The Lovies of our Lives

ben_sleeping.jpg
Taken with my iphone, Berkeley, CA,

We got the first giraffe lovey at my baby shower. The aunt who gave it to me claims that I held it up with a puzzled look on my face, like what the heck is this? and gave a polite thank you. Little did I know that “Ra Ra” would become the most important and ubiquitous object in our home.

Let me start this story by mentioning that my mother is a shopper. She is one of those people that falls in love with a particular marinade for chicken and the next day will order a case. Discovers a great lipstick? She’ll order ten, just in case the color is ever discontinued. If I ever found a great shirt back in the day, a few more in various colors would promptly arrive in the mail. Bless her heart.

So maybe that’s what happened when Ben fell for the lovey, when it became his objet d’amour… (which some of the parenting books were saying was so vital for sleep) my why not order a case of em’? gene kicked in. Pretty soon I was online with my credit card.

It started out innocently enough.The challenge was trying to figure out how to rotate Ra Ra in the laundry when he wanted it in his hand all the time. So I ordered a couple more and hoped that he would never notice there was more than one on the premises. He didn’t notice for a while, but when he did discover it he was delighted to carry two of them around. We’d hand him one and he would immediately demand, OTHER ONE Ra Ra!!! So I ordered five more. God forbid we ever lose one, right? He then started to conduct elaborate puppet shows with the whole fleet of giraffes as the characters. Snow white and the Seven Dwarves? We totally have it covered.

The only issue now is that for sleeping he insists one in particular: “Stinky Ra Ra” which is of course the stinkiest, dirtiest, skankiest of the bunch. I am afraid to wash it because I know he will notice and all hell will break loose.

When I look at this photo from this afternoon, my heart melts with all those eyelashes and rosy cheeks. I could have just left it at that, I know, could have just posted a dreamy little photo of Ben, but I also had to tell you about our team of stinky Ra Ra’s. They are just so much a part of our lives.

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Hi, I’m Andrea

On this blog you’ll be learning with me how to use our voices, share our creative superpowers and live life in full color.

As an artist, photographer, life coach + mentor, I’m redefining what it means to be a SUPERHERO — ‘cause in my world, it’s got nothing to do with capes, spandex or sidekicks and everything to do with tenderness, intuition & baby steps of bravery.

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57 Comments

  1. pamela

    He’s just … so … beautiful. I want a ra ra!

  2. pamela

    He’s just … so … beautiful. I want a ra ra!

  3. Jolie

    You are such a smart mama! I would have never thought of ordering a second Ra-Ra! Genius!

  4. Blythe

    My son is right around Ben’s age, and he, too, has a giraffe lovey. Ours is called Gigi and we have three of them. The first two came from Target and my mom (God bless grandmas!) found the third at a resale shop. They were discontinued over a year ago and I live in fear that we might lose our Gigis and then what will I do?
    I used to wonder how people could charge $25 for stuffed animals on EBay. Now I understand.

  5. judith

    Um. I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit that I do this for my dog and his favorite toys.
    That’s an adorable picture of Ben!

  6. sperlygirl

    we have a green Lucky Bear here for my 3 yr old…and i have to sneak in “baths” for Lucky whenever i can – but dirty or not, he is the luckiest bear in the world! 🙂

  7. Marianne

    I always want to be that Auntie – the one that picks the Ra Ra. x

  8. nina beana

    we have the stinky froggie version from this same company- lulu likes to suck on the little knots at ends. i’m considering buying more, just in case 🙂

  9. Trish

    I believe this is in my top three favorite Superhero posts E.V.E.R. I can smile and weep just gazing at Ben in his dreamy neverland state of pure uninterrupted sleep innocence. Having a child you HEART does grow outside your body. Everyday I fall in love all over again with my ‘meatball’, Christopher and for the next ‘meatball’ to come.
    Trish
    patriciadolan@comcast.net

  10. Trish

    I believe this is in my top three favorite Superhero posts E.V.E.R. I can smile and weep just gazing at Ben in his dreamy neverland state of pure uninterrupted sleep innocence. Having a child your HEART does grow outside your body. Everyday I fall in love all over again with my ‘meatball’, Christopher and for the next ‘meatball’ to come.
    Trish
    patriciadolan@comcast.net

  11. Trish

    I believe this is in my top three favorite Superhero posts E.V.E.R. I can smile and weep just gazing at Ben in his dreamy neverland state of pure uninterrupted sleep innocence. Having a child your HEART does grow outside your body. Everyday I fall in love all over again with my ‘meatball’, Christopher and for the next ‘meatball’ to come.
    Trish
    patriciadolan@comcast.net

  12. vivienne

    oh andrea! ben and his stinky ra ra and his adorable sleeping self…so glad you decided to share the story too! i

  13. Sarah

    Yea for stinky Ra Ra’s! 🙂

  14. Zoe

    What a sweet photo. Those eyelashes!

