As I sat on my bedroom floor yesterday afternoon, wrapping presents, I had Betty's excitable words ringing in my ears: 'I wonder what Duckie will get in his stocking this year'. Duckie is Betty's comfort toy that she has been inseparable from since she was born, and many a blog post has been written about him.
She is more excited about what her toy duck is going to get from Father Christmas, than what she might get herself. This sets the tone for what her relationship with Duckie is all about. He (and sometimes Duckie is a girl, depending on the situation) means the absolute world to Betty. There are times when none of us are allowed to make a sound because Duckie is having a nap, or none of us are allowed to sit down because Betty has made some elaborate bed for him out of ALL the cushions and chairs in the house, or none of us are allowed to enjoy our shepherd's pie in peace because Duckie has decided he doesn't like it.
Duckie gets to blow Betty's birthday candles out with her, gets stories read to him, gets chocolate fed to him, and basically gets a hell of a lot of love and affection. I have to be honest, I sometimes find myself resenting that duck - the duck that can do no wrong, the duck that has everything, the duck that is more highly thought of by Betty than her own mum, or dad, or little sister.
Anyway, I sat on my bedroom floor yesterday, wondering what to do about the duck and whether or not he should get a stocking this year - a stocking that I made for him last year, at the same time that I made one for Betty and Dolly. I thought it would be a nice gesture for him to have a stocking too, but didn't think about the long-term consequences. Having set the precedent, this might have to be a tradition that will be carried through into Betty's adulthood. And what if Dolly suddenly decides next year (she is thankfully too young this year) that if the duck gets a stocking, then so should her (comfort) rabbit that she has been inseparable from since the day she was born? Well, it would only be fair (although I suspect that giving a stocking to a cuddly toy would be beneath her)
So what to do? Risk breaking my little girl's heart, and possibly ruining her entire Christmas, by not facilitating a visit from Father Christmas to her duck? Or accept the fact that I now have not just two lots of presents to buy (which is hard enough), but instead I have three, maybe four?
I finished wrapping the last of the presents for Betty and Dolly, and then reached up into the wardrobe and pulled down a little stocking. I then wrapped up a little bag of orange bath salts, a rubber duck, a tube of fairy dust, and a duck-shaped bracelet, and put them in Duckie's stocking.