A father who was forced by his wife to fly back to Greece to pick up the old teddy bear his toddler loves has the internet debating.
The mother in the situation, u/bear651, shared the story to the popular Reddit forum r/AmITheA**hole to figure out who was wrong. She earned over 5,100 upvotes and 1,500 comments for her post “AITA for forcing my husband to fly back to Greece to get our toddler’s teddy bear that he left behind on purpose?”
The original poster (OP) explains that the couple’s son is attached to an old teddy bear that has absorbed all the love and abuse a toddler can give, and is now somewhat ratty. The boy’s father keeps trying to buy a new, less beat-up bear, but the toddler still prefers the old one.
In the latest salvo in the war of the teddies, following a recent trip home to the United Kingdom from a house owned by her husband’s parents in Greece, her son kept asking for his old bear—but she couldn’t find it. When she asked her husband, he said he left it in Greece because he’d bought a new bear that her son “liked more.”
“I thought he was joking since our son will play with the new teddy but he always goes back to his bear. I told him to go back to Greece and get it but he laughed me off and said he would get it in 2 weeks as that’s when he plans to go back,” u/bear651 wrote.
OP however, was being serious which led to a fight. He accused his wife of being “ridiculous” and that her reaction explained “why our son was so attached to the teddy.” That night, their son wouldn’t stop crying at bedtime because he couldn’t find the old bear—and OP doubled-down and forced her husband to agree to fly back to Greece for the bear, as there was no one there who could mail it back.
Children will often latch on to a specific toy or item as a comfort object—just like Peanuts‘ Linus and his security blanket. While the attachment to this object starts to wane when the kid turns 3 or 4 years old, in many people, it never goes entirely away, according to The Guardian.
Many adults still have affection for their favorite childhood toy or blanket—though they no longer need to carry it with them at all times. In fact, though having a comfort item as a very young child is a sign of good mental health and development, continuing to have one as the child gets older—even as a teenager—is often a sign of poorer mental health, according to The Conversation.
While it’s good to allow a toddler their comfort item, a plane trip may be a bit much. Not only is there the cost of a round-trip ticket, but according to the flight carbon calculator from CLevel.co.uk, an economy flight for one from Heathrow Airport to Athens’ Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport would have a carbon footprint of .78 tons of carbon dioxide, which the site says is 65 percent of the average person’s annual carbon allowance.
Redditors had harsh words for both parties.
“So, it’s a little weird that a grown man is enforcing his own toy preferences onto a small child. That isn’t normal,” u/eyelinerqueen83 wrote in the top-rated comment, earning 11,400 upvotes.
“Having a comfort item at any age is understandable, and being mad at the husband for deliberately leaving it is definitely understandable. But for me at least, booking an additional international flight over it is pretty hard to relate to,” u/blinkingsandbeepings wrote.
“[Everyone Sucks Here]. Him for leaving the teddy. You for being really annoying about it and not even considering the most obvious option : having one of his family member send it through the post…” u/Primary-Criticism929 wrote.
“Like hello, climate impact? Two flights for a teddy bear?” u/Nowordsofitsown added.
“Just tell him teddy is on a vacation, and he can see him when he gets back,” u/Guilty_Apple8297 suggested.
“[You’re the A**hole] fly to another country to pick up a teddy? That is some first world entitlement right there,” u/Randa08 wrote.
“[Not the A**hole]. Your husband sounds like a real jerk for intentionally doing something he knew would upset your son,” u/GrymDraig wrote.
“[Everyone Sucks Here] Your husband is trying to treat your child like an adult, and you’re trying to treat your husband like a child,” u/Significant_Raise760 wrote.
“[Not the A**hole]. Making him fly back seems a bit extreme, but the kid is 2 and he did something to deliberately hurt him,” u/Fianna9 wrote. “I had a blankie I was obsessed with. It was my comfort item and my dads annual jokes about ‘are we gonna burn blankie on the bbq this year’ made me so uncomfortable and I didn’t really trust him not to do it.”
“The fact that that’s even financially possible for you and your family is freaking bonkers. I’m gonna say [Everyone Sucks Here],” u/tfydb wrote. “Your husband should not have done that and he’s definitely more of an ah then you in this scenario but buying a plane ticket to pick up a teddy bear is a little bit ridiculous.”
“[Not the A**hole], your husband went out of his way to upset a 2 year old. Shocked that people are ignoring how insane it is to bully a 2 year old for the heinous crime of liking a teddy bear,” u/techytag wrote.
Newsweek reached out to u/bear651 for comment.