Friend or foe? Lovely plaything or frivolous attachment? Adorable or creepy? Stuffed animals mean so many different things to so many different people…even different things to the same person at different times in his or her life. Welcome to another installment of Point/Counterpoint, wherein I debate the merits of stuffed animals with a younger (possibly wiser) version of myself.
Sara Roan, age 11
While I don’t see stuffed animals as imperative to my life, I understand that since I have acquired them, they are under my care. They are my responsibility. So, though I don’t necessarily LOVE stuffed animals generally, I do love MY stuffed animals in particular, and I want to make sure they know they are loved.
In order to accomplish this, I take several precautions. First, I make sure all twenty of my animals are on the bed with me at night. This requires that I don’t move at all in my sleep—you can’t let one fall off, only sit alone on the rug for hours. That seems like the loneliest way to spend the night, doesn’t it? Of course, there are nights when I feel as if I must be by myself on the bed, in which case it is acceptable to line them all up against the wall together. When I choose this option, however, I have to be sure to give them all a kiss goodnight so they know I care about them. And if I happen to give one a bigger kiss than another, I have to go back and kiss some more to make sure everyone’s love is even. It’s only fair.
How do I think this relationship will evolve as I get older? That’s a great question. Stuffed animals really aren’t a good look on an adult, and certainly not twenty of them. That is why I’ve decided to start storing the bulk of mine in a garbage bag in the attic. I will rotate a few at a time to my bedroom so each of them can feel at least a little love. I can put them on a windowsill or something, out of the way. This will last until I have my own children, at which time I can divide the animals up amongst them (after explaining the proper procedure of care, of course).
In conclusion, stuffed animals are not for the irresponsible and not for the aged. What self-respecting adult would have them on his or her bed? Mine, however, will be with me or in my family forever. That’s just a fact.
Sara Roan, age 28
Well, Young Sara, one stuffed animal made it past childhood. Big Headed Bear is still holding strong on the bed—joined by a couple new players. I have absolutely no idea how I feel about being close to thirty years old with stuffed animals on my bed. Actually I do: not proud. But them’s the facts.
While I still think the old “garbage bag in the attic until I have my own kids” method could work, my garbage bag found itself given to a church fair. I found out when I entered said fair and was in such a frenzy to right the wrong I bought back my least favorite of the bunch, leaving Baby Miss Piggy to fend for herself. So, Young Sara, you have that to look forward to.
It’s all for the best, though, because don’t you want to give your children new stuffed animals that are just for them? And then maybe only a handful—fighting for fresh air under twenty of them piled on top of you is never ideal.
I don’t see children in my near future, but the fact that I still have the animals on my bed makes me a bit nervous. How can I expect to be able to handle having kids if I brought a medium-sized Thumper home from Disney World? I suppose those two things are not mutually exclusive, but they don’t feel right together.
I’ll work on it.