Russell has lived in our house since Christmas 2002, when Grandpa Bartle gave him to Zachary. Zachary and Tyler were never big stuffed animal fans, so we have tried to curtail our collection of furry friends over the years. Those who have survived Mom's periodic toy purges smile happily from Gavin's hutch, adding color and visual interest -- but not clutter -- to his bedroom.
Gavin discovered this bear a couple of months ago as I carried him from his bed to the hallway. He almost leaned out of my arms before I realized what he was doing, but he clearly had this bear in mind as he pulled it off the shelf. Gavin formed an immediate bond with Russell that day, and now Russell is an integral part of our life.
When Gavin is sad, Russell is calming. When Gavin is happy, Russell adds to the fun. Russell gets hugged and slobbered on and cuddled with at all hours of the day, and best of all, he is a wonderful companion at bedtime.
That's why Mr. Binky went bye-bye this week. Gavin has been less than interested for months, but we held onto the pacifier for silencing purposes on our recent airplane rides and at church. Gavin has made it quite clear lately that he WILL NOT be plugged, so he has officially become our youngest child to ditch the binky and our only child to bid it farewell without our encouragement.
It's a well-known fact that I am not a fan of animals, but my hat goes off to the little bear who makes my Gavin so happy and is helping him grow up at the same time.