On Winning the War With the Stuffed Animals

stuffed animalI don’t know that I believe in miracles. I’m too much of a cynic. But every once in awhile, even I have to admit that magical, miraculous things can happen.

Take this past weekend. While I was out for the afternoon, photographing a wedding, my husband took it upon himself to convince our daughter that she should clean her room. Brave? You haven’t heard the half of it.

Without even me there to back him up, this man among men broached the subject of finally purging the stuffed animal bin, or as parents tend to call it, the bin of dust and germs that multiplies like bunnies as we sleep.

It starts out innocently enough. At your baby shower, you are gifted these stuffed creatures so soft and squishy that you, yourself, are enchanted. Maybe it’s all the hormones talking (correction, it absolutely is all the hormones talking), but you pull them close to your giant belly and ponder aloud just why it is we adults don’t sleep with stuffed animals. To ourselves, we consider taking a few of the baby’s newest toys to bed with us that very night.

Little do we know that these cuddly treasures are soon to take over our lives, reproducing like creatures in one of those late night alien movies that you shouldn’t have watched when you were home alone.

Friends arrive at the hospital to welcome baby with stuffed animals on hand.

Friends arrive at the house to greet the new little person with stuffed animals on hand.

Christmas. Valentine’s Day. Easter. Every holiday brings, you guessed it, more animal-shaped blobs of fabric that are “spot clean only” and absolutely begging to be dragged along to the mall and other germ-ridden spots before taken to bed and snuggled close to your heretofore healthy toddler.

As they age, so too do the stuffed critters. The white ones that anyone who has ever spawned a crayon-wielding, Play Doh loving human should have known were a bad idea from the start turn a dingy grey. The black ones, somehow, fade to the same color.

And every one becomes precious to your child, or at least will seem so the moment you suggest it go visit a farm where there are poor little kids who really don’t have a stuffed Santa that sings the first three lines of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and only the first three lines, over and over and over again. That is when they will throw themselves at your feet, grasping the hems of your pants, tears streaming down your face, as they beg for you to just please let them keep Santa and oh, that stuffed bunny the dog mauled two weeks ago can surely be sewed, right Mom?

It gets to the point where you find excuses to rid your house of these treasures. Kid next door has pink eye? By all means, invite him over, and have him get real up close and personal with that singing hamster that is really not at all cuddly and kind of looks like a drowned rat!

This is what my husband was up against this past weekend.

And this is why I’m calling the nine or 10 stuffed animals now headed for a landfill (sorry, but the children’s hospitals really don’t want these kind of toys anymore) a minor miracle.

Of course, there are still 156 or so left, but if you know a kid with pink eye …

 

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