  15. Katie

    I had a bunny that I loved…I still have her, actually. My mom had to wash Flopsy when she could, and she’s had a few “surgeries” over the years…but she has survived them all!
    Love this post and photo. So sweet.

  16. kristine

    This is so sweet. He’s amazing. And you – you are an incredible mom.

  17. kristine

    This is so sweet. He’s amazing. And you – you are an incredible mom.

  18. heather

    thank goodness for ra ra’s! my nephew (who was a premie) who is now 14 still has the little elmo that was in the incubator with him from day 1. its arm has been sewn back on a few times and one of his eyes is gone, but its just SO dear!

  19. chris

    How funny….we had “dobbie” – actually three of them. My daughter just gave them up about a year ago at age 10 – they were prohibitive at slumber parties! These were little pink satin blankets, about 18″ square. She always wanted the dirty, stinky one. I had to trick her when I wanted to wash one and I NEVER pulled one over on her – she always knew the difference. Yep, you do need a number of these little items. Although each one is different to the child and the same to us – I have found it a necessity to peaceful nights and fewer melt downs.

  20. Wanda

    A whole fleet of RaRas? Bliss.

  21. martha ellen

    My third son had a weiner dog named Ernie. I had a panic moment and I went out and bought a dozen Ernies. I put them in a storage container in my closet so i could trade it out if needed. Turns out that Ernie #1 had one eye a little lower than the other one and no other Ernie would do. He is six now and I asked him recently if he would like to share an Ernie or two with his new baby brother. He looked at me like I had sprouted an extra head and said “um, no.” How dare I even ask. I should have known better.

  22. cath

    Holy freaking geez, that’s just an awesome story. Oh such a nice and humorous feeling to carry with throughout the day…

  23. amber

    That is such a cute story. One of my son’s lovies is a blue blankey (soft and satiny). We had one then bought another for back up which he discovered and it became his bunny bear’s lovey (bunny bear is the other lovey) Then we temporarily lost both so I bought a third….found the other 2 now he sleeps w/all three. 🙂 So I can totally relate. The funny thing is he can tell the diff.

  24. gonzomama

    you are not alone. we have a very stinky frog. only we are crazy and just have one. many times we have wished for 2. just in case. but now they’d smell so different there’d be no tricking the boy!

  25. pixiemama

    we have a stinky stars blankie (also from a baby shower) & we have a stinky monkey. and a stinky monkey man to go with it (seriously – Finn has the smelliest little man feet i have ever encountered.) but what the heck. a little stinky never killed anyone.

  26. Karina Racz

    Hooray for stinky Ra-Ras and Ellies! What would we DO without them?! xxoo

  27. Tina

    Yay for the team! Everybody needs a team of lovies.

  28. Shelley Noble

    100% cutest story of all time.

  29. cath

    I’m back. Just had to tell you that this little story really DID carry me happily through my day (and night). A follow up to thank you for sharing this bit of sweet goodness and contentment with us.
    Subsequently, Ra Ra’s make the world a happy place (world “leaders” and politicians take note.)

  30. stef

    love this! kadison has her purple “buddy” blanket that we’ve bought 2 of so far and we’re down to 1 …can’t find it anywhere…don’t know what we’ll do when this one bites it. such a great story and photo!
    xox

  31. linda

    wonderful.

  32. Puanani

    We had Snowy. Snowy is a snow tiger. He was white with black stripes when he arrived in the mail over 13 years ago. Snowy even had his own Christmas stocking. He went everywhere with us. Snowy’s fur never met with a wash cloth or washing machine. Snowy’s white fur is now nearly black. He actually still has a place in 16 year old my man-boy’s room. Embrace the stinky Ra-Ra, these are the components of a happy childhood…

  33. mati

    awww… stinky ra ra team!

  34. crissy

    i’m 33 and have slept with the same rabbit stuffed animal since i was 4 or 5, my older sister had multiple plans to wash it, to my horror, but never succeeded. to this day, it remains unwashed, probably stinky (though my husband hasn’t complained) and still by my side (the other side from my husband). i have no stuffed toy borne illnesses to think of.

  35. f

    Just wanted to say Hello!
    I wish I had such a rabbit, what good dreams I could see…

  36. Megan

    We have that same giraffe. 🙂 We also have the duck, and switch them off for now. I’m sure she’ll prefer one over the other someday, and we’ll DEFINITELY be getting a case.
    Loved this story, SO cute.

