The short story - how do you go about giving a four year old a new version of a (previously irreplaceable) lovey when you've suddenly found one, and her old one is WAY TOO DESTROYED to ever trick her into thinking it's the same one?
The more dramatic story:
DD1, who was 4 in June, has a little stuffed dog (actually, two of them, but she doesn't know that) which was given to her by my sister as a parting gift on a visit to my sister's house when DD1 was about 17 months old. Doggie originally came from Target and was not intended to be a special toy; he just looked like my sister's dog and was really soft and cute. Of course, DD1 became super-insantly-forever attached to it, and she relies on it hardcore to this day - for sleep, comfort, a friend.....this thing is her most prized posession and will be for a long time. As soon as we realized this was happening, my sister was able to find just one more Doggie at Target....but only one. For the past 2.5 years, my extended family, our friends, my realtor (ha!) have seriously been scouring Target stores and rest stop gift shops across the country for another Doggie; I've been all over eBay and Amazon and every collectable stuffed toy shop there is on the internet across the world and seriously - this thing just doesn't exist anywhere, for any amount of money. I tried giving her a larger version of it, but the fur isn't the same, the body is totally stuffed rather than beanbag like, and she just didn't buy it. So I'd protected Doggie with my life and worried in the back of my head about what happens when he (and his twin) bite the dust, since clearly he is here to stay. And I'd kind of forgotten about getting anymore backups.
Then there was today.
DD and I were looking online for a stuffed animal for her to take to school for naptime (I didn't want her taking her Doggie because of the irreplaceability factor if he were to be lost or damaged beyond repair)....and there he was. Doggie. Going for $10 a pop from a seller in the UK who has not one, not two, but TEN of these puppies to sell. I'm over the moon!
So, I have a two part question -
1) How do I present this opportunity to my four year old? There is no way she is going to believe that "Doggie got a bath" like she did when she was two or so and we brought backup Doggie into our lives - her current Doggie is seriously bedraggled. I figured I would just ask her if she'd like to have a new Doggie either to take to school or have at home, and see what she says (while promising, obviously, that Doggie the Original isn't going anywhere). And if she says no, buying one and hiding it anyway for a future change of heart.
2. How many of these things do I buy?!?! I'm considering at least two, maybe three. Thinking I'd send one new one to school, continue the charade of Doggie the Original being one dog, but throwing New Doggie #2 into the rotation as needed, and possibly getting a New Doggie #3 to keep for her when she's grown up just for the sake of comparing what he originally looked like! DH thinks I'm insane for even entertaining the idea of buying one. I'm halfway tempted to buy ALL THE DOGGIES
But seriously - has anyone ever addressed replacing a lovey with a child who is old enough to know? How did you do it? How did it go?