Abbey has two things she won't sleep without: her dummy (we've tried getting rid of it, but the idea upsets her so much we think she needs to keep it a while longer - with the strict rule we've always had, which is that it's for bedtime only) and her teddy bear.
She has a lot of soft toys. So many that we have some on display in her room, and the rest taking up most of the top of her double wardrobes and stored under the house. Yes, I know. All of them were gifts, and so we've had to put a ban on soft toy presents.
One, given to her by her grandparents (Steve's parents, who incidentally are responsible for 95% of her soft toy collection), was quickly named Frosty because of his hat, scarf and mittens. And from the moment she first cuddled him, Abbey loved Frosty ("Otty").
There are a few signs, though, that teddy bear love might have gone a little far. And that as parents, we might be taking his place in our family a little too seriously. Things like...
- Panicking when he is lost near bedtime, resulting in a full-scale search throughout the house and its perimeter.
- Holding conversations with our daughter via Frosty.
- Using him to communicate things we want Abbey to do (actually, this one works quite well!).
- Thinking a request for him to sit on my lap and 'drive the car' is reasonable, and playing along as he talks and sings with Abbey whilst keeping his eyes on the road and his hands upon the wheel. (What have I become?)
- When Abbey hit him recently, I disciplined her for it. (I then had to hide to laugh at myself.)
- Having to quickly wash and dry him in a day, without Abbey seeing, after taking him camping and bringing him home a new brown colour.
- Taking him everywhere - to the shops, out walking, to the park.
I have a feeling that Abbey will always love this special little bear, and cherish the memories of him being part of her childhood.
Which makes all the craziness worthwhile.