Tuesday, January 10, 2012

...and the answers to the stuffed-animal guessing game!

Okay, so I had all of these photos already in here, but hadn't written anything to go with them. In the last post I said that "nothing had expired." None of the animals have changed much in less than a year, so that part was true, but some of the children sure have! Still, if I wait until I've taken new photos, I'll never post anything, and my four faithful readers will be desperately sad at having been left in the lurch, so here goes with the answers.

I gave a ridiculously easy clue for this one. Arnold the Lion is the newest addition because he was a gift to our newest human, Elisabeth. We often (not always, but often) name our cuddly toys after the giver, and sometimes the animals even keep those names. Arnold was given to us by a whole family, and Gary-Elisabeth-John-Rebecca would be a bit of a long name for a little lion, so we just called him after their last name. Elisabeth doesn't look much like this photo anymore (it was taken when she was 10 months old and now she's 19 months old!) She knows very well that Arnold is hers and makes that very clear to any potential lion-nappers.

When Katie was two years and nine months old, she and I flew to the U.S. for one week to spend time with my paternal grandma, who didn't have long to live. (She died not quite four months later.) We also spent as much time as possible with my maternal grandparents, and it was that Grandma (so Katie's Great-Grandma) who gave her this bear. This bear has gone through many names, was known as Purple-a (the spelling was explained to me: that "hypen a" was extremely important) at the time when I took these photos. I don't know if that's the bear's name right now, but everyone in the house does know that this is Katie's-bear-from-Great-Grandma-and-don't-touch-it.

When Helen was born, she was given the usual far-too-large array of toys from many generous friends. None of my children have ever become totally inseparable from any given toy, but Judy-Rabbit (which is her full name, but I couldn't say that in the clues, because that would have given it away!) is the closest we've come. Helen loves Judy-Rabbit, and yes, she still goes by that name.

Lukas's best friend in Germany, Florian, has had quite a few health problems over the years. In the quest to find out what's going on, he's spent too much time in the hospital for a small boy, and had too much blood drawn. Instead of getting used to it, he was being less and less cooperative. About three and a half years ago, his mother asked if she could take Lukas along for Florian's next trip to the hospital. The boys had a great time together and each of them received a bear. No, I do not know why the bear's name is John. Lukas has also named earthworms and ants John and has said that if he gets a hamster, it will be called John. Anyway, John-the-bear is much more than a toy, he's also an important tangible link to Florian.

Jörn's great-aunt, known to everyone as Bö, lived with us for just over three years, from when Marie was four and a half months old. When Marie was ten months old, she and I flew to the U.S. for my dad's 50th birthday. We telephoned home regularly while we were there, and Jörn faithfully related all of the anecdotes about Marie to Bö, who missed Marie very much. Marie was fascinated by my parents' cats, so Bö asked Jörn to go get a toy cat for Marie. This is Snowball. (And Marie has changed more in the last nine months than I had realized before seeing this photo!!) 

My paternal grandma gave me Cubby for my 12th birthday. I liked him just fine, but it was when I was 14 and stopped wearing contact lenses for a year and wore glasses instead, that Cubby came into his own. He was the perfect pillow for me to lie on my side and read, without the earpiece of my glasses squishing into my face. I got contacts again a year later, but by that time, there was no way I was letting Cubby leave my bed. He traveled with me to Costa Rica, Mexico, Germany, and all the flights in between here and there and everywhere else. One time, around the age of 22, I dropped him in an airport without realizing it. (I didn't want him to suffocate, of course, so he wasn't IN my carry-on, but on TOP of it, under the handle.) Someone walking towards me said that someone behind me was trying to get my attention, so I turned, and a very proper looking man in a business suit was holding Cubby up by two fingers. As I gratefully walked back towards him, I heard him saying, "Lady, you dropped your, um..." He is now a rather flat lion, I have to admit. When Jörn and I got married, Jörn wasn't too happy about the idea of Cubby sharing our bed, so after the wedding, Cubby went back to Costa Rica (that was his sixth trip, I think) with my host parents, who had been at our wedding in California. After nearly three years as an exchange lion (so having spent far more time in a Latin American country than I have--I'm so jealous!), we brought him home with us when Marie was a baby. I guess with all the children in our bed anyway, Jörn doesn't mind a lion so much anymore.

Jacob was very into pillows when he was a toddler, and also very into taking Marie's toys. I have hardly ever bought toys of any description for any of my children, but I did buy this turtle pillow for Jacob, I think when he was around a year and a half old. (Maybe for Christmas?) He instantly loved it, and although he doesn't exactly do a whole lot with his stuffed animals anymore, Ben (no, I don't know why he's named Ben) is still very much his and lives on his bed. And when I asked Jacob if I could take a photo of him with Ben, he said yes, he was willing, but Ben was only willing if he could play the guitar.

I have no idea when or where Jörn got Garfield, but Garfield was in his life before I was. As was pasta. Come to think of, considering that Jörn wouldn't allow a mere lion in our bed at first, it's interesting what an array of animals lives on his side of the bed now. Garfield, of course, and a miniature Popple that I gave him, as well as a small, ancient teddy bear, and Leo the Lion often spends time there. (Leo actually belongs to Lukas, but every once in awhile, Lukas says that he doesn't want him anymore and gives him to Papa. I haven't ever quite understood that.) My side of the bed only has Cubby. And Elisabeth and Arnold. And several pillows. And about 15 books.

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