Monday, May 4, 2009

I said I'd write about stuffed animals


A few weeks ago, I woke up feeling like I was thrown out of a car. Now, I wake up in pain every morning, and it takes me a few hours to feel human enough to do anything, but this particular morning was a real horror show. I had three mornings like this in a row, and on the third day, I called my doctor because I couldn't take another minute of it. I had written fairly recently about getting over the feeling of "can't stand-itis" (which, technically speaking, would mean a swelling of can't stand, which actually, is quite apt). I thought I'd gotten over it. Ha. I was wrong. That kind of pain, well, I don't think anyone gets over it. On that third morning, as soon as I realized I was not dreaming, I started to cry.

It's okay, the crying and all, but I did go to the doctor and ask for a painkiller. I didn't want to, and I don't intend on doing this frequently. I woke up yesterday afternoon from a nap feeling pretty much the same way and I didn't need a painkiller. I've gotten into trouble with that stuff, as I'd imagine the majority of chronic pain sufferers do at some point, and I don't intend on having it happen again. Painkillers are terrible. They don't relieve severe pain until one is nearly unconscious, but they do keep you from caring about how you feel. And that leads to not caring about all sorts of other things, like doing the dishes, and getting dressed in the morning, and that leads to depression, and more pain. A brilliant vicious cycle.

But I digress. As usual.

I did get some painkillers, but I also got something else, and that other thing was a big surprise. As I was waiting for my prescription, I wandered the aisles of the small supermarket that thankfully has opened up not too far from me. There, in a big wire basket, were leftover Easter bunny rabbits. Not real rabbits, of course, but stuffed animals. Normally, I wouldn't even notice such a thing, or if I did, I'd dismiss it pretty quickly. After all, these were commercial stuffed animals, at a supermarket, and I'm a snob in certain areas. If I'm to like a stuffed animal, it's got to be an old one, or a handmade one, or something a bit off, made by an artist or craftsperson or dog eared and left behind. These were left behind, but they were 100% all fake made in China bright white creatures with boldly colored bows around their necks. But heck, some of them were cute. Really cute. I walked past them and on to the next aisle, and my heart ached just a little bit, for I felt sorry for them, past their due date and all, with no one to squeeze them to their breast and or carry them around by a hand, trailing along on a dusty street on Easter day. Poor guys. They were probably going to wind up in a carton somewhere in the dark, just waiting for next spring to roll along, or maybe they'd get shredded. I don't know what happens to generic Easter supermarket bunnies. I'd anthropomorphized the things so much by the time I got to the end of the next aisle, I didn't want to know. So, I went back and picked one up.

It was so soft I was surprised. I cradled it like a precious baby, brought it to the check out line, and bought it. And then, in the car, I gently placed it on my lap. I got choked up, felt like a fool, and drove home. The bunny had a good view of the landscape. I made sure of that.

Right now the bunny is sitting next to me. It had been sitting next to me, pretty much constantly, since that day, which was the day after Easter. When I felt badly, I held it in my arms. When I was cold, it warmed me. All the while, I felt silly and childish, 'cause what middle-aged woman cuddles a bunny in that manner? Crazy ones, that's who.

It got worse. I started sleeping with the bunny. I normally sleep with a pillow in front of my stomach. Why not put the bunny there? It looked lonely sleeping alone, after all, and besides, it was softer than my pillow. The odd thing is, I don't remember ever sleeping with a stuffed animal when I was a little kid. I surely must have at some point. I did have them, and I was a lonely kid. But maybe I didn't, or maybe it was so normal that the memory didn't stick.

The thing is, hugging a stuffed bunny is one thing, but spooning with it is another matter altogether. I started wondering if I was going overboard in my new found acceptance of childlike self nurturing. How would I know? No one talks about these things too freely.

But then I called my aunt. I happened to mention the bunny. I don't know why. Maybe it's because she's my go-to person for what's normal. She burst out laughing when I told her, but not because she thought owning a stuffed bunny was funny. It's that I had completely forgotten about her stuffed animal collection. She's got who-knows-how-many stuffed animals, and to top it off, I had just given her one for her birthday!

