So, it all started with one little rabbit, a cute, cream coloured rabbit with soft ears and a velvety soft, brown blanket. ‘He’ was purchased when our daughter was merely a bump, when daddy-to-be’s eye spotted something so cute he just couldn’t resist. On day 1, the rabbit was there, looming over our new-born like a giant bunny bodyguard and, ‘she’ (because as soon as our daughter could talk she told us clearly it was a female bunny) has been a pillow partner with our daughter every single night of her life since. Photos reveal the life-long bond that has been forged, our gro-bag clad 4 month old glowering at the camera while a pristine bunny lies next to her, the pudgy toddler holding firmly on to bunny while sofa surfing, the many snoozes in the pram with bunny’s blanket delicately covering her lips to her help fall into sweet slumber.
Like a famous celebrity, there have been a few name changes along the way from Gna-gna, to Gna-gni to Weird-arm Gnanny to Gnanny – she is family. We imagined at one point watching University Challenge and that (now rather less pristine bunny) sitting next to her as she captained her university team to victory. I cannot imagine a day that Gnanny is not required to partake in the elaborate bedtime routine.
Like many parents, we did the clever thing and invested in a couple of spares just in case the inevitable lost toy situation occurred but, she found the back-ups, all 5 of them! Does she love them all equally? Lavish love on each one? Nope, it has to be this Gnanny. Plaster-ear Gnanny, Original Gnanny, No-Blankie Gnanny and the unnamed twins are not currently required in fact they are actively shunned in case they try and weed their ways in to her affections. They are banished from the bed, cast aside from the toy shelf and exiled to the loft. They must wait their turn for the day that the real bona fide Gnanny is no longer needed (sorry chaps, I think you will be waiting a long time).
So, does our darling ASD girl only have the one toy? A ha ha haaaaa (imagine a very manic laugh at this point). No, she is OBSESSED with soft, plushie toys. Every penny of pocket money is spent on them, every list to Santa has one on it (prominently underlined, tagged and written in sparkly pen to ensure its purchase) and every trip away has a fleecy memento brought back home. Does she play picnics with them, create imaginative animal worlds and magical storylines for them to re-enact? Not a chance. They sit there smiling with their glassy eyes, their neon fur and synthetic fuzz, sparking and shimmering – adding a touch of glamour to her room.
They are a huge, rainbow gang, never played with, just admired, never brushed or re-dressed or forced to partake in afternoon tea – their plump, soft snuggliness is enough. She knows that they are there waiting to comfort, waiting to pile on top of her when the meltdown is mid-flow or be selected for sentinel duty at the top of her bed guarding her (and Gnanny of course). I have tried to cull the mountainous habitation of plush but I just don’t have the heart… but I have managed to sneak Gnanny into the washing machine thank goodness!