Do you sleep with a cuddly toy? - Dad's Diary by Simon Carter

Simon Carter doesn't believe adults really go to bed with teddy bears
Simon Carter doesn't believe adults really go to bed with teddy bears
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Call me a cynical journalist if you want, but I’ve never really believed a single survey I’ve ever seen. Did you see the recent one about adults’ relationships with their childhood soft toys?  

 Apparently, 34 per cent of adults still sleep with a soft toy every night, while 15 per cent admit they can’t sleep without theirs. Nine per cent say they’d rather share a bed with their teddy than their own partner. Nine per cent!

The study, carried out by Hotpoint, reportedly spoke to 2,000 people and found that almost half (44 per cent) of the nation have held onto their teddies and dolls, whether at their house or their parents’ home.

This groundbreaking research also found 11 per cent of British adults have taken their special soft toy on holiday with them, and five per cent have even sneaked it into work.

How do you ‘sneak’ a soft toy into the workplace? They’re not banned, are they? All I can say is this – that one person in every 20 does not work in a newspaper office.

Can we take these findings at face value? Do one in three of us adults really snuggle up to a soft toy at night? Do almost one in 10 REALLY prefer sharing a bed with a teddy bear rather than their partner? And we allow these people to vote on important matters like EU referendums.

My kids each had a favourite cuddly. Ellen’s was a cute rabbit which went everywhere with her, while Ben’s – less traditionally, it has to be said – was a one-and-a-half-foot long badger.

Yes, a badger. To be honest, I can’t remember where it came from – possibly a car boot sale.

Anyway, I loved badger as much as Ben did. The toy was particularly useful for annoyingly poking the cat with when he was asleep.

Once, down in Exeter visiting the grandparents, Ellen left rabbit at my mum’s house. Back home, a two-hour plus drive away, an anguished shriek met the grim discovery. Thankfully, my dad and stepmum were visiting a few days later so could stage a cross-Devon rabbit rescue. I’ve never been so glad my parents are separated …

Of course, now they are teenagers – Ben’s just started learning to drive! –  cuddlies have long been consigned to the metaphorical dustbin of life. Rabbit and badger are still around, but now they have to sleep in the loft. Still loved, but not as much as they once were.

Will they be lovingly dusted down when my kids reach adulthood and have children of their own? I would love to think so. I see nothing wrong – and quite a lot right – with passing toys down the generations like a much-loved family heirloom. But taking badger into a place of work? Unless Ben becomes a Jedi master of irony, hopefully not…

My favourite cuddly toys…

Staying on the theme of childhood cuddlies, my personal favourites were – and I hesitate slightly before admitting this – three golliwogs.

A family photo now lost in the mists of time showed a six-year-old me with my gollies on holiday in south Wales.

At a picnic, the adults were sitting on the floor while my toys occupied pride of place on the deckchairs.

I saw nothing wrong in that – six-year-olds rule the roost and if their toys want to sit on deckchairs, they will sit on deckchairs and elderly relatives with major disabilities and illnesses have to live with it. 

You do not see such toys anymore.

That is perfectly understandable, even if the occasional stories in the national press about village shopkeepers being threatened

with prosecution for selling gollies leave you wondering if the PC police go too far at times.

Please don’t accuse me of being a racist when I was six. Life in 1975 was very different to today.

I’m sure no-one batted an eyelid when they saw me out with my toys (and yes, I used to push them in a buggy out shopping).

My parents weren’t/aren’t racists either. I was just a small child,  wide-eyed with innocence, enjoying my cuddlies.