It was the moment Son2 had been waiting for since the beginning of the school year: The day he got to take Bernie, the class bear, home.
Bernie arrived at our house in a bag, with his scrapbook – a well-leafed diary documenting his time spent with the families in Son2’s class. The pages were filled with photos, hand-written stories, speech bubbles, decorative stamps, evidence of baking extravaganzas and even a bear-class boarding pass.
You wouldn’t believe how creative it gets.
Son2 and I browsed the book together. ‘Oh look, there’s Bernie parachuting into someone’s garden, ” I exclaimed, my wide-open eyes settling on a photo of the bear floating into the family’s backyard underneath a make-shift canopy. “And here he is ON SKIS, in France!”
It got even better: Blow me down, but Bernie spent Christmas in Lapland. There were snaps of him playing in the snow, snuggled up in the log cabin and listening to music in his airplane seat. “Let’s take Bernie on a husky safari, then tonight, if we’re really lucky, we might get a shot of him gazing at the Aurora Borealis rolling across the sky,” I could almost hear the enthused parents telling their bemused children.
Our time with Bernie had much more of a homey feel. In the knowledge that on top of all the usual weekend chores, I had to find amusing things to do with a bear, I set up numerous photo opportunities – of Bernie reading books, cosy in his pyjamas, sitting on the kitchen table eating noodles and using his paws to scale the bunk bed ladder. In an inspired moment, he posed for a #nomakeupselfie.
I even remembered to take Bernie with us when we went to football, and in the car, took care to buckle him up in the back.
Son2 looked at me suspiciously as I fiddled around trying to secure the seat belt. It was a look that suggested he thought I’d lost my mind. “Mum, he’s just a toy, you know!” my 5YO reminded me, with a roll of his eyes and a casual glance in Bernie’s direction.