When Toby was teeny…

…he didn’t gravitate toward stuffed animals. We had them around the house, but he ignored them all equally. I’d notice other babies dragging around faded blankets or teddy bears, but Toby seemed happy enough flying solo (or holding one of his toy cars).

Still, I remembered how much my siblings and I adored our loveys, and we wanted to help Toby to have something to cuddle at night, to bond with for years, to help him feel extra secure and cozy. So, on our beloved babysitter’s recommendation, we ordered him a pillow pet. Have you ever seen them? Honestly, they’re hideous. But she swore he would love it. (Wouldn’t this adorable bunny work just as well? I wondered. No, she said.)

So, the pillow pet it was. When it first arrived, Toby seemed indifferent. We just placed it in his crib and he fell asleep, no biggie. But the second night, he casually tossed an arm around it. And by third day, he buried his head in it, wrapped his arms around it, and lay squarely on top of it as he drifted off. Now they are best friends, totally in love; I secretly imagine that Pillow Pet waits all day with bated breath for Toby to come to bed so he can see his “Boy” again, just like the Velveteen Rabbit:)

“That night, and for many nights after, the Velveteen Rabbit slept in the Boy’s bed. At first he found it rather uncomfortable, for the Boy hugged him very tight, and sometimes he rolled over on him, and sometimes he pushed him so far under the pillow that the Rabbit could scarcely breathe….But very soon he grew to like it, for the Boy used to talk to him, and made nice tunnels for him under the bedclothes that he said were like the burrows the real rabbits lived in. And they had splendid games together, in whispers, when Nana had gone away to her supper and left the night-light burning on the mantelpiece. And when the Boy dropped off to sleep, the Rabbit would snuggle down close under his little warm chin and dream, with the Boy’s hands clasped close round him all night long…

…Weeks passed, and the little Rabbit grew very old and shabby, but the Boy loved him just as much. He loved him so hard that he loved all his whiskers off, and the pink lining to his ears turned grey, and his brown spots faded. He even began to lose his shape, and he scarcely looked like a rabbit any more, except to the Boy. To him he was always beautiful, and that was all that the little Rabbit cared about. He didn’t mind how he looked to other people, because the nursery magic had made him Real, and when you are Real shabbiness doesn’t matter.”

To Toby, this guy is one of the great beauties of all time.

Do your little ones have a lovey? Did your child naturally gravitate toward one, or did you encourage it? Funny how Toby just kind of learned to love it. I’d love to hear your experiences…