Okay, first--if you read this you are sworn to secrecy. For. Real.
Because here's the thing--we have a little bit of Santa-Claus magic going on around here. It's a mystical process called a "Fluffing."
You see, the bears around here are loved. Very, very, very loved. And they show every ounce of that love. Ben is basically hopelessly matted and completely neck-less. And Beary--well, he's crusty and and he's become an unsightly shade of gray.
Beary and Ben. Quite the bedraggled pair. (Photo taken by M in November.)
They are washed fairly frequently. This, no doubt, leads to the fur issues--but it does assuage the germ ickiness factor.
Once every year or two, when a bear becomes particularly ragged (You know, when the Package Delivery Person takes a step back when they see the bear or if a friend uses a pillow to move a bear instead of touching it.), then we know it's time for a "fluffing."
The bear is tossed into the dryer with a load of laundry and after a few minutes emerges "fluffed." "Like" new. (Wink. Wink.)
Ben has been "fluffed" about 4 times (This was Beary's first "Fluff."). At his last "fluffing," two years ago, M (age 4) held the fluffed Ben right up to her nose and peered into his eyes for a very long time. We held our breaths. Had our cover been blown? Then she tucked his neck into the crook of her arm and went back to her day. Whew!
This time I thought for sure she would use her powers of perception to completely expose the process. Fortunately, it appears as though she has just accepted that "fluffings" are magical.
(It should be noted that "Fluffed" Ben emerged with a hole in his belly seam. Presumably from all of the abundant "fluffing" of his belly stuffing. Oh, what tangled webs we weave...)
Ben and Beary. Fluffed.
Who's going to step back from those bears? :)
A few morals from the story:
If you have any power over what stuffed animal or other object your child chooses as a "lovey" make sure it's
2.) easily accessible.
Neither are washable. And Ben? Well, Ben is a rare, hard-to-find bear that I have spent many a night on the internet searching for. I currently have a few stashed here and at a grandparent's house. Yes, I do.
And why do we do this exactly? Because they love their bears. And because they love their bears, we love their bears. And, well, honestly, we don't want to be creeped out by these little bundles of love. And in the end it's more about their essence than their appearance. (I'm sure there's some kind-of metaphor in there.)
And there you have it, our dirty little bear secret. Shh.... :)