I’ve always been very proud of my Black Country roots but if you’re looking forward to a post brimming with references to treasured Black Country alumni (we love Lenny and co in the West Midlands), my fondness for the recently berated dialect (bostin’ ay it?) and the culinary merits of faggots and peas (the town’s infamous delicacy), you’re going to be disappointed. Sorry. This post is all about Baby J’s best friend, tireless confidante and occasional punch bag – Cuddly Dudley her toy penguin. Or Dudley for short.
Dudley has become a part of our family. In other households, this very same penguin is probably nothing more than a particularly fluffy stuffed animal shoved nonchalantly into an overflowing toy box every night, but at Chez Family J this downy penguin is precious. So cherished is Dudley, that we even themed Poppy’s first birthday at the weekend around penguins.
As Dudley is such an important part of our family (he’s even made it onto Meet the family page of this blog) it seemed wrong not to introduce him properly with a post dedicated in his honour. So here it is – a tale of a very special baby and a particularly cuddly penguin.
Dudley entered our lives not long after Baby J. He was a much-appreciated birth present from some close friends. Mr J and I warmed to him instantly (he’s particularly cuddly) but Baby J was not that fussed to begin with. To be honest her only interest at this point was what was lurking within my feeding bra. The love affair began a few months later.
It was during the time we borrowed the book Cuddly Dudley from the library. Get the name now? From out of nowhere this grey penguin was showered with over-excited snogs (kisses implies delicate pecks and Baby J’s affection was a lot more smothering), strangulating cuddles and he had the unrivalled ability to turn end of the world cries to giggles galore. Suddenly he was no longer just another stuffed animal to be jammed into her toy box – Dudley was special.
Today, we love Dudley for many reasons and here are just a few…
- He settles Baby J when she’s struggling to sleep or nap
- He listens to Baby J’s endless chattering in the evening as she drifts off to sleep (we have a baby who has serious verbal diarrhoea – I can’t imagine who she gets that from? Ahem)
- He keeps her occupied when she first wakes in the morning giving Mr J and I much-appreciated minutes to wipe the sleep from our eyes before the chaos of the day begins
- He accompanies her to nursery providing a familiar face when she needs one
- He can light her face up with the most beaming smile by just being in the room
Where does Baby J get her attachment to cuddly toys from people ask? I smile knowingly in response. The affection Baby J has for Dudley brings me a lot of joy too because it reminds me of my childhood relationship with Monkey (a stuffed monkey I imaginatively named Monkey). The nights I spent clutching Monkey for comfort as I struggled to sleep, the trips we went on together and the fond familiarity of home he offered when I needed it most – even up until I left for university. Monkey still lives with us at Chez Family Johnson today, although he’s a bit battered and bruised nowadays and has been severely neglected since Mr J has been on the scene. But I would never throw him out. I like to think Dudley will always stay with Baby J too.