We were on Joy FM last week in Melbourne, hanging out with the Hump Day Crew, as we like to do from time to time.
The crew were having discussions when we arrived about whether you sleep with a stuffed toy or not. And if you do, is it creepy? Does your partner mind? Is it a first-date dealbreaker?
I have Bear Bear, and have had Bear Bear since I was born.
There are photos of tiny, newborn me settled among all my toys and Bear Bear, white and fluffy, sitting to my right. My right hand bear. He’s been there since forever. These days, he’s more flat than fluffy and more grey than white… and a bit matted. But I still love him dearly – that little bear has seen me through so much.
Toddlers attach randomly to bears, blankies. He was my comfort-attachment, picked inexplicably from all the other toys to be my favourite one.
But more than that, that little bear was there for me when my Dad died. I was 7 years old.
Bear Bear was there to cuddle when I needed reassurance. His fur was perfect for catching tears when I needed to cry and he was tucked into bed alongside me every night so I wouldn’t be lonely.
He’s seen me through so much I couldn’t possibly let him go. Ever. I feel like he’s a little fuzzy keeper of my memories, he was there for it all. Sometimes, when I’m feeling a little fragile I still pick him up and tuck him in to bed with me.
I recently met the people who gave me Bear Bear, 27 years later. My mother introduced me at a function and said to me ‘These are the people that gave you Bear Bear!’. I burst into tears on the spot and hugged them, I was so grateful to them.
Our stuffed toys – particularly the ones you’ve had since childhood – take on a personality and new meaning all of their own after years of having love and affection poured into them. They’re a symbol of a lost childhood that some just can’t let go of. I can’t let go, I want to remember all those moments. He’s my touchstone for that.
These days, Bear Bear mostly sits in my bedroom doing not much at all. But I always give him a kiss on the nose when I see him.
Luckily for me, Den only thinks I’m slightly weird. He used to have ‘Foggy’ (a frog) so maybe he can understand. His older sister sent a picture of Foggy when she found him buried in a cupboard back at their childhood home recently… and I swear Den’s eyes glistened a little with sentimental tears when he saw Foggy for the first time in years.
Turns out I’m not the only adult with a comfort toy. Scour internet forums and you’ll find them everywhere! We attach to them for no reason at all, and they take on much more meaning than just being a pile of fur and stuffing.
So what about you? Still got your main squeeze from your toddler years? When was the last time you washed them (I won’t put my bear through the washing machine in case he falls apart!)