|(c) Disney - I suppose my pantless theory has been disproved, because I love Winnie the Pooh.|
watched January 29, 2012
I was never a Barbie girl. I think I had two, at most. My sister liked to play with their hair more than I did, and at one point my brother accidentally broke off one of their heads. I don't remember being upset. Clearly I did not have much of an attachment to the thing (no pun intended).
But I did have many stuffed animals, and I loved them. My siblings and I spent a lot of our childhood playing with our stuffed animals. They not only had names but also relationships with one another. Each of them had distinct voices and personalities, often based on their species and size. The small white mouse, Christopher, for example, spoke with a lisp and was quite shy.
There was perhaps no better loved, however, than Mousey, my brother's big gray mouse that he got for his 4th birthday. I still remember the day that my dad and I picked him out at Target. Although he was Tim's, all 3 of us spent the most time with Mousey. I recall one evening just a few years ago when Lynnette and I were chatting in her room at home, with Mousey sitting in the middle of us. At one point I remarked, "Doesn't it feel like there's someone else listening to us right now?" She agreed, and so did Mousey.
As I was reminded that night, Mousey and our other stuffed animals were more than just toys. They were our friends--friends that had seen us grow up and witnessed all of our joys and pains. Our imaginations had given them a life of their own. On happy days, Mousey would be jumping and bouncing around, like Tigger. When Tim got injured, Dr. Mousey would comfort him, as I suspect the motherly Kanga would do. But most days, he was just like Winnie the Pooh, possessing the same childlike innocence and love for fun and adventure. He even had an obsessive liking for his favorite food, cheese, as Pooh did for 'hunny'.
It's because of this part of my childhood that Winnie the Pooh is especially meaningful to me. There's something magical about the relationship between a boy and his teddy bear, as my friend Christopher said (similarity in name is merely coincidence!). In those wonderful days of 'doing nothing,' we actually stumble upon something incredibly special. We learn to love, laugh, discover and create alongside toys that become more than toys. They embody a part of ourselves--the best parts, giving us an outlet for our thoughts and emotions that we may not even know we have. Through Eeyore's melancholy demeanor we express pain and sadness in a safe environment. The neurotic and industrious Rabbit helps to release frustration when things don't go as planned. Piglet gives us a way to talk about our fears and worries.
The Winnie the Pooh franchise is one of Disney's most successful, and it's no surprise. In these lovable characters and their charming adventures, we are taken back to the simple days of being a child, full of wonder and endless goodness. And let's face it, we could all use a little more of that, no matter how old we are.