Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Many Adventures Of A Stuffed Camel Named Bob
(and the little girl who loves him)

Through Project Nursery, I found the most amazing website which inspired me to write this blog post.  Through their Custom Toy Portrait giveaway, I found First Friend Portraits.  First Friend Portraits makes custom portraits of kids' toys.

I cannot tell you how very much I love this idea.  I absolutely, positively, without a doubt, must have a portrait of Bob the camel.

We have oh so many toy stories of our own that we could share.  This has inspired me to share a few.

Let's start with Bobby.

Bobby is a stuffed camel.  His full name is Bob Notacat.  He, along with his sister Leafa Borrower, a giraffe, was a gift from daddy.

Here's a little back story:

While daddy was deployed, every night, we said the Mitzpah and the Sh'ma.  In between those, one night, our then 4-year-old said this prayer.  She had been more than a wee bit obsessed with camels since daddy was in the desert.

When the prayer started, I  thought it was so profound.  When a camel stormed into the prayer, it was all I could do to keep from cracking up.

Although it was my husband's second deployment to the Middle East, it was far more difficult for the twins than the first one (when they were only toddlers) had been.  They missed their daddy horribly.  When I relayed that to him, he decided to send them stuffed toys to comfort them in his absence.  Inspired by my long-term love affair with an aging orange wonder (which is another post for another day), he decided to send them stuffed animals in the hopes that those toys would become for them the comfort that Mustardseed had always been for me.

Giraffe overload w/daddy.  2 yrs old 

For L, the obvious choice was a stuffed giraffe.  She loves giraffes.  Our zoo visits absolutely always take us to the giraffes, many of whom, L knows by name.  So daddy sent her a stuffed giraffe that she named Leafa because giraffes eat leaves.  Her middle name is Borrowa because she doesn't ever take anything, since stealing is wrong.  She just borrows things.  So says my eldest.

It was a bit trickier to decide what to get her sister, though.  Inspired by the child's latest prayer, he opted for a camel and our lives have never been the same.

E. named her new fuzzy Bactrian wonder Bob.  Why?  We may never know, but he has been Bob and Bobby ever since.  His middle name is Notacat because the child kept arguing with me that she was going to name him Cat.  "He's not a cat," I told her.  So she proved me right.

Bobby isn't just any ordinary camel.  He's famous.  When they were in kindergarten, the girls each wrote stories for a contest.  She wrote and illustrated a story about how Bobby comforted her when her daddy was deployed.  She didn't win, but I was so impressed with her her tale.

I scanned the illustrations and copied the text to create a few 5x7 photo books for her of Bobby's deployment adventures.  It was one of the first stories she could read on her own and she's read it to everyone who would hold still long enough to listen.  She even dropped off a copy of her book at our local library.  

She'll be 9 soon.  I know puberty isn't far away.  She's not far from those terrifying teenage years and leaving "baby" things behind.  Yet again, she's separated from her daddy.  Bob has been a part of our family for five years now.  He has watched E cry for her daddy more often in those 5 years than most children are ever separated from their parents their entire lives.  Bobby is worn and faded and has lost most of his filling, yet, every night, you can find him in E's bed, often clutched in her arms.  

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