I made a bold move this morning: I washed Teddy. He was looking pretty bedraggled. I know for a fact that he had been in at least two dogs' mouths. He had had syrup ("surry-up") spilled on him. At least once I had run over him with a grocery cart. He had been dropped in the snow, in the dirt, and behind the toilet. For all I know he had a couple of diseases. So, as filthy as he was, I knew he needed to be washed . . . but I couldn't help but worry that the spin cycle would be his undoing. And believe me when I say that if something happens to Teddy, life as we know it is over. The kid would sooner live without oxygen than live without Teddy.

I bought Teddy during our Thanksgiving trip to DC last year. I got him at a World Market store. I didn't even realize that he was 1/2 off until I got to the register. So, I paid a whopping $5.00 for him. Had I known that Teddy would become so important, I would've bought two of him right off the bat.

I have dozens of photos of Teddy on my hard drive. He is often the kindling that ignites the morning tantrum, because I have wronged him in some way. I am supposed to seat him properly at her red plastic table in the morning while I fix her hair. ("NOOOOO! Teddy wants to sit on the stool! Not the chair!") Then I am supposed to sit him upright on the dining room table while she eats her waffle (with surry-up). We have to bring him to the grocery store. ("Can't Teddy just sit in the car? We won't be long." "No!") We bring him to church. We bring him out to dinner.

In order to grab Teddy for his date with the washing machine, I had to sneak into the kid's room at 5:00 a.m. and wrest him from her sleeping body. My goal was to have him clean and dry by the time she left the house with her father. And the plan worked. Teddy is now (temporarily) clean and de-gooey-ified. I feared his side seam would open up and spill Teddy guts all over my washer and/or dryer, but the $5.00 bear held his innards in. God love him. Twice since Teddy came to live with us, I have taken A to Build-a-Bear and spent far too much for larger and more attractive plush toys. They sit stoically on A's bed, while the clearance rack bear goes everywhere with her.

I just want to state for the record that if Teddy ever gets lost, I am moving across the country and changing my identity.


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