Lovey Repair

November 5, 2012

By Amy Hackworth.

The very thought of a childhood lovey makes me sentimental. My own sweet Blue Baby, a stuffed cloth doll, was so well-loved that her big soft head is eternally flopped over to one side or the other. Our oldest son had a beloved stuffed animal, and we laugh when we look back at pictures of Giraffe in pristine condition. Was he ever really that yellow? Or that clean? Did he once have both eyes?

Fortunately, the American Academy of Pediatrics says loveys, or transitional objects, have lots of benefits for children, including reassurance, comfort, and security. The American Academy of Pediatrics also wisely suggests purchasing duplicate loveys, so you can wash one while the other is being loved, or protect against a heartbreaking loss. This is brilliant advice.

But maybe it’s too late to buy another lovey, or maybe your child’s lovey is one-of-a-kind. What to do when it’s torn or damaged or loved nearly into oblivion? NYC Lovey Repair to the rescue. This incredibly caring mother-daughter duo runs a non-profit, in-house clinic where they lovingly restore, repair, and rescue loveys who are on the brink of demise.

The best part — and there are so many good parts — is that little Amalia, President, is just seven years old. I’m so moved by this family’s remarkable generosity, thoughtfulness, and sensitivity. Think of all the wonderful things Amalia is learning as she shares her skills with people who need her help. This is using time wisely. A little girl who grows up mending other people’s treasures is going to do some remarkable things in her life (but no pressure, Amalia!). I’m equally inspired by her mother, Becca, who organizes, coordinates, and oversees the efforts, and does plenty of sewing herself. And all of it at no charge! Reading their blog assures me that it’s truly a joy for her to work on this with her daughter. And it must be so fun to say to baffled lovey-owners, “Oh no, there’s no charge for that. We just do this because we want to help.”

Do you have a good lovey story? (I know you do!) Have you helped your kids serve in a similar way? Or have Amalia and Becca got you thinking about something your family could do for others?

Jennifer Murphy handmade bears and animals, available here, look like they’ve already been loved a lifetime or two.

P.S. — For a good cry, watch this video about a boy who’s amazingly reunited with a long lost lovey, and the sweet post that accompanies it.

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lindsey November 5, 2012 at 11:54 am

I love that this exists! Although, I was completely distracted from the beginning of this post bc my lovey was also a stuffed cloth doll called Blue Baby. And now I’m totally curious how similar they are. I have searched for years to find another doll like my Blue Baby, because mine is so so loved (read: beyond cleaning and falling apart). Finally, I had to retire her to a shelf.

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2 Amy Hackworth November 6, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Lindsey, we need to compare photos! I would LOVE to find out someone has a Blue Baby like mine!!

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3 Meagan November 5, 2012 at 11:57 am

My mom’s best friend gave her Friend Bear (the Carebear) before she moved across the country just days before I was born. My mom brought the Carebear to the hospital with her when she went in to labour and the bear and I were inseparable through childhood (and maybe a little past childhood…). I am now 27 and have since moved in with my significant other and Carebear still sits on my night stand. She has no eyes and has very little grey fur (faded from peach over the years!) with holes all over her body but I cannot bear to put her in storage. I feel as though she’s owed that much after all the years of loyalty she gave me, ha!

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4 Lindsey (Cafe Johnsonia) November 5, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Well, I’m crying. That video reminds me of all the times we’ve lost my kids’ favorite stuffed animals and they’ve been reunited. One time my daughter left her Baby Piggy (like my 4th child, seriously) at the SLC airport on our way back to NYC. They had shut the plane doors when we realized it was gone. They wouldn’t let us off the plane to go get it. THE PILOT went and found it. It was amazing. And I cried then too. :)

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5 Amy Hackworth November 6, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Yes, I’d totally cry, too, Lindsey! I love that the pilot got it for you–so sweet.

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6 Amy November 5, 2012 at 1:16 pm

I’ve done countless surgeries on my kids loveys. every now and then I go into ‘surgeon’ mode after they’ve gone to bed, and they wake up to a fixed up dog/bear/whatever

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7 Carter Higgins November 5, 2012 at 1:38 pm

I still have mine from childhood. I’m almost smack dab in the middle of 30 and 40. It is old, ugly, busted, and LOVED. And like Lindsey, I’m crying!

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8 Sara November 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I have a teddy bear. His name is Teddy (of course). He is well loved and I just found him this past weekend while cleaning out our basement. He is still wearing a yarn necklace I made one summer at camp.

That video is beyond awesome. And the article is great, too. My favorite quote: “that once, she held me to her heart as I hold my babies, and wished that I would never leave, while working hard to teach me to go.” That is the truth, so beautifully stated.

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9 Amy Hackworth November 6, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Yes, a perfect line. I love that, too.

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10 Sarah Heat November 5, 2012 at 3:16 pm

My twin girls shared a favorite lovey, Mother Cat. Once they left it at the mall and we were never able to find it. I finally tracked one down on ebay- of course it was brand new, so I sent them a letter in the mail that said that Mother Cat was on a spa vacation in Utah and having a wonderful time, and that she was going to come home from a trip with their dad (who was there for work at the time). I’m not sure why I went through such machinations, especially as my kids were 3 and probably able to just accept a pristine new Mother Cat. They were happy to have her back, though now she is just one of the may stuffed animals of a pair of seven year-olds.

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11 Amalia November 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Love her name ;) And what an amazing thing they are doing. I know my lovey had to be saved from death more than a few times when I was little!

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12 julia [life on churchill] November 5, 2012 at 5:06 pm

my kids have blankies. My son lost his when he was a baby and we were able to find a replacement on ebay. It took some researching but I’m so thankful for the internet and its resources!

