It started with just one – Buster – a cuddly beagle my aunty bought me before I even had kids and which Harry nicked at an early age. After a couple of years, Harry slept with maybe five teddies. Then Joe was born. Harry picked a soft toy for him at the hospital – a rat (let’s try not to read too much into that, eh?). Then there was the press trip to Build-a-Bear. And of course we couldn’t go to Disneyland Paris and not buy a Mickey and a Minnie, could we? (When Harry saw the photo above, he said, “But Minnie is naked there!”)
We can trace Harry and Joe’s various obsessions by looking through the toy pile. Mater (Cars). Wurly (Moshi Monsters). Agent P (Phineas & Ferb). Spongebob. The Olympics. There’s a Pokemon hiding away in the bottom right-hand corner. Any wild animal will no doubt have come out of a payment to WWF after one or both of the boys saw a heart-tugging advert on TV. There’s even an enormous Hello Kitty that they bought for me and immediately snaffled for themselves.
They play with these toys a lot. They rename them for various games. (The rat Harry bought for Joe before he was born? He “plays” Patrat in Pokemon. A rabbit toy of mine is Pokemon’s Buneary. Hello Kitty is Vanellope in Wreck-It Ralph.) They carry a bunch of them everywhere they go. Lately, leaving the house has involved negotiating how many “friends” they can take. The boys want to take at least five each. I worry about losing them and aim for one to carry, the rest to stay in the car. We generally agree they can carry two. Or sometimes three. More often than not I end up carrying them. I take a spare bag, just in case.
But what’s it all about? Is it healthy to be so attached to toys? I worry that the toy obsession increased when Harry stopped going to school. Is he replacing real school friends with plush toys?! I asked him. He rolled his eyes and said he just loves soft toys. Fur enough. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
What do you think? Does your child have a toy obsession? Do you have a limit on the number of teddies they can have?