He Said, She Said: The Stuffed Animal Debate

The GreenEs need you to solve another internal debate!

Here is the scenario:

You may know that we are a family of four but I’m not sure you know about the newest addition to our family. He’s cute, he’s cuddly, he’s gray, he’s stuffed… he’s Ellie.

Ellie is Lady H’s  stuffed elephant and was actually a gift to our oldest daughter. For the past few months, Lady H (age 2 and a half) won’t let Ellie out of her sight. She sleeps with Ellie, rides in the car with Ellie, sometimes uses the potty with Ellie (vomit), goes to school with Ellie. If Ellie is “missing” she goes to find the stuffed creature and calls out “Ellie, ellie, whereahyou?”


Aisha, Lady H and … Ellie, on a swing in Brooklyn Bridge Park


Lady H jumping on mommy and daddy’s bed with… Ellie


Lady H at the dining room table with …Ellie and our friend Pinky Pie.

If you give her something else to do or play with, she will put Ellie down and will actually forget about him until she becomes idle again.  Upon her teacher’s request, Ellie is placed away in a cubby during school hours so that Lady H will still be engaged in the classroom because she was only playing with Ellie for awhile (oops!).

So – what to do about Ellie then…


Aside from having to sneak Ellie away from Lady H while she’s not looking, the stuffed animal is pretty harmless. Yes, it gets gross from being dragged all over NYC including parks and beaches but wash her up and let her play with it. It relaxes her and she considers it a companion. We do need to be vigilant about her not giving all her attention to Ellie and make sure she plays with toys, read books, colors etc. Eventually, she will grow out of her need for Ellie but right now, let her enjoy her friend.


Ellie is everywhere and always in Lady H’s hand. She is reduced to a one-armed bandit! She tries to climb the stairs with the thing, or eat meals, or climb into the car. It’s a bit problematic and dangerous. Plus if she wants her Ellie and he’s not around?!?! Lawd help us all!! Lastly, when she is riding on my shoulders, guess where Ellie is? That’s right: in my face!! She is way too attached and I would love to reduce “Ellie Time” to nap and bed time. She has shown that she can go without him at school. Home should be the same.

What say you… chime in on the Ellie debate. Do you agree with what HE SAID or SHE SAID?


15 thoughts on “He Said, She Said: The Stuffed Animal Debate

  1. Teddy says:

    Let Ellie live! She’ll grow out of it. Maybe request that Ellie has to go on “time out” a certain time daily. Ease it away, but let it live 🙂

  2. Our son is attached to a blanket very much like Lady H’s Ellie. I’m team She said, since I think the attachment is age appropriate. And in the grand scheme of things pretty harmless. He plays with blankie like he’s a toy, and it’s actually sweet to see his imagination at work using it as a cape, or a weapon to defend himself, or transform his hair, or as part of a blanket fort. The only time we restrict its use at home is due to poor behavior, or to wash it. Blankie doesn’t come out with us though, and he is well aware of this rule.

  3. Naneka says:

    I used to be attached to a blanket when I was Lady H’s age. I think I grew out of it by the time I was 4 and I’m perfectly fine. LOL I don’t recall being able take it everywhere, so that may be a restriction that could be placed on it. If she is okay with keeping Ellie in a cubby while at school, you might be able to limit her time with it when outdoors… I dunno, merely a suggestion, but in the grand scheme of things, I don’t see anything wrong with Lady H’s attachment to Ellie and if I had to choose, I would side with Team She Said because what Lady H is going through is age appropriate and I’m sure she will grow out of it soon enough!

  4. Sade' says:

    If Lady H is on a schedule, give Ellie a “schedule” too…may help reduce his time but not completely take her friend away.

  5. drsunshine1913 says:

    If lady H is on a schedule, create a “schedule” for Ellie too….may help reduce her attachment while not completely taking her buddy Ellie away. “Ellie can’t come to the store with us because Ellie has ‘story time’. ” =)

  6. Schenida says:

    Ellie will one day be a memory, but for now Ellie is your third child. It’s ok. But if Lady H is ok during school hours with out Ellie that means u can begin explaining to her that Ellie can’t go everywhere with the family and she may begin to just play with Ellie at home. If not just try to claim Ellie on ur taxes as daughter # 3.

  7. K says:

    A vote for Ellie! Taking Ellie completely is probably more harmful than helpful at this age and stage. Ellie as a teaching tool could work. Reading to Ellie, drawing and coloring pictures of Ellie, visiting “Ellie” at the zoo. You could also make a backpack for Ellie so she has safe ways to carry her when she climbs stairs or on your shoulders. Ellie will lose her importance eventually but right now she encourages care, nurturing, empathy, and attachment. #addingmytwocents

  8. dk says:

    …well, its comforting to have a support system. I vote for consistency. Whatever behaviors you want to sustain need to be practiced regularly. Routine is an amazing thing for development.

  9. JW says:

    I often see his side of things…but not this time. This is normal. They often often one thing our one category of things to which they are very attached. It doesn’t last forever and the inconvenience to the parents is – frankly – part of the deal. Besides, the newest addition to your family is cute.

  10. Reminds me of The Velveteen Rabbit… a heartwarming book for everyone who has ever had a beloved stuffed animal as a child. When I was little, my floppy stuffed bulldog Chubby was my constant companion.. now, 45 years later, he sits on a shelf in my bedroom. Please let Ellie stay.

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