Thursday, 6 December 2012

A new coat for Raggy

WARNING: This post contains photos of rancid rags that some readers may find upsetting…

As you may, or may not know, my younger son - Charlie - is autistic. Bringing up a disabled child is challenging at the best of times, but especially when your child is upset and can't communicate to you what's wrong. Thanks to his amazing school, this has been getting easier and easier for Charlie as he gets older and acquires more language. But sometimes he just wants comfort and reassurance, and that's where Raggy comes in. Raggy is his comforter that he's had since he was born. My older son had one exactly the same and Charlie's Raggy was the 'spare' that his brother rejected. Raggy is like a wonder drug - he sleeps well at night with him beside him (a massive bonus for any parent, whether your child is autistic or not) and he just seems to calm him down and keep him happy, which for me, is the number one priority.

However, eight years of non-stop stroking against the face have taken their toll and Raggy has been in need of some serious repair work.


A few weeks ago, his face actually fell off (!) so he now sports a piece of cotton wrapped round his face with eyes drawn on. A bit like the disguise poor old John Merrick had to put on whenever he went out in public.  As you can imagine, washes are few and far between, so it got to the point where Raggy was actually becoming a health hazard. Measures had to be taken.


When he's fallen apart before, I've always sewn a flannel (face cloth) over the existing square, but these were gradually disintegrating. I need to actually remove the head and fit Raggy out with a complete new coat. I bought some lovely soft cotton flannel from the Goldhawk Road and used the edges of a face cloth to make the all important twiddly bits on the corners. I then temporarily wrapped the whole thing in the old rags, hoping that some of the old aroma would be picked up. Charlie is very sensitive to smell so this was an important point. We'd prepared Charlie by telling him Raggy was getting a new coat that day so we just had to keep our fingers crossed as to his reaction.

Behold! Raggy's new coat

He came home from school, went straight to the stairs where Raggy 'sleeps' during the day, picked him up and sniffed him suspiciously. Whilst Jon and I were oohing and ahhing about how fabulous and smart the new coat was, Charlie took himself off to a corner of the room. A few minutes later we observed him laying Raggy out carefully and whispering to him, "Hello Raggy, hello Raggy." He'd accepted him, THANK GOD! I didn't get any photos that day as Jon and I were too busy cracking open the champagne and giving each other high fives. But here he is today, with the King looking down on him from above.  Sometimes, I'm really grateful I can sew! x



45 comments:

  1. Aw, Raggy looks very smart with a new coat :-)

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  2. What a blessing your skills are. What a beautiful son you have. Raggy looks very handsome now.

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  3. that is such a beautiful post Jane - you have encapsulated so much of what it is to love a child and to desperately want to ease their way in the world. Yay raggy and yay Charlie x

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  4. Thank you for sharing this caring and emotional situation with us. Taking care of a disabled child can't be easy and I admire all those parents that do this and can still be happy and loving to everyone in the family as well as everyone in the blogging world. Raggy looks great and congratulations on solving this difficult problem.

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  5. I don't think I've ever commented on your blog before but this post - oh! I find beloved toys of children incredibly moving anyway (can't read The Velveteen Rabbit without bawling) but this may be the pinnacle! "Hello Raggy, hello Raggy" - oh, I melt. What a beautiful job you have done for your dear son. Thank you for sharing this story.

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  6. Love this! So glad this worked for you all x

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  7. Jane, this is one of the loveliest sewing blog posts I have ever read. Ow, Raggy. This is a children's story waiting to be written!

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  8. I had to give "Betsy" a new coat a few years ago- my niece's rag style rabbit. I understand your fears about acceptance, the coat went well but last year's stitches on Betsy's face to stop it falling off brought lots of tears, and a re-think on how to do it so she'd accept it. And I don't even have the extra challenges of autism with her. So, well done you for such loving- and successful- work for Charlie.

    I agree that for all the pretty things we make, this is where our sewing skills really matter!

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  9. Ohh how wonderfully treasured haggy is!!!.. wonderful post!

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  10. You couldn't know it, but this post has just fixed my week. Your sharing this story has really made me smile. Thank you.

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  11. aawww, that is a lovely story. glad it worked out well for charlie and raggy.

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  12. Thank you for sharing this sotry. I agree with didyoumakethat, it realy is "loveliest sewing blog posts".

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  13. Wow! Sewing to the rescue! You never know what makes any child respond to a particular soft toy. There is a sort of magic alchemy. Thank goodness your son felt the essence of rangy was still there! You must be hugely relieved.

