Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Something possessed us to do a stuffed animal inventory the other day. Now I know why the house feels so crowded.

The girls came up with:

a rhinoceros
an alligator
a stegosaurus
a zebra
a sea lion
a crocodile
a cow
a seagull
a titmouse (heh heh, you said "titmouse")
a goose
a chicken
an ostrich
a wolf
a gorilla
a camel
a caribou
a snake
a mouse
a platypus
a moose
a starfish
a bumble bee
a smiling blood droplet (Yes. A gift from their uncle, who got it for giving blood.)
a kangaroo
a lobster
a giraffe
2 jaguars
2 caterpillars
2 sharks (1 hammerhead, 1 Great White)
2 hippopotami
2 white tigers
2 white seals
2 leopards
2 pandas
2 unidentifiable creatures
3 monkeys
3 polar bears
3 horses
3 lambs
4 cats
4 fish
4 penguins
5 frogs
6 elephants
6 ducks
7 bunnies
12 dogs, and:
17 teddy bears.

I like that the girls have been given so many cool and/or unusual stuffed animals, and relatively few battery-sucking plastic toys. Bean loves all of her critters, but never attached to one in particular. Peanut has gone through several favorites, though she didn't relinquish the others when a new one got the top slot, so she eventually had quite a few companions in her crib. One night she was singing louder than usual after lights out. I poked my head in her room and said "Hey! Time for sleeping!" and she said, all indignant, "it's this one's birthday!" as if I were interrupting honest festivities with some crazy unreasonable request. "Oh," I said, "well, um, keep it down." She cracks me up.

The caribou has actually been around since before we had children. When Mr. S. and I were first dating, he considered a post-doctoral fellowship in Canada. Good grief, I thought at the time. I knew I was going along, if he pursued it. Yet it was still sort of early in the relationship to be declaring such things. Quitting my job and following him to another country might've seemed, if not overeager, at least premature. So I made a big show of talking him out of it. CANADA? I said. Aren't you cold enough here in New England? Move to Canada, you'll be shoveling caribou droppings out of the driveway along with the snow every morning. In fact you'll probably have to get a pet caribou to sleep at the foot of the bed and keep your feet warm at night. You'll have to leave extra time to get to work in case the caribou migration is blocking the road...

...I went on and on. It was caribou everything, for a while. I even looked online for caribou steaks, but I wasn't much of a cook in those days, which is a post for another time. Anyway when I happened across a little stuffed caribou, it was a no-brainer to get it for him, even though I'm not a stuffed animal person really, and even though it was stuffed with potpourri, and I'm not a potpourri person really, either. (I came across it at the cosmetics store in one of those huge Outlet Village places, where they sell off all the leftover promotional items from various makeup lines. There was a whole barrel of potpourri-stuffed caribou, can you imagine? Why those things didn't fly off the Origins shelves at retail, I can't fathom.)

Anyway I put the caribou in Mr. S's driveway and made like it had migrated down here to be with him so he wouldn't have to head North. He didn't go to Canada, and I didn't have to let on that we'd be getting married eventually anyway. The caribou (his name is Virgil) has been stowing away on various trips with us ever since. We had to keep a close eye on him during the elk rut in Rocky Mountain National Park one year, but he's mostly no trouble.


  1. Ah...Liv has a propensity for these ugly little stuffed animals called webkins. I DETEST them (mostly because they have tags that must be logged into her computer, etc...)

    She has one stuffed bear named Blue Bear that she has loved since infancy. When she was little, it was like her security blanket, if it was lost, we all ran around terrified looking for it as if it were real. Now, I find it in odd areas of the house and it makes me smile.

  2. The creatures reproduce when we're not looking. I do love the caribou story, though.

  3. That's a very cute story about the Caribou. Writing as an immigrant to Canada, I can reassure you that the caribou droppings are few and far between :)


  4. I could never do the inventory. I would be too shocked. I do manage to rid the household of a garbage bag full of stuffed animals every couple of months. (Don't worry! We give them away.) Definitely something I need to do again before that damn Santa drops more here.

  5. My husband purges the stuffies occasionally. If I don't rescue them, he will even get rid of MINE or the kids' favorites.

    I love the story behind the caribou! That is so sweet!

  6. I love it! Especially the platypus. Hooray for a home biodiversity inventory!

    When we moved into one of my childhood homes, its living room had a grass-green shag carpet. My mom was embarrassed, but we loved putting our little stuffed buffalo out to graze on it.