My first niece was born when I was just 16. Given that my oldest sister is 15 years my senior and had been married for over 5 years when she finally came along I felt I had been waiting forever to become an aunty. I, like all my family, was baby mad and our gorgeous niece was doted upon. I crocheted her a little matinee jacket and a blanket as I recall.
I also bought her a teddy bear. Not just any teddy bear. I had very strict stipulations as to what constituted a proper teddy bear. He had to be brown or yellow, he had to be jointed and he had to have an intelligent look on his face. He also had to be affordable to a 16 year old whose income was a small allowance from her parents supplemented by money from babysitting.
That bear was the first of many. Over the years I bought each of my nieces and nephews a teddy bear, usually whilst they were in utero but occasionally afterwards. I ended up with 20 nieces and nephews on my side and 4 on my husband's side. I stuck to my criteria re the being brown or yellow and being jointed. The intelligent look wasn't as important :) When writing this post I put out a request to my nieces and nephews for a photo of their bears. Whilst I was a long way short of the 24 I had bought I was delighted to get photos of a number of these precious bears (including the original one pictured above)
When my 4 children came along different ones in my family took it upon themselves to buy a bear for them using the same criteria.
By the time my great nieces and nephews started to arrive I was over buying stuffed animals for babies. I had seen how they seem to multiply in baskets and cupboards. I had become a quilter though and so I started to make quilts for these new family members and after a while I started to incorporate the teddy bear theme with them too either in the pattern themselves or by incorporating stitcheries that my mum enjoyed doing.
I do love bears
There were decorated bears all over Berlin when I visited there in 2013. How much fun for a bear lover like myself