My Uncle Bart & Aunt Linda got me my teddy bear, Fred, when I was born. I was most attached to Fred as a child- he went everywhere with me. I used to "feed him" bites of my food. Jack knew Fred was my Achilles heel- if he really wanted to make me mad he'd punch fred (what a jerk!) I had fits of hysteria when Fred had to be put in the freezer to kill the head lice I'd given him, and again when my mom gave him to my grandma so she could make him a crocheted outfit (they thought I wouldn't miss him for a few days? WRONG- dad had to go get him back that night!) Fred has had MULTIPLE corrective surgeries- a few to repair a music box that no longer works, and several to sew on new lips because his original mouth was literally kissed off. I remember I brought Fred to school one day & my first grade teacher asked me in that condescending teacher's voice, "does he talk to you?"- I'm sure she was trying to find evidence of some psychological disorder. Interestingly enough Luke asked a similar question (do you think Fred has feelings) years later in a panic as though it had just occurred to him (YEARS into our relationship) that maybe I was crazy. I actually slept with Fred up until the point that we got Rucker (4 yrs ago) and only then stopped b/c it became clear that Rucker might eat Fred, and then what would I do??? So anyhow, in my defense, I KNOW that Fred the ted is an inanimate object- no feelings, no soul, no ability to converse with me. I don't know exactly what it is that makes me love this teddy bear so much, but my only recurring nightmare as a child was that there was a whole line of identical "freds" and I couldn't determine which was the REAL Fred. Also interesting, I've had a few of those dreams about Luke- about being around all these guys that looked like him but unable to tell which was the real Luke. Ok, maybe I am screwed up in the head.
ANYHOW, several months ago Aunt Linda bought our baby his or her first stuffed animal- in hopes this will be his or her "Fred." The twist? It is a rat. About as non-traditional of a baby toy as you can get - but it is the best stuffed animal I've seen so far...next to Fred of course :)