It is the last week before Christmas 2012. While the whole world seems to be stressed out from frantic shopping, or cringing about the news from Newtown, CT, or simply laughing at the prospect of a Mayan-predicted apocalypse, my boy is cuddling with his bear, happily oblivious to all this chatter.
The bear in question is Big Brown Bear; a three-foot long stuffed bear that has been a part of our family since the twins were small. We ‘inherited’ the teddy from my nieces, who cast him off to make room for their own ever-growing collection of stuffed toys. He’s always sat alone in our home, generally not played with. That all seemed to change a few weeks ago, when Quentin declared ownership of the bear by bringing him into his bed for sleeping.
In our home, stuffed animals are generally shared toys between the twins, until one or the other takes it to bed as a sleeping companion. This is sort of our family’s unwritten rule – if you sleep with it, then it is yours. My twins know not to fight over the toys that sleep with their sibling. It’s like some sort of primal understanding of ownership. They each have about 6-8 stuffed things at any given moment rolling around in their beds with them. Fiona needs to count hers every night to make sure they are all there; Quentin simply chews on them and cuddles them, unaware of their presence or absence. That is, until now.
Big Brown Bear has become more than just a sleep companion for Quentin. First, there is his name, which Quentin gave to him, himself! For the first time in his life, Quentin described his favorite toy using words. And not just one adjective with a noun, but two adjectives with a noun! He clearly stated, “Big Brown Bear” out of the blue. My husband and I looked at each other briefly when we heard this, then quickly rejoiced with lots of verbal praise; we had never heard him use two adjectives in a row before! It was a pretty nice moment. Beyond his naming ceremony (which is what this felt like), there is the fact that Quentin really takes Big Brown Bear everywhere. His long, muppet-like fur is easy to squeeze, pull, and chew. Quentin jumps on it, hugs it, and drags it from room to room. Nothing like a three-foot bear to give in to the needs of a sensory-seeking child! I’m so happy he’s found something socially appropriate to be so aggressive towards.
In the wee hours of the morning, I am awoken by three dark figures hovering near my bed. As I become conscious, I grab for my glasses thinking, wait – I only have two children, right? Wrong. My glasses don’t deceive me; I am now the proud mother of Fiona, Quentin, and Big Brown Bear. Quentin makes sure Big Brown Bear gets out of bed with him every morning to face the day with him. In the evening, we say, “Time for bed!” and Quentin is sure to grab Big Brown Bear before heading off to his room.
I began this blog to investigate Quentin’s interaction with media and technology. While he remains to be very motivated by visual images of all kinds, his new-found love reminded me that there is much more to my boy than that. Quentin’s relationship with Big Brown Bear has brought me joy in simply watching him. It gives me some hope, as the year comes to a close. Such a simple toy with such an important purpose!
Here’s to a joyful new year, filled bear hugs… Happy Holidays everyone!