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For the longest time we wondered if our son was going to become sweetly yet unreasonably attached to an inanimate object better known in mom-land as a lovey. Would it be his soft yellow blanket lined with silk? What about the plush bunny his aunt bought him at the Grand Canyon? Heck, maybe it’d be something a little less soft like a toy train.
Turns out a little critter did make his way to my son’s heart.
Turns out it’s more hilarious, more adorable and more telling of his originality than any lovey I could have ever selected for him.
Turns out it was a pink bear.
And way back when he looked like this.
Let’s examine this for a second. Pink and white fur with a lace heart that says to that special someone “My Honey.” I imagine this bear was a $4.99 Valentine’s Day special at Walgreens one year, don’t ya think?
Everyone we meet is always curious how a rough and tumble boy ended up with such …well… pink lovey. Here’s the short of it: When we lived in Phoenix, our little one went to a home daycare. Around the time he turned one, when we’d arrived at daycare in the morning he’d run up to a shelf of toys and grab this bear. His teacher proclaimed that the pink bear was his favorite and he’d walk around with it all day.
So when the time came to move from Arizona to North Carolina last year, she bestowed upon him the bear as a going-away gift. Little did she know just how much that bear meant to him.
From then on, the bear has been my son’s constant companion. About a month after he became the official owner of such an unsuspecting treasure, my son officially dubbed him “Burt.” We aren’t sure where the name came from, but there you have it. The pink bear was now simply Burt.
Just how attached is my son to Burt?
He sleeps with Burt tucked under his elbow… he holds Burt over his face when he’s feeling shy… he extends Burt to people he meets when he’s NOT feeling shy… he gets up really close to Burt’s face and wiggles Burt’s head while laughing with a squeal… he lets Burt take the first bite of food when he isn’t sure he’s gonna like it… let’s face it, the kid is insanely attached to this pink bear.
Every kid in his daycare class knows Burt. So do all the teachers. He doesn’t actually carry Burt around during the day much anymore at home or at daycare. In fact, he’s in my son’s cubby when I arrive to pick him up after work. But Burt is the first thing he wants when I walk in the classroom. Even before I get a hug, Burt has got to be let out of his cubby cage. It’s endearing and hilarious at the same time. He is the lovey of all loveys that pink bear. And here’s what he looks like after a year or so of rough-and-tumble love (on a good day).
When we go out in public, it’s quite interesting how people react when they see my son clutching a pink bear. We mostly get the people who smile and laugh, not to ridicule, but in a loving sort of way. They think it’s absolutely adorable that our son is fascinated by a pink bear. But we sometimes get snide comments like “my husband would DIE if my son’s favorite toy was a bear.” Really, would he really DIE? Is he that insecure that he’s ashamed his son carries a PINK bear? Wow, can’t wait to hear what happens when your son wants to try out for band instead of play on the football team.
I mean, seriously, my biggest fear isn’t the made-up conclusions that strangers come to about my parenting skills because I let my son carry around a pink bear.
My biggest fear is that Burt is deteriorating rapidly.
He gets washed nearly every week on “hand wash” but I still can’t keep the little guy from the inevitable- clumpy, tattered and discolored fur that looks like shows just how much he’s been loved so far. He’s even had a hole sewn up once by Grandma. And his token “my honey” heart is now detached and rests somewhere on my son’s bedroom floor. It’s not like I could have stocked up on Burt look-a-likes, ya know? For better or worse, Burt is simply irreplaceable.
What is this mama going to do when Burt falls apart in the oh-so-gentle hand wash cycle? Or worse, what if I leave him in the store shopping cart all alone, only to be tossed in the trash by some gum-chomping teenager who has no idea what that bear means to this little child? Yep, those are my worst fears… that Burt will leave my son before my son is ready to leave him.
And so I wash him in a net sack so he’s less likely to fray in the wash. I guard him fiercely when we’re out and about. I’m quickly scoop him up when he falls onto wet asphalt in a dirty parking lot. All to give my little guy a little more time with Burt. So maybe, just maybe, Burt will ride out all his glory days as a lovey… until my son moves on.