Kid Culls Stuffie Population
Overall health of herd must be considered; some sweeties are saved for Otis; the free store offers a new life to the other castoffs
When I was a kid, I had what I thought was a lot of stuffed animals. I know now what a lot of stuffed animals looks like—because I have them in my house. When Kina was born, Laurea’s main concern was that Kina would have too many stuffies, and it appears that her worst fears were warranted, because Kina has acquired dozens of stuffed animals from her extended family over the last five years, and that menagerie has taken over her room in ways that her extremely tidy mother can no longer tolerate.
With that in mind, we put the future of Kina’s collection directly in her hands and told her to pick which stuffies she’d take with her past kindergarten. Surprisingly, for a kid with a real stuffie addiction, she did a reasonably good job of separating the wheat from the chaff.
She kept all the olympic mascots, her early friend the bucklewhale (whose many clasps kept her occupied in her infancy), various bunnies, all her most precious bedtime stuffies, a magnetic turtle we bought in Florida at the turtle preserve, and (to the relief of long-time readers) Chuckie Avocado and the moose.
Conversely, most of the stuffies she threw out are animals I never even knew she owned: a garish yellow duck, an unfamiliar panda, an octopus she never truly loved, and a red pig we bought in Chinatown just before the pandemic struck (no love lost there).
Conspicuously not up for discussion: a vintage stuffed lion from Laurea’s personal collection (“made of real wool!” she claims) that Kina has barely touched.
From the “no” pile, Kina peeled off a few choice picks for her cousin Otis. The rest goes to the free store to find a new life. The Velveteen Rabbit, but make it mutual aid.
This process, while tidy, was all a bit more emotionally fraught for me than I had expected. I think I want Kina to be able to keep everything she’s ever loved, but I will be happy as long as she is able, eventually, to keep what matters to her. I am sure this is not the end of stuffies, but it is the beginning of choice, and that is probably a better gift for her than the bossy rabbit puppet I bought her when she was still two.
She kept that, by the way. That, and the lion.
She really wanted butterflies in the Parade today. The rite of spring.