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Discussion Starter #1
I love all my kids -- that goes without saying. But the middle one is just... well she... she's very unique. And her break-the-mold personality makes her shine just a little brighter than the other two stars. Not that I still don't have to dog her to empty the dishwasher or that I don't get frustrate when she's late for dinner because she was watching a butterfly out her window....

But.

Okay, case in point:

When Claire was very young, a good friend of mine came to see her and brought a small bear. It's about the size of a grownup's hand, gray, and a polar bear. There was a tag on his rump with the name of his manufacturer on it: Russ.

Claire took to this bear in a big way. In the crib, he had to be there. She'd sleep ON him, cupping him into her cheek and then laying on her pillow, so that she'd wake up with pockmarks on her skin from the indentation. She'd also drool on him when she was teething, so he got more than his fair share of washings.

When she became verbal, she named him Russ. Which was weird, we thought, because that was his manufacturer's name. It would be like having a Barbie doll named MATTEL. But she didn't care. Russy he was and Russy he shall ever be.

Her devotion to Russ lasted through the years. He's had one or two surgeries in his lifetime, all survived. His fur has flaked off, leaving the rougher fabric underneath. And he had a 'tail,' which really wasn't a tail at all but was a small sateen tag on his rump that said RUSS. Claire used to twirl this tail around her finger at night, and over time, it began to fray away. There are vestiges of it today, but for the most part, it is but a small nub of white on his gray body.

I never saw another Russ in a store or anywhere. Nothing online. Nothing in the catalogs we'd get. Once, though, we were in a Five -n- Dime down the shore, and I saw one of him on a shelf. I ALMOST bought him as a backup but decided not to. Russ was RUSS, and there would be no substitutions.

FFWD to a couple of nights ago.

Claire is 13 now.

Still straddling that bridge between kid-dom and adulthood. It's a tough age -- I remember struggling w/being 13 myself -- and it's been interesting to watch her dabble in the life of someone older than her and then retreat to her comfort zone of someone younger than her. Maybe this is easier for a middle-button kid, as there is ample opportunity on both ends of the spectrum: the older sib and the younger sib.

Anyway. A handful of nights ago, she and I were sitting in the family room talking, and she said, rather out-of-the-blue: "I'm worried about Russy."

Me: "What about him?"

Claire: "Well.... he's getting old. He's wearing out. One of these days he's going to just disintegrate..."

Me: "Well.... Maybe it's time to retire him. Stop sleeping with him every night. Maybe we can get a small shadowbox for him, put him inside, and display him. That way, he'll still be nearby and----"

At this point, she dissolved in tears.

Claire: "I'm not ready for that. I'm not ready to not have him at nights..."

I reached for her and let her bury her head in my shoulder and cry it out for a while.

Me: "Okay. Then Russy stays in service as nighttime sentinel. I'm sure he's got a few more years left in him."

Claire: "But what about later? When I'm too old? I'm not taking Russ to College. That would be stupid!"

Interject to comment: We'd just re-watched Toy Story 2 recently. Maybe this was what put all this in her mind.

Me: "When the time comes for you to go to college, you'll know what's best for Russ. In the meantime, continue to enjoy and love him...."

Claire (through the last residual sniffles): "OK."
 

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Lucky Russy to have Claire, lucky you to have Claire, lucky Claire to have boffa ya!
Very, very sweet story.
 

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What a nice story.
Tell her that she can take him to college!
I am 35 and still sleep with my baby blanket!! It's not so much a blanket anymore, it's becoming more and more like a rag as time goes on.
 

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Dan - I still have Ellie - and I'm 46. He is beat to all heck but still in my room ...not on display, but there for Daddy's death..and on if needed. My 22 yo daughter has binky dog - who is 22 also. Binky has a special lock box that is under her bed (Senior at UND) and has gone to Rome, Portugal, England, Scotland, Hawaii, Alaska...and more. Life STOPS if Binky is missing. Tell Claire - it might make her feel better. BTW - recently had Paul bring home TED from his moms to be stored with Ellie for companionship!
 

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Very touching story. My son (16.5) had/has a similar relationship with a clown (Clownie, is his name --- also not very unique). Clownie went through all of the same things, however due to the fact that he is a boy, he took a lot of crap about Clownie. We used to joke about Clownie going to college with him, but he isn't one to be persued by such methods; he used to say, "So what? Clownie needs an education too." When he was younger (8 - 14 or so) his friends used to ask if Clownie was going to hockey tournaments, school trips, hockey camp, etc. He never let this bother him, he always said, "Only if he wants to." He gave up sleeping with Clownie when he was about 14, but he didn't go far, Clownie still resides on a shelf in his room.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Awww -- I'll be sure to tell Claire about Clownie, Ellie, Binky, Ted, and Blankie....
 

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Pound Puppy has traveled to see me after Graduating from Air Force basic training. I was glad he made the trip to TX. Mom had him on the seat of the rental car, that made me laugh. He has traveled to England, Korea and lived in VA, currently he resides on my dresser next to my bed, and I am 32!
 

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Many a dorm room bed is guarded by bunnies, bears and the occasional racoon (who me?). Well into our marriage my husband has purchased VT teddy bears for me for special occasions. They've been retired to safe spots from the dogs now...but whose to say dogs aren't just replacements for them for night time cuddles?
 

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Dan, I'm 40 and I still have Landis. Landis is a stuffed dog, he was my first love and went with me everywhere. He survived many adventures - a bratty schoolmate in nursery school who tried to flush him down a toilet, being left in a hotel room (and mailed back) - and put on many miles over the years. His fur is nearly gone nearly everywhere and completely gone in a few patches, he has surgery scars all over, and his button eyes were replaced multiple times and I suspect are no longer original. When I actually wore a hole through the fabric of his muzzle, a family friend enbroidered a smile on him to cover the repair. It's been suggested to me more than once that I write some children's stories about the adventures Landis and I had through the years (and no, I haven't done it... yet).

