At first there was only Pat the Bunny and Blue from Blue’s Clues.
Later there was Bambi, a white lion, and the brown dog that wore a red vest and a ski cap.
Now the only remaining stuffed animal sleeping on any child’s bed in my house is Penguino, the black penguin with a green-striped scarf.
For years, my oldest went to sleep every night with “Bunny and Blue.” They were such a fixture for him that when we lost them on a road trip in Washington D.C., I had to re-buy them on Ebay the very next day and expedite the shipping.
Now, that kid is 14 and his comfort objects these days appear to include posters of Green Day and a Lacrosse D-Pole.
My middle son was so attached to the white lion (which he insists to this day is actually a polar bear) that he included the lion in his 2-year-old Christmas photos. He once picked up a stuffed bear at a Talbot’s sale and carried it around the store so long the saleswoman cajoled me into buying it for him.
That little toddler is now 11 and recently dumped his Webkins and other stuffed animals into a basket so we could sell them at the cub scout yard sale.
I know that children get older, but I have to admit I have a special fondness for Penguino, the only stuffed animal left. I like tucking in my third-grader, whose face still has a tiny bit baby in it, and seeing his arm cradled around the penguin.
I even went so far as to buy him a second stuffed penguin – which he named Pingo – but Pingo never caught on the way Penguino did.
Over the years, I have purged the stuffed Pikachus, the Hamtaros, numerous teddy bears that were mostly baby gifts, dozens of Webkins and two of my personal favorites – a reindeer and a colorful dragon with wings.
I, for one, am rooting for Penguino to stick around for a while. Recently, I discovered Pat the Bunny again, stuffed in the back of the teenager’s closet with his nerf guns.
It may also be discovered that I didn’t get rid of the reindeer and dragon. They might be hanging out in the basement with some board books for those times I feel like reliving those babyhood memories again.
Elizabeth Moore is the Patch Regional Editor for Essex County.