Owen received a lot of stuffed animals and toys even before he was born. I had them all set up in his crib for months (his crib never actually got used until he was 5 months old). In the crowd of animals was a bear that was given to him by his Nana and Poppy. The bear had a tag that said Sweeney. At first I was not that excited about the name but honestly… am I really going to take the time to think of a name for a stuffed animal? Come on. I should be happy he came with a name right?
Owen was about 6 months old when he first seemed interested in him. I thought it was so cute that he had a favorite already at such a young age. What I didn’t know was that a favorite turns into a best friend. I think Grizwald (our dog, who I’m sure you will hear about often) is by far number one on Owens list of friends but Sweeney is a very close second.
I have read many children’s books about blankies and stuffed animals etc…that kids become so attached to that they have to eventually be cut up into small pieces and placed in various pockets, bags, and beds (the blankies not the kids). I secretly always wanted my child to have that “security blanket” to help him through tough times but I never imagined it would be a bear that is as big as a one year old.
My brother and I both had blankets we liked when we were young. I vaguely remember mine but I distinctly remember my brothers. He had 2 pastel green and yellow blankets that I believe were the ones he was sent home from the hospital with. We both remember them smelling like maple syrup. I actually remember my brother himself smelling like maple syrup and therefore, everything he owned smelling like it (and no, he didn’t have that infant disease where you DO actually smell like maple syrup). The funny part is my mom really did the “cut up the blanket into pieces” thing for my brother which I just found out recently. I was laughing so hard at the thought of my brother secretly having a piece of his blanket hidden somewhere in his condo currently. All ratted up and syrupy.
Sweeney has held up pretty well considering what he goes through on a daily basis. He is currently being forced to eat all meals at the table; in Owens lap. I can usually distract Owen and get the bear out of sight but if I don’t Sweeney gets many mouthfuls of whatever is on the menu for the day. Just a few days ago I gave Owen a real cup to drink out of (we made the mistake of letting him do it once so of course this has been a big hit in toddler land) and so today I was giving Owen his daily demanding cup of water and I went into the other room for some reason and came back into the kitchen and he was pouring the water onto Sweeney’s mouth and making a little drinking noise (num num num). It was incredibly cute and endearing yet not that awesome to clean up. I can’t even take myself seriously most of the time so how am I supposed to have this conversation with Owen about how “Sweeney doesn’t need water because all Sweeneys are thoroughly watered before they go to their new homes”. I often wonder about where I get this shit from.
Anyway, what I am trying to say is that I am happy that Owen has Sweeney (he calls him Naaam, I have no idea why) to comfort him during his moments of shyness and uncertainty. He sleeps with him, cuddles and wrestles with him, and does the classic dragging him behind him when he walks and overall seems to be a pretty solid friend.
And this is why I am Sweeney’s Keeper. Because deep down that damn bear knows he’s gonna get sliced up into little pieces and stuffed into pockets and pillowcases.