You never really know which toy your child will latch onto, do you? My money (figurately speaking, of course) was on the Steiff bear my dad brought back from Germany, probably because I still love my own teddy bear so much. Todd thought it would be a custom blanket/sheep (I think they're called a "lovey") given by a friend.
Instead it was Bear. He was a "free gift with purchase" sample developed by my former employer for a perfume line the company was launching. I think Bear was intended as a Christmas giveaway: he was wearing a striped scarf and, if I recall correctly, a hat when he was given to us by one of my former colleagues.
We almost turned him down. After all, we already had so many little soft friends in our apartment at the time of our visit to my old workplace (Tsia was young and probably had six or seven softies; only in retrospect do we realize how manageable a collection of six was! So naive, we were.). But Tsia wouldn't let go, and hasn't let go ever since.
When he first came to our house, Bear was pure white and soft, soft. Despite regular baths and one stuffing transplant (he was well qualified to assist during our friend Big Blue Ted's transplant last winter as a result), he scarcely resembles the bear he once was.
And we love him. I only hope he continues to hold together. Something tells me that the manufacturers of perfume giveaways aren't thinking about heritage and childhood memories when they're selecting fabric and thread.
Bear has been helping us to test out the fall line, as well. It's getting positive feedback on the pajama front. From both members of the short set.