As parents you buy you kids all sorts of toys and stuffed animals. Inevitably the kids like the boxes better than the toys. But eventually the boxes are destroyed and the toys are there to play with. Then your kid plays with just a few of the toys - the favorites.
I can truly say, that Dan had tons and tons of toys and quite a few stuffed animals. Here is his bed right now
None of these stuffed animals were purchased. Well, in one way you could say they were - with medical co-payments. Yes, every one of these came from a hospital.
The whale was from the emergency room when Dan was just over the age of 2. He had tripped and hit his head on a wooden arm of a rocking chair. About 4 hours into a 7 hour emergency room visit, a maintenance person brought Dan this whale. When anyone passed us in the hallway with the whale, it immediately brought a smile to everyone's face, partly because Dan was laughing and smiling the entire time. He would hold onto the fin of the whale while sleeping quite often.
The Eeyore in the middle was from his NICU stay. We actually bought this for him one day when we were going to see him in the NICU. It stayed in or near his bassinet the entire 3+ weeks he was in 2 different NICUs. It still plays Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star when you push its belly. The arms and legs of Eeyore are well worn from being chewed on when Dan was very young.
The lamb was from his big hospital stay at the specialized children's hospital when we received his diagnosis of Niemann-Pick Type C. In the emergency room, prior to admission, a child life specialist came in while they were putting in his IV and drawing blood and kept him amused. She asked if he would want a balloon or the stuffed animal. I opted for the stuffed animal because he like rubbing things. All through his hospital stay, this lamb was either a pillow or snuggled up under his arm. He even curled up with it when we came home. The lamb still smells of Dan's feeding formula.
Looking through his closet now and in his room, there are tons of other stuffed animals and lots of toys. But it is kind of interesting that Dan picked these three animals to make his own. He picked some of the most traumatic times of his life and locked onto the stuffed animals from those times. There are many times we thought Dan was very wise beyond his years, and always seemed to know more than we ever expected.