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  14. As another Mother of an autistic child, I totally get this post, respect to you for revitalising raggy while keeping his essence. How lucky you all are to have each other.

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  15. Aw, this post makes me cry with happiness.

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  16. What a heart-warming tale! It is an excellent mother than recognises the importance of a security blanket. :-)

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  17. What a beautiful post. And Raggy looks very handsome! x

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  18. Aw, this post totally made my day!!! Just beautiful. : )

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  19. Mending /extensive repairs and almost-recreation of beloved children's toys is THE best thing about being able to sew... My sons find it all so normal that one of them at age 5 was horrified to discover that there was not even ONe sewing machine in a friends house :) ....and he had to wait until he got home to have his trousers mended :D

    Glad raggy made the grade!

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  20. THANK GOD, indeed! I'm soooooo thankful you can sew, too!

    Raggy's beautiful and I pray he endures for many more years of love.

    And what a handsome son you have there; precious angel. xo

    *hugs*
    Kelley

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  21. This is perhaps one of the best uses of sewing skills. Thanks for sharing this sweet story.

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  22. I'm almost tempted to show you Mr Dinosaur, who keeps my non-verbal 3 yr old happy...I dread to think what he's going to look like in five more years! Well done you for reclothing Raggy :)

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  23. Such a moving and beautiful post Jane, I'm so relieved that Raggy got a new lease of life that was approved by Charlie! I love a happy ending ;o)

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  24. Huge sigh of relief! I also have an autistic son, so understand what could have been had he not accepted the new coat. Great post :)

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  25. Aren't you the best mum! Thank goodness you can sew so well or this could have been a serious problem.

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  26. Thank you so much for sharing this story, it warmed my heart and made my day! I love when we get to use our sewing skills to make everyone a little bit happier!

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  27. Jane this is just lovely and it's just proper choked me up. You're a star Ma and no mistake. I love the fact that the gold framed King was looking down on the scene that's just the icing on the cake for me :)

    xxx

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  28. Bless, your mending was obviously a total success x

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  29. I haven't commented before but had to say what a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing it with us, it's a beautiful start to my day. I hope Raggy goes on for many more years yet.

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  30. Hello Jane, I'm so pleased you were able to reincarnate Raggy and he managed to pass the test. Such a brilliant outcome to what could have been a major trauma for your gorgeous boy, it really is a lovely tale.
    Enjoy those extra sleeps!
    x

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  31. I'm so chuffed you've managed to rehabilitate Raggy for Charlie! Looks like he'll last for years :-)

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  32. Such a lovely post, Jane. And what a relief it must have been for all that your son was able to find Raggy unchanged despite the new coat.

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  33. That was such a lovely post Jane I've genuinely gone all teary. What a trooper Raggy is! xxx

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  34. What a lovely post - I can only imagine how relieved you must have been. F was 'assessed' for over 2 years for autism (lead by his pre-school and the local Children's Medical Hospital) and since starting school, we get a different opinion each year, according to what his then teachers think. We're so lucky he is essentially borderline so it doesn't really matter much, as long as he is happy and can cope, and although he has some social interaction difficulties, he appears to be growing out of these. Wishing you all the very best for Christmas - have a good one! Bethxx (thelinencat)

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  35. I made a small blanket for my neice which became her lovey. The parents asked for a replacement because it was such a crucial item but she could tell the difference instantly and she stared at the imposter with disgust. Now she's a little older she will accept the second blanket, but if she's very upset, she NEEDS her lovey.

    I never would have imagined something I made would become so important to anyone.

    You did such a great and loving job on this toy.

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  36. Oh Jane, thanks for sharing this touching story with us. :-) The last picture is quite amazing. Hugs from Canada

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  37. Jane, I love when parents don't underestimate the importance of a child's security blanket/toy/etc. I cringe at the stories friends have told of their parents slowing ripping or cutting off parts until there was nothing left. I'm 35 and I still have my baby blanket. I wish my mom remembered which friend or relative crocheted it so I could write to them and thank them. I'm sure they never guessed it would have so many years (decades!) of love. What you did for Raggy is such a special gift for your son!

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  38. Jane you are wonderful. My mum had to give a "face lift" to my sister's cloth kits doll and knitted jumper for my favourite teddy due to excess cuudling. Only now as an adult can i appreciate the responsibilty repairing your child's beloved comforter or toy really is!

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  39. Aww that's so cute, and what an adorable picture of New Raggy being loved ^__^ XO

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  40. This warmed my little heart!

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  41. What a brilliant sewing fix and blog post Jane, big high five to you indeed.

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  42. He's a lucky little boy to have such a mum.

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