Today's Photo a Day topic is "Animal". The only "pet" stage we've reached at our house is fish, so other than family members, there are no living animals in our house. What we do have in abundance, however, is stuffed animals.
I have become quite accustomed to finding some fuzzy little creature staring at me with its beady little eyes from some corner or another everywhere I turn. I have found stuffed animals in my bed, in the bathtub, on the kitchen counter, under the dining room table, in every nook and cranny in my car, on the porch, and in every other imaginable spot in and around my house.
Between my two children, there are easily well over 100 stuffies living in my home. Bears, dogs, giraffes, elephants, penguins, pandas, monkeys, zebras, hedgehogs, hippos, foxes, even a rather sad-looking chicken. And they are dearly loved, each and every one. The older ones have become threadbare from endless hugging, snuggling, and dragging around from pillar to post. As much as I adore being snuggled and hugged by my kids myself, there are moments when I need to detach those small beings from my legs to do other important things, like making dinner or cleaning the house or taking a shower or peeing. These fluffy little friends have served as substitute snugglers for any time that Mum is not available for cuddling.
They are symbolic of both my children's affection and of my occasional freedom from that affection. They remind me that my children are learning to love and take care of creatures smaller than themselves. They're not yet capable of taking care of a living animal, but the affection and attention they lavish on their stuffies convinces me that it will not be long before they will be ready to be in charge of a real, living, breathing animal.