In my angst over thinking I'd regressed to the point of maybe needing some serious help, I had blocked this out. It's absurd, in retrospect. Just ridiculous.

I am loving the bunny. The bunny just said, "That doesn't sound like you really love me." Sorry, bunny. I'm a bit shy about saying I love you, okay?

If the bunny could move on its own, I'm sure it would turn it's back on me right now. But no, that's the pleasure of the stuffed animal. It's still sitting there, looking at me with it's endearing little face, looking for all the world like I'm it's favorite person on the planet (which I'm sure I am).

Unlike my cat, who can get up and leave my lap any time she wants, that bunny has to give me affection any time I want. It's soft and warm and cuddly and makes me feel good. If I'm in pain, I can squeeze it, and it won't scratch me, or get mad, or need to go take a pee.

It's probably good that we take these things away from kids at a certain point so they develop a need for human relationships, but I think that having a stuffed bunny to give an adult whatever kind of love that adult wants and needs, 24/7, is a great thing. I think it's so great, in fact, that I'm thinking of making some stuffed animals.

Oh dear. The minute I was near the end of that last sentence I felt guilty. What about this particular bunny's friends? All the ones whom I left in the store? What has happened to them? I don't want to know.

Go out and get yourself one. I highly recommend it.

Photo note: Obviously, this is not my stuffed bunny. I don't have a photo, so I figured I'd google "handmade eco friendly stuffed animals" and see what I got. That a "Kallisto" stuffed bear. If you want one, I can't recommend a good company, so google it yourself (or make your own).

Addendum: I've added a number of books about knitting, crocheting, and sewing stuffed animals to my LibraryThing.

8 comments:

jmcleod76 said...

I anthropomorphize stuffed animals, too. My mom bought me a stuffed bunny - I think for Easter - when I was in high school, and I slept with it all through college (roommates and all). I still have it, though it's pretty rough now. The vinyl "paws" are ripping off of his feet, and his ears are pinned on with safety pins. He lives in a closet now, with all of the other stuffed animals I've hoarded over the years, thinking that I'll give them to my kids someday.

I'm sure I would still find that rabbit - or some other stuffed creature - to be a comfort, except that now I have a small, warm puppy dog who always comes when he's called and is happy to stay with me for as long as I'll have him. That's what's good about dogs. Cat people say that makes dog people shallow. If so, then I'll accept the criticism, and keep my dog. It's worth it.

Julie H. Rose said...

I see no reason to consider the loyalty and affection of a dog to be shallow. What I wouldn't give for my cat to have some of a dog's personality.

I'd love to have a dog, but I have a serious problem with the way they smell, no matter how clean they are. Oh well.

BitterGrace said...

I have a lot of stuffed animals, including a teddy bear given to me when I was a month old. Periodically, I think I should give them away so some actual child can enjoy them--but hey, I'm going to die eventually and they can have them then, right?

TMC said...

Aww, Jules... I think that's sweet. Kids use them as a comfort so why not adults? Adult comforts are sometimes more destructive (eating, drinking, drugs, etc) when really a simple soft companion will do the trick.

DENISE said...

HI, WHERE DO I GET SNUGGLES AT? WHERE DO I GET THE SCRUBBING BUBBLE'S PEOPLE? WHERE DO I GET THE SERTA SLEEPER LAMBS AT? WHAT ABOUT ALL THE OTHER CUTE THINGS THAT ARE USED TO PROMOTE COMMERCIALS? PLEASE EMAIL ME BACK AND LET ME KNOW. THANK YOU VERY MUCH, RENNEA BURGESS. I LOVE STUFFED ANIMALS!!!!!!

DENISE said...

HI RENNEA BURGESS AGAIN, I LOVE STUFFED ANIMALS, ESPECIALLY FROGS, TOADS, TEDDY BEARS, ELMO, CHICKEN'S. ARE THERE ANY OF THESE AROUND IN ANY COMMERCIALS? THANK YOU VERY MUCH, RENNEA BURGESS.

Julie H. Rose said...

I don't know a thing about the stuffed animal market. Do a web search - a person can find anything!

TMC said...

I'm pretty sure that's a spambot, Jules. :)