It's my firm belief that every kid should have a well-loved bear. Throughout my childhood, I had a Tedadore, (he was French, naturally) and he kept me company from my first Christmas through adulthood. I even brought him off to college with me, where my roommates quickly dubbed him Crusty. After nearly twenty years of hard lovin', the name was apt. He certainly was not a dapper bear.
Tedadore is worn to the seems now. He is missing his nose, and half of the stitching in his mouth droops down to the left. Still, I can't just toss him. Ted is currently enjoying his retirement from the the top shelf of the downstairs closet.
Meanwhile, Madeline's buddy, Olaf, is her most constant and loyal companion.
Olaf has quite the gruff exterior. First off, Uncle Kevin made it clear that Olaf speaks with a Eastern European accent and sounds surprisingly similar to Henry Kissinger. Sometimes this makes it difficult for Eric and I to understand what Olaf says. Luckily, Madeline understands him perfectly, and is able to translate for us.
Olaf does not enjoy the company of Madeline's more frivolous toys. Frankly, the princess dolls annoy him. He can't understand why one would want to spend so much time singing about feelings and gossiping about princes. Plus, they always want to give him hugs.
Elmo flat-out confuses him. He is furry like a bear, but red with no ears. What is he? A monster? Olaf thought monsters were supposed to be scary, but Elmo uses crayons and sings to his pet Goldfish, Dorothy. This cannot be the case.
Unfortunately for Olaf, however, he is the beloved possession of a two-year-old girl. This means he is constantly forced into new and embarrassing situations that a bear of his stature and lineage should not have to endure.
For example, we sometimes dress Olaf up in clothes Madeline refuses to try on. This included her lawn gnome Halloween costume:
|"Lawn Gnomes....disgusting little creatures...digging in the dirt all day, picking tulips."|
|"I won't stand for this kind of humiliation. Next you'll be expecting me to prance about like one of those bears with the toilet paper stuck to their bottoms." |
And even Winnie the Pooh Bear:
|"I do not like honey. I eat salmon...like real bears do. This Pooh is just made of fluff."|
|"This Oscar the Grouch...what is his problem?"|