Friday, December 14, 2007

We Favor Rejects

As a child we've each had our favorite stuffed animal from time to time.  Not unlike the rest of us, our babies have each happened to fall in love with bunnies, but not just any bunnies.  Please let me explain my bewildered state of mind over their choice in childhood loves.

The first animal my daughter, Spider Monkey, fell in love with was a scrawny pink bunny my mother had sent as an extra little something in an Easter-themed gift box.  I loved everything in the box, but that ugly cheap bunny.  It wasn't your really soft and cuddly top of the line version of a stuffed animal and came attached with wires in its ears to keep them positioned straight up in the air.  She had so many other really lovely and expensive stuffed animals already that I admit I was very tempted to throw the scraggly thing out, but I never got the chance.  She grabbed onto those ears and didn't let got for years.  In almost every picture of her from that time until the age of 4 or 5 she's dragging that bunny around behind her.  The wires gave out and ended up in balls at the base of the ears closest to the head, the color is faded after many many a wash but is still recognizable as pink, though I can't say that for the ribbon around her neck except that it hasn't been lost, and the fur is just as scraggly as it was the first day we got it but hasn't sustained any rips or bare spots.  This bunny has lost it's "favorite" position in her long line of stuffed animals, but has a prime position on her bed every night none the less.

When Squirrel Monkey was just and infant we were invited over to a professors house who had two girls and a basement stacked to the ceiling with boxes of cloths.  She littered her living room floor with box after box of cloths and even though we left with bags of clothing I failed to make a noticeable dent in her collection.  In a last attempt to create some space in her home she pulled out a box of baby toys as we were opening the door to leave.  Already a house who had seen one baby and knowing there were more baby toys than I, myself, could store awaiting me at my own home I tried to pry the rest of my family away from the box.  If you think it's hard prying a 3-year-old away from a box of toys, try prying a grown man away from one.  He was set on bringing home a large connectivity set with marbles and things and last, but not least, a white and pink bunny with an elastic strap on its head that squeaked sweetly when bounced up and down.  I laugh at myself when I recall the fight I put up over this tiny addition to our family.  Again, my thought was the space in my tiny student-sized house and the many other possibilities of stuffed animals already existing at our house that in time she could fall in love with.  It is rare that my man will put his oar in with regards to anything baby, so I relented and stuffed the thing in one of the bags in exchange for leaving the clutter of maze pieces and marbles behind.  Once home he dug through those bags and pulled out the stuffed bunny enchanting her into a long relationship with the bunny.  This bunny remains her favorite stuffed animal and sleeps in her arms every night to this day.  It was once forgotten at her grandparents lake cabin in Montana and the adventure is etched in the annals of our family.  The elastic strap used to bounce her up and down still serves its purpose even though it has given up its elastic abilities, the squeaker still squeaks just as pleasantly as the first time we heard it, though the thin fabric encasing it and its sea of beads is threadbare and almost see-through and the soft face has been kissed so many times on its nose that all the softness has disappeared leaving a bare patch of fabric which is still kissed long and hard regardless.

With the knowledge that my babies each had an affinity for bunnies I was determined not to let my third choose her own undesirable version.  I was 9-months pregnant and on a mission to find a beautiful stuffed bunny for my baby to attach herself to.  I waddled the mall up and down with tot, Squirrel Monkey, in tow.  For hours I wandered from one store to the next in search of the perfect bunny for my baby until I found a snuggly soft white Ty bunny.  The bunny came to the hospital with us and snuggled her from birth, but as the months wore on she showed no particular interest in the softness or the sweetness of this hard sought after bunny.  Still, we brought the bunny with us to the Netherlands and I continued my efforts.  Our new friends here began donating bags of toys and clothing (accepted gratefully since we came with only a few suitcases of cloths for our whole family) and after I let the children sift through and play with everything I started pulling aside the toys they didn't seem to take an interest in.  One of the items I tucked away into a reject box was a small yellow bunny with an ugly plaid bow, but wouldn't you know that would be the one item all three of my children lamented over when it went missing.  The big sisters scavenged the house until they found my hidden reject box and pulled that bunny right back out and presented it to the littlest of our monkeys, who welcomed it back with open and eager arms.  They've been inseparable since.  And my beautiful and soft white bunny?  I have not given up complete hope.  She tends to sleep with both in her arms, but when she cries out in tears, "Bunny!!!", we all know she's calling for the little yellow one.  I foresee the short rough fur taking a beating in the washing machine for many years to come without affect and possibly the ugly plaid bow will eventually fade into something more becoming or happen to get lost somewhere between washing machine and baby arms . . .

1 comment:

daphne said...

Oh.. this is such a sweet story! I can see the three of them with their bunnies - and i probably have, but now, when i come to see it again, it will have so much more meaning.
love, daphne