A Boy and His Penguin Should Not be Parted

When Joseph was less than a year old, his godmother sent him a stuffed dragon. Dubbed Puff the Magic Night-Night Dragon, Puff sang and lit up. Joseph lugged the toy everywhere (along with Blankie and a UW Badger) giving his grandmother and myself grief over how filthy it was becoming. You couldn't really wash it since it had electronics inside! Still, we all loved Puff and we still do. In fact, Puff still leaves the bedroom if Joseph is upset, scared or wants to snuggle.

Camille doesn't really have a lovey she needs to snuggle with. Until this last week, neither did George. Sure, he would lug Perry around sometimes but he wasn't super attached to it, not like Joseph is attached to Puff.

The Saturday before his birthday, we took the kids to Fritz's, a restaurant where they bring you your food on a toy train. Afterwards we went to the mall to burn energy off the kids and walk around. We stopped by Build a Bear to see their new stuffed Grinch and let the kids wish.

At one point, George ran up to Adam and shoved an unstuffed penguin in his face. "PENGUIN!" We let him play with it for a few minutes before Adam told him it was time to go and he needed to put it back. George met him with a, "NOOOOO! ME PENGUIN!" Adam tried again to tell him that the penguin lived at the store but he wouldn't hear of it.

We had never, ever seen him act like that to a toy. Ever. Apparently, he and the penguin had bonded and he was not going to let that toy go. We looked at each other and silently agreed to buy it for him. We had Penguin stuffed lightly (he doesn't like them firmly stuffed, for some reason) and took him home.

George hasn't put him down since. In fact, he's started talking more. "Poppa Penguin?" (Grandpa see penguin?) "Penguin EAT! Penguin night!" He's been rocking it like a baby, feeding it and having Penguin play. If Penguin is not right there in the morning, we hear "PENGUIN?" until he's located.

The best part of this is what happened the next day. George has not wanted to go to CCD. He fights it tooth and nail and cries the whole time. CCD has been going on since September and he has participated once. Well, Sunday he asked to bring Penguin to CCD. Normally we say no but I shrugged and said, "Why not? It makes him feel secure and he's so attached to it already." That day, he walked happily in and showed everyone his penguin. The other kids thought it was cool and George happily sang songs and colored with Penguin by his side.

I think I love Penguin.

In a world that is so overwhelming to my son, I am glad he has a warm, snugly, stuffed friend to keep him happy and grounded. I hope he and Penguin have many, many adventures together!