My daughter might be nearly 11, but she is still very attached to her teddy (known only as Teddy). She always sleeps with him at night and she always takes him with her when she gets up in the morning.
This year is a big one for her. She has her year 6 residential and a week-long Scout camp. For a girl who has difficulties settling down to sleep, that is a pretty big deal. But I also think that it’s absolutely the right thing for her to take part.
The other day she expressed some second thoughts about the Scout camp (despite her brother and a few girls her age going). As I watched her climb the stairs to bed with Teddy, I wondered how she would cope. Because there’s one thing for certain. Teddy doesn’t go on school residentials or Scout camps. She might find it hard to sleep without him, but the sheer pain of potentially losing him would be too much to ‘bear’.
She actually dropped him out of her rucksack in London when we were running to watch Daddy complete Ride London. Thank goodness my eldest was running behind her and saw Teddy fall. The thought of what could have happened otherwise leaves me cold.
Teddy cannot leave the house.
Which leaves me with a conundrum.
But then I woke up at 4.45 one day, with my head full of pointless thoughts and worries, and I knew what I had to do.
I had to destroy a teddy.
Teddy is an Easyjet bear and back in the day he had an Easyjet Tshirt. Over time, the Tshirt was completely destroyed, so we asked someone to get us another Easyjet bear, so that Teddy could have that Tshirt. That Tshirt disintegrated too and now he wears a jumper my mum knitted.
And there is a perfectly good, naked teddy, identical in size and shape to Teddy. But where Teddy is worn and rough, this teddy is shiny and smooth. He is a poor imitation of Teddy. But is it possible to do in five months what it took over six years to achieve? Teddy has been cuddled and carried, thrown on the floor, had stuff spilled on him and had a fair few washes over the years to turn him into the well-loved and well-worn bear he is today.
Operation Teddy Bear Destruction started with a go in the washing machine which, disappointingly, had very little effect.
I rubbed at his fur quickly and repeatedly, hoping to replicate six years of love in super-fast time. I swung him by his arms and legs a bit to make them go all floppy. I threw him on the floor over and over again (which felt a bit mean). My mum has knitted him his own jumper, to make him feel more like Teddy too.
I’m determined to do all I can to turn this teddy into one more like actual Teddy over the next few months. And even if I don’t quite succeed, my daughter will know just how much love I’ve poured into this little bear, just for her, and I hope he brings her some comfort when she’s away from home.