When Jen Arndt-Lind and Hendrick Lind became a blended family, each bringing a child into the family from their previous marriages, they realized their children had to cope with having to travel between their divorced parents’ homes. That’s when the two came up with the “mapapu” (an acronym for the German word creation “MamaPapaPuppentier,” which means mommy-daddy-puppet). The mapapu is a custom-made cuddly toy that brings comfort and support to children who are grieving the loss of a loved one or coping with their parents’ divorce or separation.
Arndt-Lind, creator and designer of the mapapus, sewed her first stuffed animal by using her own t-shirt and her ex-husband’s t-shirt – familiar items that were meant to comfort her son anytime he was away from one of his parents. She then did the same for Lind’s daughter, using his and his ex-wife’s t-shirts.
“I used to ask my son’s dad to pack one of his t-shirts when my son came to my place, and I packed him one of my t-shirts when he traveled to his dad’s house,” explained Arndt-Lind. “After a while of sending t-shirts back and forth, I figured it would be great if my son had a stuffed toy that is made of the clothes of both his parents. Needless to say, he loves both of us and wants to have both of us close no matter where he is staying.”
In 2013, the couple established Mapapu – a family-owned company based in Germany. Sewn out of the clothes of the child’s parents, the stuffed animal is therapeutic and comforting to children – helping them cope with their parents’ divorce or separation through the familiar smell and feel of the fabric.
For both Arndt-Lind and Lind, mapapus helped their children feel united with their parents and like a family – despite the distance that separated them. It’s the perfect traveling companion.
“With a mapapu, parents can give an important message to their child,” says Lind. “Here is something that is like you: made with love from mum and dad. Although we are going separate ways, we are always going to be united within you as we are both your parents!”
To order a mapapu, you must send the items of clothing you wish to have made into the soft toy. Usually, the Lind family receives a letter explaining for whom and why a parent wants a mapapu for his/her child. To learn more about mapapu toys, visit www.mapapu.com.