When was a little girl, I had a teddy bear. But 'Ted' wasn't just a bear, of course. For me he was my best friend; my comforter and confidant, my lifeline when I was hurt, or angry, or sad...
I still have Ted now, although he's been banished to a cupboard for the better part of his life... like so many 'best friends' he's not aged too gracefully. He has holes where his eyes used to be, his neck has a flannel sewn over where his neck was, his fur is dirty and mangled and he smells like he could use a good bath. But I still love him. And I'll never part with him. Because to me he represents my childhood, and is one of the very few items I have to show Fern from back in the olden days when I was growing up!
Warning, the following graphic may disturb some viewers - Mature Audiences only:
For the first twelve months of Fern's life, I waited with interest to see what might become her 'Ted'. I helped of course by providing some 'suggestions': a teddy bear; a soft doll; one of those little blanket/ bears; a soft rabbit... although some of these items have been with her in her cot almost since day one, I know I could remove any of them and she probably wouldn't even notice. Because although she enjoys playing with them (mostly when she should be sleeping) none of these items connect with her on that special level.
Late last year I went through a period of several months where Fern slept terribly through the night. Sleep deprived and exhausted, I researched every technique in the book to attempt to get to the bottom of the problem... my personal answer came in the form of a book whose fundamentals lay in finding the cause of the problem rather than a blanket, quick-fix solution. Interestingly, there was a section devoted to and encouraging 'attachments'. With new resolve, I sought the advice of family and friends and one day, my sister-in-law delivered a package that became an integral component of resolving Fern's sleep problems once and for all!
Fern's gift was a pink Flatout bear; an 100% Australian sheepskin shaped like a teddy bear. You might have seen them in magazines or boutiques:
I'd seen these bears around, but dismissed them as just another gimmick. But the night I introduced Fern's Flatout bear she slept.all.night. It was love at first sight. And now, the first thing she does when I lie her down in her cot is reach for her Flatout bear; she hugs him tightly and holds him over her face and if at any point I check on her throughout the night she is either holding onto him or he is draped over some part of her body. It is amazing! So now I am in love with these bears too. Thankyou sister-in-law!
I've decided to buy another of these bears and wrap him up for Fern to give our new baby when he/ she arrives. I also want to purchase something special for the new baby to give to Fern, but that's a dilemma for another occasion.
I think the interesting part of all this is my realisation that as a parent you cannot 'make' your child become attached to something. You can only provide opportunities and let your child decide for themselves what holds that special connection. In Fern's case, she's found something that makes her feel happy, safe and secure. And I hope he will last the distance to one day be stored away to show her own child... I only hope it is a little better made than mine to last the distance!
Does your child have something special they are attached to? Who introduced it to them, and at what point did they become attached to it? Do you still have your 'Ted' from your own childhood?? I'd love to see photos!