I sleep with a stuffed animal.
There. I said it. And I am not ashamed. Although you probably think less of me now.
Growing up, I always slept with stuffed animals. As I grew up, I consistently slept with Old Barfey every night. (For more on Barfey, click here.) Old Barfey was the right size to wrap my arms around and his ground nutshells provided the perfect amount of weight to prevent him from bouncing out of bed in the night. I loved his aged nappy fur. Touching it gave me a sense of security.
As I got older, I feared I would lose Barfey’s nose one night in a freak boating accident. (I kill me.) So, I admit, I took other stuffed animals into my bed. (Is that considered sleeping around? Does that make me a plush slut?) It was hard to find one that was the right size and softness. A stuffy whose quality was good enough that fur wouldn’t fall out instantly. I found that generic animals usually won out over licensed characters. And cuteness in the daytime did not always equal comfort in the night.
I moved out and got my own apartment. Did I still need a stuffed animal to sleep with? Hells ya! It was lonely and creepy in my apartment all alone at night.
Then my boyfriend (now-husband) moved in. It wasn’t so lonely then. But he didn’t find the both of us sleeping in my twin bed comfortable, so for several years we would take turns, one sleeping on the couch and one sleeping in the twin bed. No boyfriend to cuddle = I still needed a stuffed animal.
We bought a Queen size bed. (My boyfriend said we should have gotten a King. There is no way that would have fit in my apartment. We could barely walk around the Queen size.) Guess what? It turns out my boyfriend was not a cuddler. And I usually went to bed before him anyway. So, I still had a stuffed animal.
I tried on and off for a period of time to go to sleep without a stuffed animal. I could. But it took a lot longer to fall asleep and I didn’t sleep as well. I tend to have panic attacks as I am trying to fall asleep. A lack of stuffed animal seemed to make them markedly worse.
We moved into our house in 2004 and got a dog. Finally, I thought, I can snuggle with my canine. Dave is furry and orange and beautiful. But my husband instituted a “no dog on the bed” rule. Which stayed in place about 15 months, until my husband got a dog of his own. Two dogs, guess which one sleeps on the bed most nights–my husband’s dog, Parker. He is all legs and he snores. Although I must say, he comes in handy come wintertime. Parker is a short-hair Pointer, so he shares his heat better than Dave, who is a fluffy Lab-Chow mix. She keeps her heat to herself.
But even with a snoring Pointer next to me, I find that I still sleep better with a stuffed animal in my arms. My current favorites are larger than I would have chosen as a kid. There are two Build-A-Bears, a Stitch, A Ty Panda Bear (Beckett, created exclusively for Borders), and Max, from the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. My asbestos friend bought me Max while I was in the hospital having my son. I had told her I needed a stuffy to sleep with while I was there. He didn’t help that much. I really didn’t get much sleep while in the hospital anyway.
So, there. I have admitted that I am a grown woman who sleeps with stuffed animals. What is there to be ashamed of? So I find comfort in a pile of fur and plastic pellets? A bundle of plush and polyester fiberfill? Isn’t that better than resorting to sleeping pills or alcohol? Isn’t it better than being the crazy cat lady and having a house that smells like ammonia?
Everyone, find a stuffed animal that meets your particular needs and snuggle up with it tonight and see if you don’t sleep better. Plus, you could have fun going to Build-A-Bear! But make sure you take a small child with you, for cover:)
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