My parents tell the story over and over about how they left my stuffed lamb (or rather, unstuffed, as he was a puppet) at my Grammy’s house when I was little. Three or so hours from home, they elected not to go back for “Lambsly” (creative name, right?), although apparently that decision was greatly deliberated upon. This story is definitely in the “top ten stories told most by my parents” category. I always liked hearing this story, as it emphasizes both my dedication to stuffed animals and my steadfast, unforgetful nature (as I cried relentlessly, apparently, until he showed up in Fed-ex box two days later). But never did I really see how the whole thing was that big of a deal. Until now.
Enter: Samule. Samule is a stuffed mule (yup), and Sam’s closest, funniest, most intimate friend. It was love at first sight. There are only about three strands of black horsey hair left on his tail, because Sam rubs his tail (or what remains) between his two chubby fingers to fall asleep every night. Samule has been golfing, swimming, pooped on the potty, buried his “toes” in the sand, received albuterol through the nebulizer, been thrown up on, covered in poop (don’t ask), eaten oatmeal, gotten his hair dried, helped to make Jesus his birthday cake, and, needless to say, been through more cycles of the washing machine than anything with stuffing should. Around month 6 of his life Todd and I came to the unmistakable conclusion that we could all go to sleep much easier if there were a Backup Samule on hand.
Here is where we went wrong. First, I ordered a mini-Samule, accidentally. Who reads the fine print of dimensions on stuffed animal orders anyway? I am embarassed to admit I actually thought it might make due in case of emergency. Rookie mistake. When Sam saw him he literally started laughing outloud. Mini Samule was returned.
Then arrived Backup Samule. When he arrived it immediately became obvious exactly how loved (read: disgusting) the real Samule had become. He was a shadow of his former self now. This Samule was also promptly identified as an imposter. We tried to use him once as a backup, and Sam named him “comfortable Samule,” repeatedly asking for “real Samule.” And I know what you’re thinking, but all attemps to make him look disheveled have failed. No matter how many times I wash him, somehow comfortable Samule comes out looking more fluffy and comfortable, and real Samule more ratty and gnarled. Apparently, there is no substitute for the loving, snotty, sweaty hands of a two-year-old.
So tonight, Velveeteen Samule was missing, and two grown adults – two full-grown exhausted, busy adults – searched obediently for a good 25 minutes for a 10 inch stuffed mule while Sam moaned for him in his crib, imposter Samule in hand. It should be funny, but I assure you, at 7:53 on a Monday night it was not. Eventually we did find him, by the way, jammed between two sofa cushions. of course.
So I don’t know what the moral of this story is. I was so proud of myself for my proactive preemptive ordering of the backup, now evidently in vain. I guess, if I do it again, I should keep #2 Stuffed Friend completely a secret, sneaking him out during intervals of naptime to run him through the dishwasher, jam him in the garbage disposal, and suck him up in the vacuum. Yes, that’s a good plan. We will have to try that with Ty-ger. 🙂