There are so many magical moments when raising a newborn, because for our little guy, everything is new, everything is a first! We never thought that baby’s first toy would be anything special: a shower gift, perhaps. But two weeks ago, my mom brought out a toy with a long history that’s become our son’s first comfort toy.
Come read our winding baby toy tale that starts 16 years ago, well before Judah was even a twinkle in our eyes…
My husband Larry and I met in high school sixteen years ago. We were 15 years old and went to different schools but we both went to the same children’s theater camp that summer. I was cast in a production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Larry landed the role of Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh, complete with mascot-sized Disney Parks-style costume and all. By the end of that summer, Larry and I would officially be “going out” (because teenagers really never called it dating back then).
One of the first gifts I ever got Larry was a small plush Eeyore doll from the Disney Store. Two summers later before our senior years in high school, in dramatic fashion like many teenaged romances, we broke up. Larry returned the Eeyore doll back to me and I tossed it in my pile of stuffed animals collected over the years.
Just before I left for college, my family decided to hold a yard sale. My mom thought it would be a great time to finally purge my stuffed animal collection. As we moved the heaping pile of toys out to the driveway, I saw Eeyore’s little face poking out. “Not this one,” I told her, and took it back to my room.
I left for college a few months later, my room at home turned into a guest room and the Eeyore doll shooed away into some corner, forgotten for almost 14 years. Larry and I ended up getting back together just after the start of our freshman year in college and we’ve been together ever since.
Two weekends ago, our summer children’s theatre camp held their 25th reunion show, where I reprised my role from 16 summers ago. We brought Judah down and while I was at rehearsals, his grandparents took turns watching him. Imagine my surprise when I got this picture text from Larry during one of my breaks:
My mom had saved Eeyore for me all these years. When Judah got fussy that afternoon, she handed him the doll and he quieted down instantly. He felt the fur with his fingers and then gave it a big squeeze, holding on tight. As long as he had Eeyore, he was calm.
We reintroduced the toy when we got back home and Judah loves it! We’ll brush Eeyore’s big nose across Judah’s cheek and sometimes, we’ll get a big grin. And if he’s fussing as he tries to go to sleep, Eeyore always calms him down: we tuck him under Judah’s arm and pretty soon, the other arm reaches over to snuggle.
After all these years, my little Eeyore doll is finally right where he belongs.