My husband and I have little in common, but we do share an unhealthy obsession with moose.
When we were first living together, we acquired a couple of Christmas tree ornaments from Costco. They were four-inch-high stuffed animals - a moose and a penguin - in coordinating sweaters, with loops on top of their heads. During that Christmas season, the moose ornament revealed his personality to us.
He was cute, but a little evil. He was non-verbal, but made his dastardly plots known to us. We named him Melvin. After Christmas he took up residence in the tunnel between our bed and the wall; while we were at work, he would spend his days building mysterious, legendary things in the tunnel - spaceships and computer systems and whatnot.
Early in our marriage, we received a second stuffed moose, who quickly took on the role of Melvin's big brother. We named him Phil.
Phil became our pet/child/travel companion. Also non-verbal, Phil is joyous, loving, and friendly.
While Phil and Melvin have remained our only "real" plush friends (real in the Velveteen Rabbit sense), we have amassed quite a cast of moose characters in our home.
Most of them have names and back stories. The beanie baby moose on the far right is actually Phil's special stuffed animal. Before we knew that this particular little moose existed, Phil, in his non-verbal way, made it clear to us that he wanted a little moose that looked like him, but a little bigger than Melvin. When I found just the moose Phil had requested hanging out at the supermarket, I couldn't leave him there.
Over the past four years, the moose have gravitated to Ryan's room, and have made a life for themselves among the other stuffies. Fortunately, Melvin has become less evil since Ryan's arrival. Ryan has played with the moose as he has played with any of the other dozen stuffed animals that live in his room. He has occasionally snuggled one or the other in bed, but his core sleeping posse has remained dominated by bears. For as long as I can remember, sleeping has required the presence of four bears and two blankets. Well, five bears if you ask Ryan.
See how Blue Bear has a tiny picture of a bear driving a car on his blanket part? Ryan counts that as Bear #5. His name is Car Bear.
The other night, I awoke to hear Ryan moaning and sobbing; this is very unusual. I went to investigate. I hugged him and he settled down. As soon as I left the room, he started fussing again. As I was trying to figure out what the problem was, Ryan announced, desperately and unprompted, "I need Moose back!" I searched in his sheets and behind his bed, but didn't find any moose. I grabbed the first moose I could find from the couch; Ryan scowled at it and kept looking for the right moose. Finally, I found this* moose, tangled up in his sheet.
Ryan hugged it and fell asleep.
I hadn't realized that Ryan had adopted a moose as his special sleeping buddy. I asked several times if this moose had a name. At first he answered Moose, but twice he said Philvin.
That's my kid.
* I actually had to delay publishing this post, because I needed a picture of THE moose, but Ryan had taken it to school for Bring Your Favorite Toy Day.