fail and I get the blank stares and shrugged shoulders, I can almost 100% rely on my sniffer. I know it's weird to say that each kid has a unique smell, but it's true. I am sure this is why you can't just go out and buy a new replacement "BABY", it's because it doesn't contain this childs own pheromones. Suggestion: maybe wrap the new baby around the old baby and leave it that way for a while until it takes on the familiar comforting smell? Good luck! I love your blogs, keep it up :)

Irene B. Gardner said...

Oh, Leisha, this is a precious as Kid C's Baby. I love the feelings you've expressed on behalf of your child.

The clothing might work. Sorry, I don't agree with the funeral. It's going to be a tough one.

Maybe a magic elf could attach Baby's head to the new elephant? Thanks for sharing.


LeishaMaw said...

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. Funny how so many of us have a similar story to tell. :)

fictionwriter said...

Both of my girls have a popol, I don't know if you know what that is, but it's a little critter that can tuck into a ball, with a long string-like tail that has a rattle on the end. My oldest got if for her third birthday, and the second daughter got one for Christmas, as she kept stealing her sisters. They both still have them. Second daughter still sleeps with hers every night. And she's only 24 years old. Fortunately they've held up really well.

Blake Goddard said...

You are hilarious! -Em


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