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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

of mice and ...puppies

What is it with children and comfort objects, lovies, cuddlies, call them what you will? And more to the point, what is it with puppies and an almost magnetic attraction to said comfort objects?

The Gig has a deep and abiding affection for a little pink elephant, imaginatively named Ellie. When I say pink, of course, I’m being kind. Or nostalgic. Or something. You see, Ellie is now a dingy shade of grey. And she looks more like a mouse than an elephant, due to the Gig's unfortunate childhood habit of chewing on Ellie’s trunk. The Gig asked me, when she was about 5, where Ellie’s trunk was now. “Sweetheart, you just don’t want to know...’’

Ellie has seen the Gig through thick and thin. She has been on sleepovers, she has travelled around the world with us, she’s been happy to be dragged around the house 24/7, or alternatively to sit on the Gig's bed with a resigned and patient expression on her trunkless little face, waiting for her girl to return and fill her in on the day’s activities.

When the Bear came along eight years later, we were prepared. TWO lovely, soft, sweet little elephants had been purchased, just ready for the Bear to love and cherish. Well, wouldn’t you know it - he wouldn’t have a bar of them. Oh, he’d hold them while he played, but there wasn’t that…magic. “Oh well”, I thought, “this one’s just not into comfort toys.” I was a little sad, but also somewhat relieved that we wouldn’t have to spend at least three quarters of every waking moment making sure we knew where the damn toy was.

Until one day, when the Bear was about five months old I picked up a little toy mouse (free with outfit) and handed it to him while I changed his nappy. Fireworks exploded, bells chimed, fairies and angels sang – it was truly love at first sight. Mousie (we’re good with names) was now an official part of our family.

So, feeling a bit like the Farmer’s wife, I chopped off Mousie’s tail with a carving knife. (Actually a pair of scissors.) Please don’t call the RSPCA; it was all about safety. The Bear's safety, obviously, not Mousie’s. That tail was too long for comfort, especially as I’d already seen the Bear try to stuff it into his mouth. This operation left Mousie looking more like a teddy bear than a mouse, but, in the interests of confusing all babysitters, we kept his original name.

So life went on. Mousie was loved, cuddled, sucked, vomited on (frequently, but that’s a whole other post) and generally subjected to all the attentions usual to comfort toys.

Until, that is, we went mad and brought home a puppy called Jasper.

Remember those fireworks? Those singing angels? The chiming bells? We heard them all again the first time Jasper laid eyes on Mousie. Jasper is obsessed with poor old Mousie. Whenever the bedtime cry of “Where’s Mousie?” goes up in our house, you can be sure that Mousie is being loved by Jasper somewhere out in the back yard.

An interesting fact of nature is that puppies have far sharper teeth than children do. And puppies have a propensity to chew. Anything. (Everything, in fact.) Especially if they love something as much as Jasper loves Mousie.

First it was an ear. A big, floppy, lovely to hold between the fingers and stroke mindlessly ear. I nearly cried, but the Bear, like the loyal little trooper he is, merely looked at Mousie, touched the place where his ear once was, and snuggled Mousie under his chin.

Then it was the other ear. Mousie soldiered on. Then an arm. Mousie was beginning to look like he’d been in the trenches. All this made no difference to the Bear. And wash after wash, this brave little mouse hung together.

Then Jasper decided to eat Mousie’s other arm. Then his right leg. By now, the re-christened Daniel Day-Mousie was left with his head, his torso, and his…er…left foot. But still Mousie soldiers on. And the Bear teaches us all about true love, as seen through the eyes of a child.


  1. Now, that is beautiful. Children are so accepting when they are young.

  2. I also wanted to ask you, if you possibly had an email address I could reach you at. You can email me at the email I have posted on my complete profile. I tried but yours isn't listed there. I just wanted to ask you some questions about your experience w/your son that I don't exactly want to put out there for all to see. THanks!

  3. That's the sweetest story. Why did it take me so long to click on your blog? I'm so glad I did.