the whole gruesome procedure reminded me of the time when i was two or three years old, i awoke from a nap on my grandmother’s couch and she had extracted my transitional object (a stuffed dog named “flopsy”) from my quiescent clutches. i opened my eyes and there was flopsy, hanging upside down from a clothesline, de-fluffed, back seam ripped open, drenched and bedraggled from his stint in the washing machine. i never recovered.
it’s a good thing my mom didn’t witness the altered toy process, she might have fainted. she and i both anthropomorphize stuffed animals to a pathological extent.
the deadline for turning in altered toys is september 19; hence the libbit (pronounced “libb-it,” rather than “lie-bit,” to rhyme with “ribbit” and to avoid confusion with “liger”). the libbit was never given a proper name, for fear that i would develop an intense attachment and not be able to give it up...like how kids in 4H don’t name farm animals bound for slaughter. however, if i had named them, i probably would have gone with either tebuggalus and teboddagaw, or radica and doodica. i brought hir (the lion is female, despite the mane, and the rabbit is male; so a gender-neutral pronoun is suitable) to the modern hotel saturday night and handed hir over to rachel. it wasn’t easy.
notice the lion’s fantastic don king hair. i sent both toys through the washing machine and dryer, and what had been a nice, fluffy, lion-appropriate mane became a matted afro. so i started brushing it out, but once it became apparent that it would be an afro no matter what, i decided to give it some direction, brushing it all straight up from the top of her head.
another significant detail, imperceptible from the outside: i switched the stuffing so that what was in rabbit is now in lion, and vice versa.
i hand-stitched the whole thing, so i hope whatever kid receives the libbit doesn’t try to pull the two apart…because that will work.