The Princess is a fairly typical toddler, I’d say. She’s full of endless energy, she’s sociable, very chatty, she has tantrums, can shatter glass at a thousand paces with her screams of defiance, and has the ability to hit a chosen target 20 feet away with her breakfast dishes when she decides that porridge was not what she wanted for breakfast after all. Even though she marched into the kitchen and chose it herself. She loves to play outside no matter what the weather is doing, she loves painting and drawing, she loves to sing songs and read stories, and she has a gazillion toys.
For her second birthday she received a trike, a little kitchen, various sticker books, a box of crafting stuff, a huge Aquadoodle, magnetic drawing boards, books…you get the idea. All these gifts are loved and well-used, as are all the dolls and teddy bears that have been accumulated over the last 25 months and reside in her toy box. She loves to play with lots of these toys, and is enjoying lots of imaginative play with them. She carries various dollies around on her hip, puts them to bed, cooks dinner for them in her kitchen, berates them in a fashion that is a little too familiar (I do not like hearing my own words come out of her mouth) and since Little Pea came along, she has been pretending to breastfeed them.
Despite many of her soft toys being around since her birth, and despite my attempts at enforcing bedtimes with different ultra-soft, floppy-limbed characters (all of whom invariably end up spending the night on her bedroom floor), she has never had a favourite toy; no-one that she clings to and needs to know where they are at all times.
While rummaging through the spare room at my parents’ house a couple of weeks ago, The Princess discovered a trunk full of old toys that belonged to my sister and I. She found a little bear who belonged to me, and who is now around 24 years old. She named him Scruffy, and she hasn’t put him down since she rescued him from the teddy bear scrapheap. Her first question in a morning is now “Where’s Scruffy?”. Scruffy and The Princess are officially BFFs.
I realise now that my attempts at trying to get The Princess to love Bunny as much as I love Bunny were futile (but seriously, Jellycat, how do you make your toys that soft and that adorable?!). Encouraging her to play with ragdolls, baby-dolls, large bears, small bears, panda bears was all a waste of time, because in the end, it was up to her to find The One. And she found him buried under a load of other toys who belonged to her mother and who are all a quarter of a century or more old. They say you find love when you least expect it, and I think I can see a childhood full of happiness and adventures for Scruffy and The Princess.