In all honesty, he looks like a disgusting rag.

I still have him, and he has made every move I've ever made (and there were lots) with the exception of Libya. And that was only because we kept our house here while we were gone so I knew he was safe. He's not on display, but he's stored on a shelf in my walk-in closet where he's visible when I get dressed but safe from the (real) dogs and cats. I have every intention to have him near me until I'm gone myself.

I'll tell you another little story, though. When Landis decided to extend his stay at the hotel without us, I was inconsolable. While we were waiting for him to arrive by post, my mother in desperation went to the store where she bought him and pruchased another. Identical in every way (this was when he was still in near-new shape). But not the same. My three-year-old self would not be fooled by the imposter, whom I promptly named Stella. I liked Stella, understand, but I loved Landis like no other. Stella simply couldn't measure up and was no substitute - when Landis arrived home at last, we had a joyful reunion. I still have Stella. And she's still in nearly-new condition. They stay together in my closet.

So you probably made the right choice not to buy Russ's "twin".
 

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Tell her that she can take him to college!
I am 35 and still sleep with my baby blanket!! It's not so much a blanket anymore, it's becoming more and more like a rag as time goes on.
I am 43 & I still have the blanket from when I got my big-girl bed as a kid. Its pink & used to have a row of satin binding on the edge. Like Sam's it is more a rag, but I won't give it up.

Same goes for my first baby-doll. When my younger sister & I were young (4 & 3 perhaps) my mom bought us each our own Madame Alexander Momma Doll. She saw alot of loving over the years. She is missing all her eyelashes & 2 fingers, but she always gets put on my bed after it is made in the morning.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have the biggest grin. Love these stories. Stella! Landis! I'll be sure to share them w/Claire........
 

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Dan, I'm 40 and I still have Landis. Landis is a stuffed dog, he was my first love and went with me everywhere. He survived many adventures - a bratty schoolmate in nursery school who tried to flush him down a toilet, being left in a hotel room (and mailed back) - and put on many miles over the years. His fur is nearly gone nearly everywhere and completely gone in a few patches, he has surgery scars all over, and his button eyes were replaced multiple times and I suspect are no longer original. When I actually wore a hole through the fabric of his muzzle, a family friend enbroidered a smile on him to cover the repair. It's been suggested to me more than once that I write some children's stories about the adventures Landis and I had through the years (and no, I haven't done it... yet).

In all honesty, he looks like a disgusting rag.
Ursula, that sounds very similar to my baby sister & her elephant, named *drum roll* Elphie Boy!!!

Elphie Boy drug every where with her as a kid, he got left in more grocery stores than we could count. Each & everytime Mom went back for him . She chewed his trunk to the point that it is nothing more than a couple of raggedly threads. His body, so well-loved, that my mother had to crochet & sew a vest & hat on him to keep his stuffing in. I believe he is tucked safely away in a box in my mother's bed room closet.
 

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Do you know someone who can sew? If Russy had some pajamas, he may last longer.

Here's a funny story:
My nephew is tall, muscular, and very handsome. He's been kind of a rebel since his early teens. He rides motorcycles and had a minor run in with the law when he was still in high school. He was at my mom's house. He looked out the window as he was chugging down a beer when he saw my mom's Lab run by with a stuffed toy in his mouth. Mr. Biker Dude gasped, "MY BUNNY!!!!!" LOL
 

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Awww that is so sweet.

When I was younger, my mom bought these 3 Le Mutt dog stuffed animals. Mom had the momma, I had the medium one, and my brother got the baby one. Le
Mutt went everywhere I went. Mine is not in the greatest shape anymore, but he sits in Connor's room on a rocking chair. My mom passed away almost 9 years
ago and when she did I made sure to get her Le Mutt. Momma Le Mutt sits on the same rocking chair as mine. I am not sure if my brother still has the baby one.

Wow just looked them up LeMutt
 

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Toy Story 2 came right to my mind too....makes me blubber like an idiot. It is so hard to see your precious children grow up and struggle with such stuff.

DS(18yrs old now) has a teddy bear that we did put up. I found him a few months back while cleaning out our closet....the blubbering started. He is so patched up and worn.
 

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Ok I'll share 2 stories; DS age (glup) 18 has Bra...a zebra that he got from his big sister when he was born. SSHH don't tell but Bra sleeps in his pillow case on his bed. I "think" (read know!) Bra went on his class trip to Disney...No one was the wiser!

DD age 19 had a nightgown (she was 2!) that she loved...I made it into a pillow when it was less than a belly shirt on her. Guess what is on her bed in her dorm room at college? You guessed it her "nighty pillow"

Ok I said 2 stories but...I have my dads teddy bear from when he was little, stuffed with sawdust. Dad is 81 now! He (pooh, yes I named him) sits on my bookshelf in my bedroom.

Claire is going to know when to put him NEXT to the bed and when to put him on a shelf, he will NEVER go away.
 

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Bernice went to college with me..She was actually given to me by a friend when I was in Junior High .. Bernice was a BIG stuffed dog about 2 1/2 feet high by 2 feet wide..My freshman year my parents were dropping me off and going on a trip so they were in our motor home and had plenty of room so I bright Bernice..when we got there Dad decided there really wasn't room or a need for Bernice so they were taking her home..while we were saying good by I must have looked quite forlorn (or he was feeling guilty) and asked me if I wanted Bernice..I shook my head yes so he got her out of the motor home and I stood there hanging on to her waving good by as they left me there...She went to college with me all 5 1/2 years (Master's Degree) and still is in the closet at home where the real dogs can't get to her (I turn 50 this year)
 
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