We call her Mary-Moo, Pumpkin-Poo, Poopity-Do as a "nickname". We have called her this ever since the beginning. "Why," you might ask? I have NO idea. She was born the smallest of all our children (7lbs, 12oz) and has been the easiest as well. In fact she only recently started to cry, preferring, up until now, to mew like a kitten. Even her cry is sweet. But Mary Moo it was and Mary Moo it is. So we thought it appropoe to introduce her to Cow. It was a match made in heaven.
Let me first give you some background on Cow. We purchased a toy with hanging dealy-ma-bobs for Hannah in early 1999. We called the toy the Bat-At because you put the child on their back underneath this canopy of hanging dealy-ma-bobs and they could "bat at" them with hands and feet. Hannah immediately enjoyed the game and spent hours contentedly entertaining her parents with her dexterity. Cow was one of the dealy-ma-bobs. Hannah grew especially found of Cow and finally we removed Cow from the Bat-At and allowed her to play with it alone. She was THRILLED. She would shake all over when Cow was in sight and if Cow was in her little hands he immediately went into her mouth. We knew we had to save him for future children.
Bethany was introduced to Cow in early 2001 using the Bat-At once again. However she preferred to sit in her Johnny-Jumper so we attached Cow with toy rings to the cords and allowed her to gum the loyal toy to her heart's content. Cow is made from a polyester material with a light stuffing, similar to what a cloth book would feel like. He has the perfect combination of size, weight and shape combined with color/pattern to make him an instant success. Small children can get any part of Cow into their mouths without hurting themselves and slightly older children can choose certain aspects of him (tag, loop, nose) to chew. I have no idea how many times Cow has been washed.
Caleb received Cow when he was about 4mos old in late 2003. He was still in great shape and Caleb immediately took to the polka-dots on the back side of Cow. He would be mesmerized by them for upwards of 30 minutes and then suddenly, with a start, try to stuff all of the poor bovine into his mouth at once! We tenderly packed Cow away when Caleb grew to old but realized we had this toy that seemed a hit with all our children and began to wonder if he would indeed make an appearance for every one.
Leah came so quickly after Caleb that Cow was barely packed before we took him back out again. We got a new Bat-At for Leah, the old one taking on the look of an old bag lady with missing front teeth. The newer version was improved, over-engineered with bright fabrics, rattles and squeakers in random places, removable mirrors and its own set of dealy-ma-bobs to boot. We tried to use the accessories it came with but Leah was not altogether impressed like her older siblings had been with their Bat-At. Something about Cow was simple, black and white with high contrast and not a lot of "noise". Maybe a reflection of a bygone era *wink*. We pulled one of the new fangled dealy-ma-bobs off and replaced it with our beloved Cow. He was a hit. Leah cooed and smiled and chewed her friend for months.
And now Mary. Mary Moo even. I got Cow out of the basket of newbornish toys a few weeks ago and introduced the two. Mary loves him. She literally goes into a full-body smile at the sight of Cow. She shakes with joy and exuberance and when she can get him in her mouth - bliss!
Cow loves it too. He has come to find a great deal of love in this family with their small children. Each new person needs him in a slightly different but no less important way. He doesn't mind the time passed in a box because he knows that there will be another little person soon who needs his special touch. He is content. And that's all that matters.