Saturday, January 01, 2011

The Loyalty of a Child

8 years ago, in the midst of a hysterical crying spell by Baby Evan, I desperately snatched a random stuffed animal from his bin beside the crib. I knew that babies weren't supposed to have fluffy toys or pillows in their beds, but honestly, this kid hadn't slept on his own for 8 straight months* and I was DESPERATE. When his chubby baby hands came into contact with the pristine and beautiful panda bear that his grandma had received for donating to the World Wildlife Foundation, the heavens opened up and the angels sang and that baby SLEPT.

And I wept.

And Pandy Bear was adopted into the hearts of our entire family.

Over the past 8 years, he has traveled across the country, even on a plane! Pandy has had gentle spa treatments in our washing machine after Evan's illnesses or after unplanned "adventures" to the backyard sandbox. Pandy has comforted Evan through childhood tears and accompanied him through all stages of imaginative play. He has a smell about him that may be disgusting to the untrained nose but to this Mom, I understand the comfort he still brings to the overactive imagination of a little boy in the middle of the night.

As time has passed, we have found friends for Pandy Bear. His family has grown and grown and Evan currently has 8 total panda bears to snuggle with. And while they definitely do find their way into his hands for a hug or a quick panda battle, it is always, ALWAYS dirty, ratty, holey, smelly and floppy Pandy Bear that is his true love.

This Christmas, Grandma donated to the WWF again and received the SAME Panda Bear as a donation gift. The SAME ONE! I couldn't believe it! But the evidence was there in front of me, right down to the make and model number on their tags.

I wistfully smiled when I realized how much love the original Pandy has received. If ever a toy were to come alive when a child outgrows him, it would be Pandy.

Justin claims that this is what 8 years of abuse by Evan will do to you. He is bald on his ears, neck and stomach. His neck is so thin that Evan can fit his hand around it. His body mass is SIGNIFICANTLY less than the new guy...

I claim that this is what 8 years of LOVE looks like. The newer model may be fluffy and WHITE and smell divine, but my faithful child has not replaced his first love...

...No matter HOW many times people have tried!

I hope that he can always retain this ability to remain true to the ones who have stuck with him.


* 8 years later and he's STILL in our bed! WITH PANDY.

15 comments:

Skate Mom said...

Sometimes I think that the people who dictated "No Stuffed Animals in cribs" were sadists. When Stitch was little, we'd throw all the stuffed animals on the floor and he'd fall asleep in them. I'm sure if my pediatrician knew, she'd have reported me.

Love on, Pandy. Love on.

Debbie said...

I think a worn stuffed animal like that is just adorable. I remember having a dog when I was a child and it became as flat as a flounder from me sleeping with him!
I wish you all the best in 2011.

Kai said...

I hate to admit it, but at 31 years old I STILL sleep with my baby pillow that my mother even now lovingly hand washes, stitches back together and re-stuffs a few times a year! That panda may be around for a LONG while!

Gucci Mama said...

Josh's "Pandy" is Pinecone, a koala puppet. He's very special. My mom found a smaller koala puppet for him and she (I'm not sure how the sex of puppets is determined, but the big one is a boy and the small on is a girl according to the four year old) is called "Tiny Pinecone". Tiny is loved, but there's no one quite like Pinecone. It's quite precious.

I hope Pandy stays in your family forever. My mom recently produced Bowie B (my stuffed puppy) and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

Lisa Fergus said...

What a loved bear! my son has a lamb and 2 years in I replaced the smelly stuffing and cut out the chewed on eyes! That's for sure what love looks like! Cute post!

http://www.stilettosanddiaperbags.blogspot.com/

Sarah RDH said...

awww I still have my teddy. lol I got it on my 6th birthday (I know, late in the game)from my older brothers biological grandma (we have the same mom, his dad was a loser, so my dad adopted him, but he has always had a relationship with his grandparents). Anyway, it is my "sick bear" bc whenever I was sick, my mom would give me the bear, and I'd start to feel better, swears. My bear is ratty too, he's been sewn repeatedly...He's actually in a bag of stuffed animals downstairs right now, but he's still there. My kids don't have an animal, but they are attached to their blankets. My son's blanket is already getting worn out...I can only imagine what it will look like when he takes it to college, bc I'm positive he will.

Kimberly said...

Our security object is a ratty old blanket...that is still in my teenager's room. He no longer "officially" sleeps with it, but I'm not allowed to get rid of it either.

Stacia said...

My husband and I both still have our loveys. And my daughter's is Bambi, who is a bunny, despite her name. Bambi was once white and full of fluff and now looks a lot like sweet Pandy. She, too, enjoys gentle spa treatments in the washing machine. =>

Love these pics. They make my heart smile.

mep said...

My kids spread their love around to various stuffed creatures so I am so impressed to see what eight years of love looks like. Loyalty is such an important quality!

we are reilly said...

and I bet that the new "Pandy" will not be as loved as the old one.....

Shari said...

What a great story! Our brunette twin is just as loyal, but the blond twin goes from animal to animal.

Liz said...

Pandy's now half the size! That's one well loved Panda bear.

My youngest has a thing for this little dalmatian dog. She calls him Buster Boy.

I don't know what I'll do the day Buster meets his maker.

Sandra said...

Awwww, now that's loyalty!
I had to laugh at how ratty 8 year old Pandy is, but honestly, he's still the cutest.

Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress said...

whew! i'm so glad another mama lets the stuffed friends into bed with their little ones. cal wouldn't be able to go to sleep without her 3 friends with her. i okay with it, even when i go in the middle of the night to check up on her and all three are stuck under her back. it looks uncomfortable...but....whatever works!

JJ Keith said...

I want to say something clever, but all I can muster is WHOA. The side-by-side comparison is stunning. That's love.

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