Kids, London life and the world beyond

Restuffing a stuffed animal: Moomoo never dies

microbead filling for soft toys

Prepare yourself — these go everywhere

I think my daughter, at age 9, is getting all grown up. She told me recently, “Mummy, I don’t play ‘school’ anymore. I’m too old.”

But then we have an exchange like this, about a favourite stuffed animal she received when she was 4 months old:

“Mummy, I don’t want Moomoo to die,” she said, her eyes bright with tears.

“She’s a stuffed animal,” I said. “She can’t die.”

“You know what I mean. I want to have her forever.” She squeezed Moomoo close, which causes a little shower of round stuffing pellets to fall out.

“Don’t worry, that won’t happen,” I told her.

“But what if it does? She’s losing all her stuffing.”

“We’ll get more stuffing.”

“But she it keeps coming out of this hole. I don’t ever want her to die.”

What are you going to do as a parent when this kind of thing happens? You know what you do: You endeavor to make sure Moomoo never does die.

Moomoo, proudly displaying her scar

Moomoo, proudly displaying her scar

But this turned out to be harder than I thought. Moomoo is made of that slinky material that snags like pantyhose. She’s filled not with regular filling beads like the kind in beanbags, but with supertiny versions of it. These are not easy to find on the Internet. I ordered 1 cubic foot of polystyrene microbeads. They don’t arrive. I email the company and they respond by immediately sending out another bag (thank you, Custompac!). It arrives safely.

Then surgery begins: I make an inch-long incision through which beads immediately pour out. My daughter and I create a makeshift funnel, through which we try to scoop in microbeads, using my favourite I ♥ New York. The sofa and rug become a Milky Way of tiny white dots. But gradually Moomoo fills out, gets fatter. My daughter debates how re-stuffed she wants her to be. Eventually we achieve maximum squeezability, the perfect cuddle ratio.

I close the hole with two rows of stitches, strong enough to hold back grown-up years for a while longer.

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15 Responses to “Restuffing a stuffed animal: Moomoo never dies”

  1. Mari says:

    Moomoo lives on and lives have been saved, yayyy!
    We have Baby Ted who has undergone so much surgery he puts Cindy Jackson to shame. In fact he has been sewn so many times it’s becoming tougher and tougher to fix him – a new site might be the right answer.

  2. Vonnie says:

    You are an ace Mum.

    My son N is 7, he has sensory difficulties and was extremely attached to a baby cot quilt he’d had for years. It had been washed so many times & carted about across the country that all of the inside filling was shredded and what he was essentially loving was a holey rag of cotton.
    We managed to pry it off of him and I hid it in my wardrobe in case he got really upset so we could return it. He did well, transferred his affections onto another blanket and I am now in the process of making him a quilt of his very own, to his specifications. That was a fun two hours fabric shopping…

    The things we do to keep our babies happy, eh? I’m glad Moomoo lives on.

  3. Mary Keynko says:

    Well done Mum! A much loved toy lives to cuddle another day! I well remember the days of repairing loved ones – I used to “borrow” suture kits from the operating theatres, and face masks from the uniform store and we would play at surgery! These days I only seem to be asked to fix favourite dresses – it’s not the same!

  4. Mammasaurus says:

    You never get too old for a favourite stuffed toy – Papasaurus keeps a watchful eye over ‘Communist Ted’, his childhood best teddy which has now been passed down to Ozzy.
    Well done on your brave bead operation. That’s Dr Howze now yes?

  5. Pinkoddy says:

    You are just the best mommy ever and she will remember that forever. I know this because I had a doll – and it was really special because it breathed (this is going back some while btw). Anyway my mom also had to do some life saving operation on her too and I never forget that ever.

    I’m glad you managed to get the right bits to help save Moomoo.

    • Pinkoddy, what a sweet story. I fondly remember those days of breathing, eating, weeing dolls. My mother steal has Mrs Beasley, a dress-up doll from my childhood used to teach buttoning and zipping. Just thinking about her makes me warm and fuzzy.

  6. Jude says:

    Bless you and her! Such a good example to set; the importance of taking care of things, treasuring loved things in a disposable culture, love, relationships – so much in just one small gesture. Lovely post.

  7. Well done Mummy Jen, my Mum repaired my Raggety Ann doll so many times when I was a kid and she is still in the loft now. Mich x

  8. HPMcQ says:

    Ronnie has many of Olivers toys from when he was a child, and his absolute favourite is the one that he has had from birth. peanut. i however have my old shoe. hmmmm go figure!

  9. Kate Davis says:

    I think it is great you did this together (and will probably do again). My teddy bear was sewn up and restuff many times until my mum said there was no material left to sew him together any more (I always wore through at the same point). I remember going to Sunwin House (Co-op) where I was allowed to choose a replacement; I chose the one that looked the same, and then I used to climb the shelves in my parents walk in wardrobe to have secret cuddles with the original.

    I still have the original and replacement and they sit on a shelf in my bedroom. My daughter asked to take one of them to school for Children in Need, because they weren’t precious!

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