I've not read the finslippy blog in several weeks--but I went there this afternoon and found this heart-wrenching story about little Henry and his lost "Minty Bear." Having a little son who is equally attached to a stuffed animal he has had since infancy (Turtle--perhaps you've met him?), I was just so touched by Alice's description of Minty Bear and Henry's relationship with her (incidentally, Arlo's Turtle is a "he")--not to mention her blisteringly accurate description of the smell of the beloved bear. I'm pretty sure you have to be a parent to understand how the scent of dried spit and toddler pee can be endearing, but trust me. It can.
We've had a couple of close calls this week. Arlo left Turtle on a bench at the Rec Center on Tuesday when we were there for swimming lessons . . . but we went back an hour or so later and found Turtle still sitting there. Last night, Turtle was nearly lost under a table in the restaurant where we ate. We searched and searched, and Ted retraced our steps back through the Farmer's Market to the car, returning empty-handed. Luckily, we didn't give up. Turtle had fallen behind a booth bench, against a wall--not the table where we were sitting. Whew!
How beautiful that Henry and Alice found a successor. I hope that Henry will grow to love New Minty as much as he did the original.
For our part, as soon as we realized that Turtle was going to be an important member of our family (Arlo was maybe six months old), I went right to the Web and Googled the info from Turtle's tag, finding and ordering an identical turtle, in case the worst should happen. For months, Arlo used the two Turtles interchangeably, but gradually--almost imperceptibly at first--he began to show a marked preference for one over the other. Naturally, his favorite is the grungier, more threadbare, and, of course, smellier of the two. This is, obviously, a situation that perpetuates itself.
The best part about it? He calls the stinky, worn, more deeply loved Turtle "Clean Turtle." Not because he actually thinks it's cleaner--but because he understands that clean is good, and dirty is bad, and he most certainly must refer to the preferred Turtle in the most positive terms available.
I hope to be able to follow up on this post by adding a photo of Clean Turtle and/or Arlo with Clean Turtle, as soon as I get a chance. In the mean time, here's a picture of what Turtle looked like when he was brand-new: