In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Toy Story.”
It was wonderful. With lush velvet legs, button eyes and a squishy tummy that went squeak, I was instantly attached to my new teddy bear. I received it for my 5th or maybe 6th birthday from my Uncle Dom. I named him Winchin and he went everywhere with me from that day forward.
I’m not sure where the name came from. I think “win” was for Winnie the Pooh, whom I used to watch on Sunday nights on CBS, and “chin” because it rhymed with “win.” I didn’t realize it wasn’t a real name. I used to play a game where I asked my father how to say names in Italian. I would ask for my name, my sister’s, my brother’s, the dog and of course, my beloved, Winchin. My father would say that it wasn’t a real name and there was no Italian equivalent for it. That did not sit well with me and I insisted it was a real name, but I never did get an Italian version for it. Perhaps, Winchinetto, with the “ch” pronounced as a “k” as it is in italian. Although, I googled it and Winnie the Pooh is Winnie the Pooh in Italian, so Winchin, perhaps would still be Winchin.
When I said: he went everywhere with me from that day forward, I wasn’t kidding. He is currently residing in a shoebox in my closet. His button eyes and any facial details are long gone. His squeaky stomach is shredded and has been sewn back together twice with a jumper and a shirt from a doll. When I was a teenager, my mother would chide me to throw that thing away and she’d call him “Fall-Apart Frank,” much to my chagrin. I guess in modern-day terms you could say he was my “lovey.” I had many other stuffed animals and dolls over the years. At one time, Winchin had a giant dog called Madison and a plastic bear friend named Billy. They have both fallen to the wayside along with others that have come and gone. Winchin was special and I repaired him over the years. When he could no longer be repaired, I retired him to a shoebox with a special pillow and a blanket. He has moved with me several times, always in the shoebox, and always hidden away in my bedroom closet. It kind of sounds aberrant as I type it up now, but that is my one childhood toy I cannot let go of.
I recently took him out of retirement to show to my son. He liked him. Despite my husband and I agreeing not to have stuffed animals he has hundreds of them. I returned the ones we received when he was a baby, except for a large giraffe and a teddy bear. However, he received others as gifts when he got older, won some at fairs and carnivals and bought some on vacations. He is very attached to them, but usually chooses 1-3 to be his ‘entourage’ along with his blankie. I received Blankie, a crib blanket, at my baby shower. It became my son’s lovey and remains so till this day. I have recently had to repair him as it was wearing thin at the tag, my son’s favorite part. I look at my son with his blanket and think of Linus from the Peanuts. At 8 years old, I think he’s getting too big for a security blanket. But, then I think of Winchin and imagine one day Blankie will be tucked away in a shoebox in a closet.
The internets say a lovey is a transitional object to help a young child cope with separation anxiety. My child never had separation anxiety. As soon as he could crawl he moved away from me and found other laps to climb on to. I am sure however, both Winchin and Blankie are comfort items to help us cope with whatever is our deal in life. When my son was a toddler, I had a “back-up” Blankie and when he napped I would replace one with the other and wash one. When he went off to Nursery school, worried that he would be upset without his Blankie, I cut up the spare blanket and gave him a small square of it to tuck away in his backpack. He wasn’t interested in it. He just kissed Blankie at the door and said good-bye. I actually know when my 8 year-old is sick or stressed these days, because there he is holding Blankie! Now, I don’t take Winchin out of the closet and cuddle with him. Not even when I’m having a bad day. He’s just there, stored away, taking up space. I just can’t bring myself to toss him away.
What does that say about me? Is it that I have not transitioned out of childhood? Or am I still attached to my anxieties? Do you or your child have a lovey that you are still attached to?