Do you still sleep with your teddy bear, or do you know where that cuddly creature of comfort is stashed, maybe in the attic or the garage? If so, do you worry about your mental health or perhaps have concluded that you’re still pretty immature?
Retaining some attachment to an early comforter is perfectly natural and nothing to worry about unless you prefer it exclusively to people. I recall some research in London, England, where an interviewer asked shoppers if they still had their childhood stuffed animal or knew of its whereabouts. I don’t recall exactly, but I believe about 30 to 40% of these adults knew exactly where their stuffed animal was, and some still had it in their bedroom or near their bed.
A young relative of ours is a junior in college and still keeps her comforter nearby. In fact, she has two such comforters because when she was about four years old, she lost her Raggedy Ann doll, which she had named Tuby and had to replace it with another stuffed animal, which she named “Tuby Other.” She recently asked her grandmother to do a little needlework on Tuby and Tuby Other because they were now held together with a few tired threads. But she wanted no change in their characteristics. Heavens, no! Just a minimal repair job.
I think this enjoyment of childhood security, and the desire to keep these companions, gives some support to Freudians and developmental psychologists who believe the chidhood environment can have a significant impact on adults — and that we’re not entirely driven by genes and technology, as some would have us believe.
So, go ahead. Satisfy your dependency needs with your stuffed animal or your memories of your stuffed animal. Remember how soft he/she was — and that wonderful odor of safety and love?