Amid the pleasures of being a parent there also lurk the worries, the anxieties, the fears, and the downright fright. Yes, being a parent is rewarding, but it’s also a terror-inducing experience. My own personal trip into the “Nightmare Alley” happened this week when my son had to go for facial surgery. Having a growth on his skin, which could not be diminished or treated via vanishing creams or any ointments, he had to be checked in for an operation. It was a cyst that was bursting through his skin, and it was anchored beneath the epidermis. Quite horrible!
When he was a little boy — he’s now a teen — he could be soothed with promises of ice cream and hours propped up watching some loud, exciting superhero movie. Now, as he nears adulthood, I just have to hope that the mending is easy and not painful. How much easier it all seemed when a plush pal or a beloved stuffed animal could be cuddled in bed, helping to allay a child’s fears and provide a mother with a sense of well-being and calmness. Those were the days, my friends, and they have ended. Or have they?
I’ve recently learned about a variety of plush pets that are manufactured to work as heating pads and cooling pads, functioning as both fever reducers, injury soothers, and pain alleviators. Created by Thermal-Aid, these bears and other critters are ideal for young children who are in need of some medicinal comfort, and also for adults who count themselves as proud ursine boosters.
The bears, which remind me of the Grateful Dead mascots that used to pop up on bumper stickers and T-shirts, are available in a rainbow of colors: there’s Hunter, the green bear; Tumble, the purple; Honey, the yellow. All of these bears (and their zoo companions) are made of 100% natural materials and can be easily washed. Their ability to be cleaned thoroughly allows them to be used time and time again (though, let’s hope, it’s not that frequent)!
The Thermal-Aid Zoo lineup includes a bear (naturally) named Buckley, a koala (Ollie), an elephant (Tiny), a bunny (Baxter), and a monkey called JoJo. Believe it or not, these plush pals can be popped into the microwave for heating up or stored in the freezer for cooling. No matter the appliance, their caregiving skills can be harnessed by making them warm or making them cold. They are cuddly versions of Clara Barton or Florence Nightingale, present to make an ill or injured person feel better.
The inside of the Thermal-Aid critters is filled with specifically engineered corn, which prevents the buildup of mold, fungus, and bacterial strains that many other natural-therapeutic packs get. It also helps to eliminate unpleasant odors that often plague their natural-fiber competitors.
It makes me happy to think that this downside of childhood — and for us adults, too — can be made more palatable with a plush pal to hug and hold. Let’s face it, none of us skates through life unscathed and uninjured. Whether it’s a stubborn flu bug that refuses to loosen its grip, or a pulled muscle from an overzealous workout routine, adults and children find themselves, uncomfortable and grumpy, confined to bed and not doing too well. It’s a bummer, plain and simple.
The Thermal-Aid bears and zoo animals can’t work miracles, but they can brighten a day and make a miserable experience a little more friendly, a little less scary, and a lot more comforting. When it comes to parental worries, we are grateful for all the help we can get. Thermal-Aid is an aide that is worth celebrating.