Sunday, 17 March 2013

Are you a Big Softie?

Rufus: he can growl
Rufus looks after the stamps in our home whereas Mr Slow Joe skulks in the teenage debris of H's room.  On the chair in our bedroom, Noel and Bunny like to snuggle up and Wobbly Head Ted sits on top of a pile of L's sporting paperbacks. Yes, you've guessed it, these are just a few of the soft toys that reside in the Little House.  We seem to have more than our fair share of inanimate friends;  bears, elephants, sheep, sloths, whales and pandas - they're all here in wholly unnatural form and colour.
L trying to deal with just a few of  the toys!

Being the youngest, S has the greatest collection as she has inherited many of her sister's toys and then, just when I'd convinced her to have a cull and had carted off a whole bin bag full to the charity shop, along came a new intake of pre-loved Beanie Babies donated by a kindly friend. I groaned as each new toy was lovingly taken out and placed in a more and more crowded pile on her bed.

Wobbly Head Ted ( his head is only hanging
 on by a thread!)

I don't really understand the appeal of Beanie Babies and I hate the feel of their horrible beanie tummies! A quick search on the internet though reveals a whole frenzied market of collectors and some are surprisingly valuable.  We could have any number of valuable Beanie assets but I don't think we'll ever rightly know as most of the necessary tags seem to have been mysteriously removed or defaced by chewing!

The girls also went through a worrying Build-a-Bear phase. If you are not familiar with this popular brand then all I can say is think Willy Wonka but with stuffing instead of chocolate.  The full experience of the Build-a-Bear workshop is disturbing, and draining...on your finances. Once sucked in to the brightly lit room by the grinning yellow-shirted assistants you are led over to the piles of 'skins'.  These are the empty shells of future furry companions. Once chosen, the new owner is encouraged to add a red satin heart to put inside teddy's chest before the final stitching takes place; for a further charge you can even add a beating heart - oh, the whole Edgar Allen Poe horror of it all!  The giant stuffing machine, operated by a clown-sized foot pedal, brings the plush piles to life and the birth is registered online and a certificate produced. On my first visit I had already begun to hyper-ventilate at this point when I realised that escape was still not in sight as the girls did not want to have the first naturist Build-a-Bear and ran around the shop grabbing insane clothing which I seem to remember included sunglasses, pyjamas and red sparkly shoes among other things.

A Build-a-Bear Wedding 

Why is it that when it comes to toys, all too often our children are tempted by the very antithesis of what we would like to buy for them?  I loathe commercial toy productions, primary and neon colours and the whole film/tv tie-ins that dominate the toy market.  S was lucky enough to go to a Steiner-inspired playgroup and  I was enchanted by the simple wooden toys and Waldolf dolls.  We still have many of these beautiful keepsake toys in our home and I'm hoping that the traditional will prevail.

 Personally, I love knitted toys and I have to confess that Noel and Bunny are in fact mine.  Bunny has been with me for over 40 years and I couldn't part with him (or considering the pink trousers is it a her?) And Noel, well my mother bought him for me the Christmas before last, just going to prove  that we do not tire of buying soft toys for our loved ones no matter how old they are. 

Bunny & Noel 
Do you still have a treasured soft toy?  Who are the softies in your house? 


  1. What a great display of softies! We all have them in our family. Blue Ted is my eldest's favourite (now 22 the same as him) he went off to university with him and is currently travelling in India! Julie x

  2. I have a couple left over from childhood which I have passed onto the girls. Ben also has one that he passed onto Blackburn. We try to keep the stuffed animals to a minimum.

  3. Build a bear has always given me the heeby jeebies.....stuffing the skin and putting in a heart :-/

    I gave my beloved knitted toys to me DD and they were rejected :( I was so upset. So they are back with me now.