When I’d completed the annual purge of toys ahead of Freya’s second birthday tomorrow she still had enough to fill her own toy shop – although, it has to be said, the majority of them are pre-loved.
This year, rather than randomly adding to the plastic mountain, I decided to take a step back when it came to our presents and look at what she actually needs.
The trouble is, she’s two. She doesn’t need anything (apart from some winter clothes). In fact, you could give her a cardboard box and some packaging paper and she’d be happy (I do this, often).
Then I remembered that ages ago I had read some blog reviews featuring the work of talented illustrator and writer Jenny Causebrook Moss who immortalises “young children’s first favourite toys in one-off, original portraits”.
I loved this idea at the time – although originally thought about getting my teddy done – but looking at Freya’s beloved Mollie Rabbit recently I thought this might be the ideal present for her, just in case the bedraggled bunny isn’t with us for much longer.
She’s been washed so many times but still comes out looking just as grey as when she went in, despite trying all sorts of home remedies to get her clean(er). And she’s not even allowed outside very often (we have Bear Grylls for that).
Not like my Mickey who is almost 40 and doesn’t look a day over 35 in my opinion (unlike his owner who looks every inch of her 39 years!). He has been around the world, had many different outfits and, aside from a slight musty whiff, still has lots of life left (unless Freya somehow gets hold of him).
Mark also still has his favourite childhood teddy (his is a polar bear, creatively named polar, with strange eyes that follow you around the room) and even before she was born I was determined that Freya would have one to keep.
I tried getting her attached to all sorts of bears and animals but when a friend bought her a dog lovey it became all she wanted.
In a rare moment of forward thinking, we attempted to buy another Dog Dog (we carried on the creative naming), just in case anything should happen to him, but couldn’t find any so got Mollie Rabbit instead.
Thankfully we have now successfully bought a back up Mollie but Freya is well aware they are different and refuses to have anything to do with the new one (she’s not daft).
While I hope that Mollie 1 is with her forever (and before she gets too bad I plan to put her away in the keepsake box), thanks to this beautiful picture Freya will always be able to remember her first teddy. The painting is something that will live on long after she’s done with her plastic toys*.
You can see Jenny’s other toy portraits and find out about pricing etc here, if you’re interested.
*Ok, I have actually bought her a cash register as well as some winter clothes. If you see her, don’t let on!