Finding "The One"
I’m 41 and still have my bear. He is called Boone (he’s American) and is currently in a storage container somewhere on his way back to me. I remember going into BHS with my Gran to buy Boone some clothes. It was the 80s and I was wearing a cropped pastel blue jacket with shoulder pads. The arms were scrunched up to the elbows and I wore it with a ra-ra skirt. My sister had a matching ensemble in lilac. I picked a baby grow pyjama set for Boone which was too big but I knew that didn’t matter as he would grow into it. When I was dispatched to boarding school Boone was fully kitted out in the uniform, complete with shoes. My Mum had actually knitted him a jumper in the school colours. This is the outfit Boone still wears. He must have grown out of the pyjama set. Along with my laptop and photos, it’s Boone I would save first in a house fire.
It is every aunty’s dream to gift their niece or nephew with that special soft toy that becomes “the one”. The one that gets dragged around everywhere until it gets left at nursery overnight and is then banned from leaving the house to avoid a repeat of “the day little Fred left his sleeping companion in the big wide world and we thought it was lost forever and the world had ended”. Mrs Pig, which I bought for S’s first Christmas, is well on the way to becoming the one. I’ve noticed Mrs Pig, or Geraldine as she is now known (we're on first name terms), is the only soft toy in S’s cot. I am of course delighted… and smug.
If Mrs Pig does become the elevated one, I will of course be purchasing a second Mrs Pig. Future proofing. Mrs and Mrs Pig, I’m sure, will become friends over time.
While working as the Toy Buyer at Harrods my most frequent emails were from desperate parents who had tried everything else and had now resorted to money no object tactics to replace lost soft toys. Anything for a night’s sleep. I have the not very transferable skill of being able to look at a soft toy and know the manufacturer. Armed with a photo of a missing toy I can start sleuthing and see if it’s still in production. If it is, I can get a new one, if it isn’t, I can tell you the details of it and it can usually be found on eBay. On one occasion, after 3 sleepless nights, a desperate father commissioned a sample of their missing soft toy be made in the same Chinese factory as the original, FedExed over and presented the next day. Let’s just say, it was expensive. Got to love the Harrods motto: ‘anything is possible’.