Invasion of the Stuffed Animals

Sophie’s bedroom is overrun by stuffed animals. At last count, approximately 95 inanimate creatures graced her bed, her floor and her shelves.  When Sophie goes to sleep, she scrunches herself into a ball so she can fit into a corner on her bed. She doesn’t want to disturb the furry friends that surround her.

When I announced to Sophie that I counted 95 stuffed animals in her room, she pranced around the kitchen with her hands on her cheeks and exclaimed, “That’s practically 100! I am so happy!”  When I celebrated her kid-essence a few weeks ago for her 9th birthday, it wasn’t for nothing, I tell you.

The newest addition to her collection is Majesty, a snow leopard from the Bronx Zoo, pictured below.  If these toys actually had feelings, as Sophie insists they do, Majesty would have felt overwhelmed by the smothering love Sophie exuded as she proudly carried her out of the store. I suspect Majesty and Don Freeman’s Corduroy are soul “stuffies” (Sophie’s term of endearment for her animals) in that respect.

Bronx Zoo
Majesty & Sophie at the Bronx Zoo

Speaking of Sophie’s unrelenting personification of her cuddly friends, she often berates me for not showing them sufficient respect.

“Mom! Why did you throw Uni on the bed? You’re going to hurt her!”

“Mom! You’re making too much noise. Bone-Bone is trying to sleep!”

“Mom! Don’t threaten to put Shirley in the washing machine! You’re going to give her a heart attack!”

According to Sophie, the stuffed animal gods on Mount Plushmore curse me every time I disregard their earthbound compatriots’ feelings.  Which may be the reason I suffer from periodic insomnia.

Because I am getting old and mostly because I don’t really care, I don’t know the names of more than a handful of Sophie’s stuffed animals.  There are her super-super-super-super-special friends Shirley, Bone-Bone and Uni, who (yes, my use of ‘who’ instead of ‘which’ is intentional here – I am trying to honor Sophie’s wishes with some affectionate personification of my own) are pictured at the top of this post with her cherished tattered burp  cloths. There are also Majesty, Oreo, Pinky Pie, Fluffers, Sky, Phantom and Peanut.  Even Sophie can’t remember the names she’s bestowed on the majority of her buddies.

Stuffed Animals I
Beanie Boo Menagerie

When I was a kid not much older than Sophie, I also had a lot of stuffed animals. Not as many as her, but plenty nonetheless.  When my bed began to look like a tenement for stuffed animal refugees and I needed to make room for my growing body, I resolved to find a way to make more room for myself on my mattress while ensuring that some of my animals would still be able to keep me company.

Complete nerd that I was, I took inventory of all of my friends and created a schedule. Every week three animals would have the privilege of sharing my bed with me.  The others would sit atop my white formica bookshelves awaiting their turn.  And after a week’s time, I’d rotate a new trio into my bed.  The scheme was quite a success and to this day, I am sure the animals thought it was an equitable solution.

Decades later, I thought Sophie would love my plan and replicate it with enthusiasm. So I proposed it to her. And as I finished talking, with a big smile on my face because how could she resist such a smart and thoughtful strategy, she looked at me with wide eyes, vehemently shook her head and shouted, “Mom! Are you crazy? That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.”

You see, it turns out that Sophie likes to cuddle with all of her “stuffies” together. No matter that they’ll eventually form an army and force her from her own bed into exile. Because as long as her “stuffies” are happy, she’s happy. Even if she ends up sleeping on the floor. Cradling her burp cloths, of course.

Tell me, dear readers, do your kids also have a stuffed animal menagerie?

13 thoughts on “Invasion of the Stuffed Animals”

  1. Oh you have such a great talent for humor! Loved it all – especially Mount ‘Plushmore’! :)) Love the life you paint with your daughters! Have a great week ahead..

    1. Thanks, Anjali, for reading my post. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Have a great week yourself – see you in the Twitterers perhaps – I’ll look out for one of your lovely poems to retweet.

  2. I love this article and especially Sophie’s pure, enthusiastic, unapologetic love for her stuffies. My daughter (almost 11!) also has a prolific assortment of stuffed animals– with Lammie being the king of the heap and Chorz, Roah and Shirsy McCosta following close behind. She came to your personal solution on her own a few years ago– allowing the animals to take turns in her bed (Lammie is ALWAYS there). I had to crack up when you said you did that!! About a year ago, we asked her to at least divide them into “my room” and “playroom” animals. That got about half of them out of her room and at that point, she was truly okay with it. She still will rotate them in and out, but at least it’s not the tremendous volume that it was before. Sophie will grow into her own solution eventually. Cherish the moments in the meantime. PRECIOUS.
    The most logical solution is to donate a bunch. However, for us, the mere suggestion of donating any stuffies is out of the question.
    Maybe next year!

    1. Hi, Cindy! First, I just love the names of your daughter’s stuffed animals – awesome. It’s funny how the kids develop such strong bonds with these pretend animals. I wish we could do a similar bedroom/playroom division, but she has so much other crap in the playroom there’s no room for animals of any sort, alive or fake!

  3. This is awesome fun! We recently made a trip to our oldest daughter’s home clear across the country and presented her well-loved plush pals to her tiny son. Boxes and boxes of them lived in our attic for decades! Perhaps they multiplied!

    1. That’s fantastic – I think in my little one’s heart of hearts she hopes to hold on to the creatures until she has kids of her own. Except I’m not convinced she’d give them up, even to her own spawn. Thanks so much for reading my post!

  4. Great post, made me smile! And remember that when I was a little girl, I was the same. I had a lot of stuffed toys too. Then I grew up and they went into a bag tucked somewhere in the storage…
    Until some 10 years ago when I decided that since I’m big, I want a big stuffed animal and got a black panther that was half my size. But I’m being “good”, I have only 3 so far (and one is my boyfriend’s fault 😉 )…

  5. My sister had a little stuffed cat my aunt gave her when she was probably five, and which she called Honey. That thing was so threadbare from her hugging, my mother had to sew all its limbs and its head so they wouldn’t fall off. It’s wrinkles were all bent – those that she had left – and one eye and her nose was cracked. You can tell how much a stuffed animal is loved by how battered it looked. She’s 28 now and still has it.

    By the way, your daughter has a knack for picking names!

    1. Thanks for reading and sharing your story about your sister’s cat – I have a feeling my little one will have her cherished stuffed animals when she’s 28, too. I love hearing about how your mother was so dedicated to keeping the together – very touching.

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