This is Doggy. He was among the many soft toys, from Jellycat, John Lewis and other purveyors of sweet plush creatures, that Lady P was given when she was born. Because of that thing they tell you about babies liking monochrome we placed him alongside Lady P in her crib when she was just a few weeks old.
Doggy soon became a firm favourite. Here he is firmly tucked under Lady P's arm when she was about six months old.
Early on it became clear that Doggy was too important to take risks with. We introduced a strict 'Doggy doesn't leave the house' policy, with exceptions made for overnight trips or other times we needed Lady P to chill out and go to sleep. We also bought a decoy Doggy, told Lady P we had washed Doggy and presented the new guy.
After that we took care to rotate them so they aged at the same rate. Here they are today:
I say decoy Doggy but I no longer know which one is the decoy. We have done such a good job mixing them up that I really can't tell them apart.
Guess who can?
That's right, Lady P. Over eighteen months after we began this elaborate scam, she is starting to see through the cracks. She keeps telling me 'I don't like Doggy anymore'. Which is odd because she really does love Doggy. When probed, she told me it was because his tail didn't feel right.
Then I realized that her habit of stroking his tail has worn it to an incredibly smooth state, and the one I'd just brought out from the wardrobe was almost imperceptibly less smooth. I don't know why my rotating of the Doggies has failed here. Perhaps the last few weeks have been particularly hard on that tail. We have had a lot of bugs and minor head injuries, so maybe more than the usual amount of snuggling and tail rubbing have been required.
I responded with a white lie. 'I just washed him', I said. But on some level, Lady P knows something is up with Doggy. Which means something is up with the whole world order, in her eyes. And if she finds out the truth, that there are really two Doggies, I think she'd be scarred for life.
So I guess I just have to keep up this pretense. Just for the next decade or so.