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Teddy Bears

January 20th, 2004 · No Comments

Halley blogged this morning about a study: The Sense Behind Security Blankets

(HealthDayNews) — Have you ever wondered why children grow so attached to a favorite blanket, doll, or stuffed animal?

According to the National Jewish Research and Medical Center in Denver, children feel insecure when separated from their parents. A favorite teddy bear, for example, can help them see themselves as individuals.

When I first read it, I thought what’s news about this? Seems pretty obvious. Why would a kid want a security blanket unless he or she had insecure feelings?

But then I started thinking about myself, how I loved stuffed animals as a child. I collected them in my broken baby bassinet, piles of furry creatures spilling onto my bed and the floor. At one point I counted 42 of them in my possession. I was never a girl who loved dollies or one who wanted a baby to cradle. It was always animals for me.

When I learned how to tell time, I got to choose my reward: a little koala. I had a bean-bag dog named Chestnut with a pom-pom nose. A bear named Misha, made for the 1980 Olympics, was one of my favorites, until I somehow lost it on the playground during a parent-teacher conference. I remember a harbor seal mom and pup that attached to each other with velcro. My dad gave me a black bear I named “Bart”. A Cat-in-the-Hat, a gift for my fourth birthday, bought at the hospital where my brother was ill, still sits in my bedroom today, curled up in the corner, the red and white stripes repaired with stitches and bent against the wall.

And as I remember all these animals, I think of how I carted them back and forth between my mom’s house and my dad’s. How I’d pack them into the bags or carry them in my arms like children when my dad came to the door to get us for the weekend. We children would change parents and bedrooms, cities and cars, even our clothes and most of our toys, but the stuffed animals would stay the same as we took them with us, back and forth, from house to house.

Perhaps that’s why I loved them so much. I never saw it so clearly until now. These stuffed animals, with glassy eyes and posed limbs, were some of the only constants in my crazy childhood. They gave me the security I craved. Cuddling with them in my bed at night, I could cry into their fur, and find hope as I held them in the darkness.

Halley has a cute collection of Gund bears. I read in today’s Seattle Times about a huge bear for sale, the 15-foot-tall bronze FAO Schwarz bear at Sixth and Pike downtown – actually it sold for $11,800 on eBay. I didn’t know FAO had filed for bankruptcy…not that I’d want a huge bronze bear but it is tempting to think about picking up a few more stuffed animals at the store before they close on Sunday.

Then again, not sure I need any more toys. I’ve saved a few from my childhood collection for my own daughters, plus they’ve got plenty of their own now. And, come to think of it, I’ve got a pretty great Teddy bear now too. 😉

Tags: journal