We have a fourth member of our family, and his name is Boris.
[Boh-wis, proper noun, a scraggy piece of blue blanket with a bat (or possibly bear) head on it that smells really bad, regardless of when it was last washed]
Boris was given to us by a friend when the cub was born. Most of our presents were colourful toys that rattled and sang. We wondered what the heck Boris was, or what we were meant to do with him, so he sat on the shelf with the improbably large soft toys that never get played with.
He began his life as just another nameless toy, until we decided that he was a bat. Then he was duly christened “Boris”, conjuring images of Boris Karloff in some black and white Dracula film. Who knows, he may well be a vampire bat! Or he might be a bear. We may have this completely wrong.
One day, we gave Boris to the cub to play with. After a few days, Boris was a firm favourite. After a few weeks, Boris and cub went to bed together every night. And each night, Boris elicited a wiggle of excitement, followed by a happy little snuggle, and on occasion, a rapid trip to sleepy town. It’s like watching a reunion of best friends at every nap time (one of them rather better looking than the other!)
Can you see how his little legs are all blurry? That’s because he’s wiggling so fast from Boris induced excitement!
Boris is now required at every nap time, and has rescued us from the brink of insanity during many a night waking. You know those nights when you’re trying to calm down a crying baby, rocking and jiggling and singing, and feeling like you’re not really getting anywhere? Sometimes, introducing Boris to our night-time cuddles can sometimes calm the cub right down from a screaming to snoozing in moments. Not every time, just sometimes, but for those sometimes, I am very grateful indeed.
Boris also makes it possible for cub to sleep in places other than his cot – other people’s houses, nursery, and the car. Boris time means nap time.
When the cub started nursery, we panicked that we might lose Boris, and bought a Boris-a-like. His name is Norris. Sadly, Norris has been utterly rejected. Cub has exposed him as a fake. Norris looks basically the same, but he smells reasonable and has a smaller head. He does not elicit wiggles of delight, only complete and utter indifference.
Boris stinks, really badly. Washed or unwashed, he smells awful, probably because he is being constantly chewed on. Boris looks shabby and ragged, and his ears have been chewed to death. But somehow, Boris is magic. God help us if he ever gets lost!