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13 Dale Coykendall November 5, 2012 at 6:18 pm

The little bear is the cutest thing I ‘ve seen in many years (o.k. because my daughter is in college and the little furry guys are bagged and stashed)
A ridiculous story to relate when I have a minute.
Cheers Dale

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14 jennifer November 5, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Love this post, Amy. My children all have loveys and I so enjoy watching the sweet relationships that continue to develop between them and their stuffed friends. Don’t you think loveys are kind of an extension of self for young children? My 10-year-old still can’t sleep without her “baby pillow”.
js

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15 Amy Hackworth November 6, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Thanks, Jen. I also love watching their relationships develop. That’s such a good way to describe what happens. And so interesting to think of their loveys as extensions of themselves. I think that’s probably so true, but I hadn’t thought of that. Kind of brings new meaning to that sweet little guy’s tears when he sees Ah-ah again.

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16 Mrs. LIAYF November 5, 2012 at 10:45 pm

Our son Lukas was given his lovey – Panda – when he was admitted for emergency surgery at Seattle Children’s Hospital when he was 1 1/2. It was from http://www.alliesfriendsfoundation.org, a non-profit started by a mother who lost her young daughter, Allie, when the little girl was just 9 years old. He was inseperable from Panda, until we lost him on a vacation to Hawaii when Lukas was 3.
He was so sad, and we were so desparate that we called Allie’s Foundation to see if we could replace it and were told that they no longer made the panda he had received. But a few days later we received a call from them saying they had found a single Panda stuffy in storage in a back room, and they sent him in the mail for free!!
Lukas was THRILLED when Panda arrived in the mail. We told him he got lost when traveling, and told a police man his address so he could be mailed home. The story gained a few holes when about 6 months later we found the original Panda at the bottom of our luggage when packing for another trip. But, we explained that it was Panda’s brother who had come to visit.
So, now we have Big Brother Panda and Little Brother Panda, and they sleep with Lukas every night. And, of course, we donate to Allie’s Foundation every year.

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17 Cherie November 6, 2012 at 1:49 am

Ahhh, love a good lovey reunion. Our son’s lovey “Lamby” has been lost (temporarily) twice, both times we were all heart sick. Now that my son is seven Lamby stays at home. We never bought a spare because there is only one Lamby.

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18 Valerie November 6, 2012 at 8:50 am

When I was about 3 years old my dad “sent” home a Teddy Bear from Vietnam for Christmas and at the time the bear was really almost bigger than I was. He was well loved for many, many years and eventually found his way to a box in the attic. About 10 years ago or so I again recieved this same Teddy Bear as a Christmas gift. My mom had found him in the attic and sent him somewhere where he was lovingly cleaned, repaired and plumped up. He’s a bit smaller than his original size but I love that he is again part of my personal landscape … who says you’re too old for stuffed animals, not me.

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19 Bestof2sisters November 6, 2012 at 8:55 am

Oh we are huge Lovey fans in our family… My son has Geoffrey the Elephant, and I dare not think what would happen if we ever lost hime. I guard him like a thirld child.
I used to have Windsblow as a child, who once or twice went missing. My Mum and I made posters and hung them up round our village, and to our relief he somehow always managed to find his way back home ;)
/Camilla

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20 Vanessa November 6, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Wow, what a powerful video! I have a lovey still, at 35 yrs of age. It’s a blanket that I call softie. I have had substitutes through the years but recently came upon my original two softies that I use now. They comfort me more than any person has. And what adult doesn’t still need reassurance, comfort, and security?

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21 Lisa J. November 6, 2012 at 9:19 pm

So sweet! I remember blue baby :)

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22 Amy Hackworth November 6, 2012 at 9:39 pm

:)

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23 kaela d. November 8, 2012 at 10:17 am

I have a velvet bunny rabbit that I got when I was very little. I am almost 25 and still have her. Sometimes I think I should “grow up” but what’s more grown up than admitting that something gives you comfort and security and reminds you of your innocence. There’s just so much love in that rabbit. I cried with her and took her on trips and she was there for the happy times too. I remember my mom was working at a nursing home for awhile when I was younger….she managed to sneak my worn out, stuffing falling out of the legs, rabbit and had an old grandma re-stuff and dress her in new maroon velvet. I think it’s taken 10 years for the stuffing to break in but she’s awesome and the fact that my mom did her best to keep her “alive” means more to me now than ever. :)

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24 Carolina Lindsay November 8, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Oh my, (tears, tears, tears) so when I was a little girl I had a stuffed tiger…His tail was infinitely more wonderful to me than all the candy and all the presents in the world, “Tigre” (in Spanish) and his tail were my best friends. At night I would rub the little tail back and forth on my nose in a soothing motion that ALWAYS put me to sleep. I grew up with boys and these boys seemed to make it their ultimate goal to torture Tigre. The would hold his tail and swing his round and round for full minutes until finally his tail would start to rip off…I would cry for hours and hold him, telling him it would be alright and ask his permission to still use his tail for sleeping. On these nights I would feel that devastation a persona feels at being confronted with great loss..I have truly compared this feeling to ones I have experienced as an adult and I know that this devastation was real. However, magically in the mornings Tigre’s tail would be just as new. I believed in miracles then because I still had no idea of the meaning of motherhood. My mother would take Tigre once I was sound asleep and she would stitch him back up perfectly then place him back in my arms and put my little fingers around his tail as if he had never left me. Tigre taught me about comfort and love, but most importantly about the importance of my mother, to constantly and continually be there for me. I lost my mother at the age of 14 and still had Tigre at my side. I didn’t sleep with his tail anymore, but I kept it near my bed most nights as a reminder that she was still there for me. Thank-you for this post and for bringing back warm memories!

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