Wednesday, March 18, 2009

First friends

Do you remember your first friends? I do. We all had them so don't be shy. That little furry pal or fuzzy blanket you kept with you daily or nightly until you were in, oh, third grade? Maybe sixth grade or even junior high for some of you. I had a little monkey I can clearly remember carrying daily to and from daycare. I also had a Talking Smokey the Bear who told me "We don't play with matches" when I pulled his string. Yes, it was lightyears preceding the technological age we live in now. Our animals talked when you pulled a string. And among numerous other toys, I also had a stuffed Winnie the Pooh.

Your first friends went through it all with you and were often loved right down to the bare threads. In addition to my monkey, and bears, I also had a tiny t-shirt I wore in the hospital that came home with me, was tucked into bed with me nightly, AND was tucked under my pillow long into my adolescence. Admittedly, I made sure it was taken care of after I moved away.

My older brother had a bear he called Roger. Roger definitely made a few visits to our Mom's Office of First Aid with his sewn on button eyes and restitched sides. My brother can still tell you to this day Roger's whereabouts. Roger has lived a long and very observant life and I am sure we are all glad Roger can not speak up. My little brother loved CareBears and Pandas and had plenty. Recalling his sentimental attachment to those bears, I thought it would be fun to get him a Care Bear holiday ornament this year. Oh, the laughter never ends at our house.

When I was pregnant, my mom brought down a box from the attic of all sorts of first friends I had not seen in ages. There was monkey, Smokey, and Winnie. I had the grand idea that my little monkey would be a treasured gift to share with our child. Aware of the critters in the attic that may have spent time with monkey too, I put him in the washer. Little did I know they used mulch or sawdust to stuff toys back in the day and we could NOT get that monkey to dry out.

My husband feigned disappointment that our child would go without this toy. This once daily comrade of mine was, in his eyes, a now clean albeit soggy stuffed monkey that had been a sponge of my kid slobber for years and years and then put in a dusty box in the attic for two decades plus. Monkey never had a name, and might have been my only first friend without one.

He is fully dried out now (although I do believe it took about six months) and is resting on my nightstand of my room in my mom's house. When my Mom offered my old Winnie the Pooh to our son, knowing we couldnt get that thing clean either, we collectively declined. All the toys now feel as soft as freshly spun silk courtesy of the mulberry silkworm. Our toys as you remember were not quite so delicate.

Our man has his own first friends, although he seems to have exponentially more than I remember toting around. He knows them all by name including "big Elmo", "little Elmo" and "Elmo basket". However, only three made the Varsity team to sleep in his bed every night and of those three, he has his favorite. We had read many times how kids have favorite toys or "loveys" and we waited to see who he would choose. Cotton is his stuffed lamb and "B" is his teddy bear. And our little man treats them like real little people.

One morning after we got up, I asked our son if he was ready for breakfast, he said, "Wait Mommy, let me get my friends." And he reaches down to pick up B. and Cotton. B. rides to school with us, reads our books, tastes Lukes cereal (not my favorite) and goes on every overnight trip too.
And now I find myself doing Mommy First Aid for the first time on B.

B. has seen so much activity he has developed a tiny tear. It just happens to be on the seam right on his little bear tush. So our little asked me one day what happened to B. and I told him B. had a boo boo. Of course, you know what happened next. Our son handed B. to me and said "Kiss B.'s boo boo Mommy." So I have now had the opportunity to kiss a furry bear tush about 100 times. No more, that little tear got all doctored up today.
And when MiniMac decides he does not want to go downstairs and brush his teeth, I have learned all I need to say is "B is going to brush his teeth with your toothbrush, is that ok?" MiniMac races to join the fun. How long will this work? Well, let's just stretch it as long as we can. That is the power of first friends.

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