Thursday, March 27, 2008

Really stuffed toys

In Slate, Emily Bazelon thinks that the a new web site, Webkinz, will save her from worrying about stuffed toys. As she points out, children form an attachment to stuffed toys beyond what is hygienic or convenient. On this, I can only agree. Our eldest had, for what seemed the longest year (from 18 - 30 months), a life size Maisy mouse soft toy. And by 'life size' I mean, the size of a mouse. This meant that it was carried everywhere and was always hard to find. It got dropped in puddles, stepped on and mangled. We went on a longish trip and our main concern at all times was not whether we had our daughter but whether we had Maisy!

Maisy cost like $5. I should have bought 7 of them. So when Child No.2 came along and formed his unhealthy attachment to a small ET doll (he loved the eyes), I stocked up. We had several ET dolls of that size, some larger ones and then for his second birthday a life sized one that was essentially immovable. (Yes, the size of ET in the movie!) We were going to hedge our bets fully. Suffice it to say, at some point after he was three years old, he decided ET scared him and out it all went. We now have a shrine to ET in the hallway.

For Child No.3, she has had a Sid (from Ice Age) and now a standard teddy bear. If it gets lost, we are now hardened folks and will take the tears.

According to Bazelon, Webkinz is like some cheap back-up. Apparently, in her household, should one of these toys meet an untimely demise, if they are a Webkinz toy, their virtual counterpart will save the day. Her child will be satisfied because it lives on "in the computer." Yeah, but just wait until she wants to take your laptop to cuddle up with in bed. And what happens if it is a PC and crashes with a not so cuddly, blue screen of death. Try explaining that one. After all, that sort of thing routinely brings adults to tears.