Your Kid’s First Love Isn’t You, It’s His Teddy Bear

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baby with teddyMy son is in love. Although he’s only two, he’s found someone that can make him smile when no one else can, someone that makes him feel better when he’s sick, makes him laugh when he’s mid-meltdown. When they are separated, even for a brief time, my son cries as though his heart is breaking and his world will never be whole again. People told me that sons have such special relationships with their mothers, so I thought I would be my son’s main squeeze until he was much older, had hoped that he would wait a little longer before moving on from his mommy, but alas, the heart wants what it wants. My son is head over heels in love, and it’s not with me, it’s with his teddy bear.

When my twins were infants, I read thread after thread on parenting message boards about other babies forming special bonds with a lovey or stuffed animal. Desperate to know that my premies were hitting their milestones, I purchased multiple blankies and stuffed animals and things that were half blanket, half stuffed animal all in an effort to see my kids attach to something, but they could not care less. One little guy started a torrid affair with his pacifier, and the other was all about the mommy when he wanted comfort. The plush friends sat ignored in the corner, until about a month ago, when I was unceremoniously dumped.

My son has left his boring mom behind and upgraded to his Bear. He loves all the stuffed things, sometimes attempting to gather his entire collection into his arms at once so all I can see are these chubby little legs and a wall of plush moving towards me. He does have his favorite, a brown bear he tows around in a firm but loving choke hold. Bear never leaves his side. It’s amusing to watch him try to figure out how to hold a granola bar and his sippy cup without letting go of his bear or to see him juggle Bear from hand to hand when he puts his coat on.

A part of me wishes I was still the one he turns to for comfort, but I know firsthand how powerful the bond between a child and their bear can be, as my very own Teddy is downstairs in the playroom. While he looks to be a drab grey, an examination of his tail folds reveals his past hue as snowy white. His fur has been hugged away under his arms and his eyes are cracked from one to many tumbles off my old bunk bed. He has one arm that’s longer and thinner than the other, since that was the arm I used to drag him from place to place.

My parents tried all through my childhood and into my teenage years to get me to part with him, but I refused. They even offered to get him a glass box, for safe-keeping, but then I had nightmares about him banging on the glass, unable to break free. On my bed and in my arms he stayed until I met my husband, at which point he was begrudgingly demoted to the foot of the bed. Once my own children were born I feared for the safety of both Teddy and my kids, because Teddy’s nose hangs by a thread and is a choking hazard waiting to happen.

Unlike my own parents, I don’t plan on trying to wean my child from his favorite flocked friend. As much as I miss being my son’s go to for hugs, I understand how he feels about his bear. And who knows, if the relationship continues to go well, maybe my Teddy with have a companion to share his shelf in 20 years.

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