Toddler Tales: Cuddly Hand-Me-Downs

31/07/2012 15:53 | Updated 22 May 2015
Diana from Toddler Tales cuddling her favourite soft toyD cuddles up to Weesty

When my mother used to hoard every bit of children's clothing, toy, doll and work of art I ever made, stuffing them into overflowing wardrobes that my current clothes would then struggle to fit into, I remember asking her: 'What's the point? Let's just get rid of this junk.'

And she'd look at me, horrified, and say: 'One day you'll have a daughter and you'll be so grateful that I saved all of these things for her.' While most of my frothy dresses and childhood knick knacks have sadly disappeared into the ether over the years, some have remained. And of course my mother was right: there's no better feeling than passing them on to Diana and seeing her put her own mark on them.

Take Weesty. Weesty is my enormous stuffed white teddy bear, who I can remember having my whole life. He was married to my doll Krystle (Carrington, of Dynasty fame) and at one point his name was changed to Blake Carrington because my mother watched Dynasty all the time and I thought it would be sophisticated and romantic to name my toys after TV characters. Cheesy, yes. In my defence, I was five at the time.

Weesty's the dream toy for a small child. His body is soft and wonderful to hug and he is so big that I remember seeing pictures of myself dragging Weesty around my apartment when I was six years old, and Weesty was still somehow twice the size of me, which is great because he helps kids feel protected. When I was little and staying at my grandmother's house - Weesty wasn't allowed to come since he's too massive to fit in most bags - after speaking with my mum, I'd ask to speak to Weesty, and, good sport that my mother was, would hear strange guttural sounds and noises from the other end of the line that made me giggle with delight. Weesty was safe and missed me as much as I missed him.

It's now D's turn to fall in love with Weesty, and she already has. Even though she isn't strong enough to lift him by herself, she insists on bringing him into every room of the house with her and loves flinging him on the floor just to jump on top of him and give him a really good snuggle. She also likes to use him as a chair, propping him up against the edge of her cot for a comfy seat during nightly story time. It's adorable.

Whatever D enjoys, Bolshy does too, so he's also taken a liking to Weesty. Unfortunately, his sign of affection has been chewing Weesty's paw to pieces so the stuffing of one foot is coming out. He's also not allowed to be alone with Weesty any more after an unfortunate incident where he mistook Weesty for a female paramour and tried to mount him. Thankfully D was napping at the time.

D doesn't seem to mind that Weesty's 'injured' as long as he's sitting next to her at meals, waiting in bed to cuddle her to sleep and holding her hand as she makes the rounds of the house scavenging for tacky plastic rings and mummy's shoes. She even drags Weesty out to the garden to get some sunshine. She's bonded with Weesty and he makes her feel safe and secure for now, but what worries me is what happens when D decides that Weesty needs to start making excursions with us out of the house. Imagining myself struggling to get the buggy and Weesty onto the tube gives me the chills.

The thing is, there never was a replacement for Weesty in my childhood. He was one of a kind. Now Weesty has even more street cred, thanks to decades of experience and a cosmopolitan outlook courtesy of a childhood in NY and his adult life lived in London. He's a dream toy for me as well as D - still amazing to cuddle with, possessing a charming vintage, pre-loved quality, and best of all, free. In the words of epic poet J-Lo, love don't cost a thing.

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