  37. kristin

    oh my this is a familiar scene and story. my casey has “puppy” and i too fearing she or i would lose puppy somewhere some day i bought another but she only wants to worn out practically anorexic looking puppy , loved so much and so hard his stuffing is flat. she kindly takes other puppy but when it comes to crunch time it has to be the dirty ratty puppy who she calls the favoritest puppy in the world. who can argue with love like that? not i.

  38. Rachel

    I teach a pre-school class, and one of my two year olds has a “me-me” (pronounced “may may”) that is absolutely his comfort item. It is a blanket, and he mostly uses it during nap, but sometimes when he has a meltdown, he’ll ask for me-me. It took me a couple of weeks to realize that he has more than one, and they don’t even all look alike. It’s the idea, I suppose.
    Ah, aren’t children the sweetest?

  39. mamie

    i am SO IN Love with that child of yours. and the fact that the stinky rara is his best friend. we have a set of blankies given at a baby shower, likely from target and all polyester. they are the favorite of the boys, ironic considering how much i love to make them hand made bits. but i love that they love them, two years on and counting, though i cannot seem to wash the delicate smell of baby urine totally out of them, they love them. many kisses to young ben and his fleet of giraffes.

  40. merry jennifer

    I loved reading your story. My son, Oliver, had the green frog blanket in the style of yours. We also bought a second one to have, just in case he misplaced his favorite “froggy”. When Oliver’s big sister spilled the beans and showed him the second one, he then insisted on carrying both around. He’d talk to them, love on them, get mad at them…he adored “Froggy” and “More Froggy,” as he called them.
    Sadly, Froggy and More Froggy have been replaced by Baby (a plush pink babydoll borrowed from his sister).
    Again, loved your story. Reminded me so much of my son and HIS loveys.

  41. Ali

    That happens to be the EXACT same giraffe that Anna has been snuggling with 🙂

  42. jill

    Ohhh, those eyelashes and rosy cheeks. Sigh…

  43. pixie sticks

    such a sweet, loveley, awesome story. I hope ra-ra goes to college with Ben.

  44. Kritty49

    My daughter, who turned 32 several days ago – slept with a stuffed monkey (which she received from an aunt & uncle on her 2nd birthday). She still has “Monkey” and he is often displayed on a bookshelf, had traveled extensively with her, and attended Stanford University and UCLA-Law School.
    One Christmas, “Monkey” had surgery! His felt ears and tongue were pretty tattered, so my mom performed the “operation” overnight – giving him a new set of brown felt ears and red felt tongue. She packaged his “old ones” in a small Christmas box and gave them to my daughter as a rememberance. Monkey also lost one eye – which was also deemed okay!!! My daughter was diagnosed with Stargardt’s (the juvenile form of macular degeneration) at age 15…. I suppose “Monkey” wanted to support her as she adjusted to her declining vision.
    “Monkey” is just another member of the family – I loved reflecting on this memory…

  45. zerrin

    such a sweet story!

  46. zerrin

    such a sweet story!

  47. zerrin

    such a sweeet story !

  48. zerrin

    such a sweeet story !

  49. zerrin

    such a sweeet story !

  50. zerrin

    such a sweeet story !

  51. zerrin

    such a sweeet story !

  52. sparkd

    First of all, that picture is absolutely adorable. Could stare at it all day.
    I laughed so hard at “Stinky Ra Ra”! I think its hilarious that you’ve got so many too. My son sleeps with a stuffed panda from Ikea that he latched onto in the store one day and would not relinquish. He wouldn’t even let me swap it for one that didn’t have a spot of something on its head. He had never done that before or since. He calls it “bebe” (baby in French). I tried to buy another one as a back up, but they don’t sell them anymore. Fortunately I’m usually able to wash it without him noticing, although I have had to let him sleep with it in a bit of a nasty state a couple of times.
    I think the whole thing is precious.

  53. Emily

    I still have a little stuffed elephant that was given to my mom at a baby shower, and I’ll be 28 next week! It’s in pretty good shape, it was never something that I “had” to have to fall asleep or anything, but I’ve kept it all these years. Precious picture. -e

  54. Brandy

    Thank you for sharing! I’m going to a baby shower this Saturday and ended up ordering the Ra Ra as a gift–I’m going to put your story with the present. The mom-to-be is a big fan of your blog!

  55. amy c

    My 3 1/2 yr old twins sleep with their lovies (we call them doudous, French for blankie) – made by the same folks who made Ra Ra. My daughter has the pink lamp and my son has the light brown bear. I think Angel Dear is the brand. Of course we have an extra set as well. I love how these blankies smell and sometimes sneak into my kids’ rooms and sneak a sniff!!

  56. amy c.

    of course I mean’t pink LAMB – a pink lamp would not be so comforting!

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