Worrying about TED

For her first birthday, S was given a “My first Steiff” teddy bear by Big S.

Shortly after her birthday, she started nursery and they suggested I should bring in a transitional object from home – something for her to cuddle and be reminded of home. The Steiff teddy fit the bill, so I put a name tag in his ear, and we named him Ted. He went to nursery with her every day, and S cuddled him when she had a nap or was feeling sad.

Quite often, Ted would stay in S’s nursery bag when she came home; she didn’t ask for him at bed time, and didn’t particularly miss him on the occasions he was accidentally left at nursery.

Then, she got poorly. And she was teething. And she stopped breastfeeding. And suddenly, she needed Ted at bed time. Still though, she cuddled him only at nap time at nursery, and bed time at home. Occasionally, if she was ill, she would cuddle him at other points during the day.

This was until we moved house last month.

On our days off, Ted used to stay in bed, waiting for bed time. Now, he comes downstairs with us and spends all day in the living room. Whenever there is a tumble or fall, whenever S is upset or fed up or over-tired or… anything at all, she cuddles Ted.

My first Steiff cuddles


I know a lot of children have a comforter of some description, and they carry them around with them all the time. I know it’s normal behaviour, and we’ve just moved house and are still settling into our new place… but it bothers me. S never needed anything to comfort her before; if she was upset, she cuddled me for a while, and she was fine. Now, it seems that a cuddle from mummy is not enough.


Yes, I am aware that this post makes it seem like I am jealous of a cuddly toy. It’s not that I’m jealous of Ted… more that I’m worried about what this signifies. To me it feels like a developmental step backwards, to become so dependent on a comforter when she never needed one before. I feel like I’m failing at parenting her, if she needs a teddy to help her through the day, when she wasn’t bothered before.

S and I spent the first year of her life so close; she was either in the sling or in my bed a lot of the time. When she went to nursery we continued to use the sling and were still very close. When she moved rooms at nursery, she did it without the slightest problem, and settled in perfectly.

I know a house move is a big thing; arguably the biggest thing to have happened in her short life. I know it will take her a while to fully settle here. I think this is me feeling guilty, because I’ve been so busy since the move.

Since we moved, everything has been up in the air; she’s changed her longer days at nursery, and because of changes in my work I’ve been preoccupied with trying to keep up with things. Her toys are not yet properly unpacked and she doesn’t know where everything is. I don’t yet know where everything is. Nothing has a proper home yet. I’m moody and stressed; I snap at her and tell her to stop jumping on things or pulling my arm or climbing on me.

At night, when she ends up asleep in my bed, she makes her way right across the bed until she is touching me. Sometimes she wakes enough to call, “mummy?” and when I respond, she goes back to sleep – but in the day, she needs Ted around.


I’m hopeful this is short term; I’m hopeful Ted will soon be left in bed as she makes her way downstairs, eager to start her day. Right now though, I feel like a bad mother. I feel like moving house is not a good enough excuse for our connection to have been quite this lost. I feel like I need to do better. I can half-arse my work, my meetings, this blog, whatever. I can’t half-arse the parenting. And so, right now I am worrying about a cuddly toy.


Update: be careful what you wish for!

Categories: Uncategorized

Vicky Charles

Vicky is a single mother, writer and card reader.


Tatty · 25/11/2014 at 07:38

You see, I view it completely differently . To me it’s a positive step, it’s S realising she can comfort herself and when she comes to you it’s either for the big stuff or just cos she wants a mummy cuddle. She’s becoming independent. Both lovely but painful to see.

Kate · 25/11/2014 at 11:46

Nothing to worry about! Totally understandable that the attachment you nurtured has got stronger with her and Ted. They love role play and pretend play at this age, Ted is just someone she can share everything with & who understands her!! Not a slight on you or your relationship…

Bek · 26/11/2014 at 00:21

Please don’t feel like a bad mother-you are far from that! Moving house is stressful as well as all of the changes that come with it. If S has changed routine with having longer days at Nursery too, this will affect both of you. Not necessarily in a bad way. Just in the way that things are different. She is learning how to cope with all these changes by using Ted to help her as Ted has been there most of her life. Once her other toys are unpacked, and when you are both settled into your new home and routune, you’ll both go back to feeling closer again, I’m sure. It is good that she is trying to comfort herself more. The older they get, the less they need as many cuddles (it took me ages to get used to that!). If you are still worried, do something special and fun together to take your mind off the move/to feel more relaxed. It might help x.

Sarah MumofThree World · 27/11/2014 at 09:52

Don’t feel like a bad mum! My daughter only developed a close bond with a cuddly toy at 4! My only worries about Teddy have ever been that we lose him. She’s 8 and a half now and still carries him with her when she gets up in the morning and holds him when she watches TV. Until she was 7 he went to the toilet with her and she stuck him on the back of her chair when she ate her meals. She went on a school residential last week and took the very difficult decision to leave him at home because she was afraid of losing him. It’s the only time she has ever been separated from him.

ghostwritermummy · 27/11/2014 at 12:33

All of mine have teddies that they are attached to and I’ve never worried about it. We all seek comfort in one form or another and moving house can be pretty stressful for kids. I’m sure as she settles in she will rely less and less on Ted x x x

Isobel Morrell (@Coldhamcalling) · 27/11/2014 at 16:05

Teddies have been comforting Little People from ever since they arrived in the world in early 1900’s. Do not worry: S’s Ted is her point of reference in an unfamiliar environment – whether it’s home, nursery or wherever. Teddies are world-renowned for never telling people what they’ve been told by their Forever Friend – and if S didn’t have Ted, she’s probably be even more of a handful than you might be able to cope with currently. Don’t worry: be glad S has as special a friend as Ted – and be sure to look after him for her (and get her to look after him when she get older and less in need of his comforting presence.) Steiff Bears, even current ones, do become valuable in a monetary sense as years go by. As a Teddy Bear restorer, I’d be very wary of “treating” one in my Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic, because any therapy I might apply could have a bad effect on that value.

Jenny · 30/11/2014 at 21:28

It’s painful but they are becoming independent and self soothing. I am sad that Missy Moo doesn’t want me as much as she used to. I was upset for awhile that she wasn’t running to me as much as she used to for things. So hard to let them grow up. I can totally relate to your feelings I felt the same. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. I hope to see you again next week. Happy Holidays #sharewithme

Crystal Schall · 21/12/2014 at 06:04

It speaks volumes to me that you worry about her needing Ted so much instead of just saying “Thank goodness,” and moving on like a lot of moms would these days. I’d think a lot less of you if you weren’t concerned about her wanting to cuddle with her bear and didn’t miss her cuddling with you so much. My ds is 17 and I still miss our snuggle time to this day. No, I’m not a perv or anything. I just miss my baby, and I guess I always will.

I’m sure once things settle back down and you’re all less stressed and everything is unpacked that the bear will get less of her time. For now, try not to worry about it and be happy that she’s found such a healthy way to deal with her feelings. She could be doing it in all other kinds of not so nice ways we see on the news all the time. You’re a good mom or she wouldn’t be doing such a good job at dealing with everything :)

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