When our eldest was born we were showered with lovely gifts from friends and family. We opened one gift from friends Gaynor and Dave to find a blue polyester elephant comforter toy. We’d heard that lots of children like comforter toys to help them sleep so the elephant was deployed at bedtime when F reached around 6 months. In family tradition, all cuddly toys are named after the person who gave the gift so the blue elephant was affectionately christened “Dave”.
F immediately latched onto Dave and, having explored the various polyester appendages, decided that the trunk was the favoured bit to suck when dropping off to sleep. After the first few weeks it became clear that Dave had an amazing soporific effect on F.
We’d always resisted the urge to use dummies/pacifiers with F. That’s a whole new debate but for me, parents should use whatever works for them. In our case, Dave was the answer and he’s still doing sterling service 3 years on, although he’s looking a little battle weary these days. I couldn’t have imagined how a polyester elephant would integrate so tightly into our family life. So much so that if F were to fall and bump himself he would often holler for Dave instead of Mummy or Daddy. Slightly sad but hey, I can’t fault Dave for his night time vigil. I sometimes wonder whether F will still be attached to Dave when he goes off to university.
A note of caution for parents: one Dave is not enough. F would spin, flip and rotate in his cot often leaving him at one end and Dave at the other. In the murky darkness F could not always locate Dave. Cue crying followed by a Mummy or Daddy midnight search-and-rescue. Something had to be done and F’s grandparents came up trumps when they found that similar polyester elephants were stocked in the local Tesco. “Double Dave” night time deployment now swings the numbers in our favour, with Dave #3 and #4 on the bench to be rotated in when #1 and #2 get disgustingly soggy.
And when our little girl G was born you can probably guess what she received as a present…
Thank you Gaynor and Dave.