When I was a little kid I was obsessed with stuffed animals.
I had a ton of them and I couldn’t sleep unless at least one was in the bed with me.
Nowadays the only stuffed animals we have in the house belong to my son. And I love having them around.
I said shut up.
My wife doesn’t care much for stufties. When we first began dating I would ocassionally gift her with a small stuffed animal, and to this day she jokes that I was actually just getting them for myself. She’s not wrong; I wanted her to have some mostly so that when I was at her place I’d have access to them. They’re so soft and cuddly! Who hates stuffed animals! Of course if they been housed in my bedroom I would never date a woman again.
Somehow, despite my wife’s disgusting, cold-blooded hatred for the beautiful, fluffy creatures, our relationship has lasted. And now that we have a kid I have a new victim on whom to hoist my resurgent obsession. But I don’t have a ton of time.
My son, you may have guessed, is a boy. Right now he’s still plenty young enough to possess stufties without worrying about ridicule from his friends (he has none) or his older brothers (he has none). But soon enough he will be around other boys to whom an interest in fluffy dolls might not seem super cool. By contrast, no one would ever mock this little girl for her touching loyalty to her stuffed animals.
Now, as I stressed in this post last week, I couldn’t give a shit about that; boys will be boys and my son is going to like what he likes and if anyone has a problem with it they can come talk to me. (This hero dad is setting the ultimate example for his son – and for other dads – by making sure his kid knows he has nothing to be ashamed of and, if need be, I will do the same. Even if it means flying my stufty flag high in posts like this.
But enough about me; if I hope to cultivate my son’s interest in stufties that’s embedded enough for him to want ignore the haters in a few years, I’ve got to get started ASAP. And I have been.
He has his lovey that he can’t sleep without, as well as a Brobee doll (from Yo Gabba Gabba!) and an Elmo doll (from the fires of Hell), but other than that he’s proven mostly indifferent. So in an effort to kickstart a wider appreciation for stuffed animals, I’ve been focusing on the stuffed Miami Dolphins doll (football and stufties: hitting two SUPERMACHO birds with one stone!), as well as the oversized bear my parents bought him.
He likes the penguin we got him at the aquarium; he’s been showing a healthy interest in his little Winnie the Pooh bear; and he definitely likes his stuffed lion (yeah, we have a fair amount of these things; see above, re: SHUT UP). Finally – FINALLY! – he’s starting to give stufties the the respect they deserve.
But he still seems to prefer books and musical instruments, about which I can’t really complain. Those remain two of my favorite things as well, and they are far less embarrassing interests for a grown man, unless one of the books is by Stephenie Meyer or her Fifty Shades of Grey cohort.
My biggest fear is that pushing stufties on him will backfire and that his begrduging acceptance of my childhood hobby will manifest itself in a desire to own one of those animated, musical dolls. Like the breakdancing Mickey Mouse I saw at Target last week.
If they ever remake Child’s Play, I think I’ve found their star. That thing is a walking nightmare:
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