Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Lost Bunny

As I’m writing this my almost three year-old is tucked under his Thomas blanket blissfully napping. Oh, but he wasn't so sweet and cuddly-looking about 30 minutes ago when I tried to put him down for nap. The process involved a lot of sobbing, snot, and boneless tantruming (on his part) and a lot of cajoling and then pleading (on my part).

This is Bunny.
It’s not his fault. Usually his little two year-old body is so wiped out by 1pm that he is happy to collapse in his bed. But this week everything has been messed up. 

We lost Bunny.

It pains me to even type the words. I've had more than my fair share of parenting fails but this one ranks near the top of the list. I swear when I got home from work on Monday that Bunny was sitting on the ottoman and then somewhere between me cooking dinner and scrubbing them and books and pajamas and teeth and wondering when the f@ck dad is getting home, we just lost him. It’s actually kind of impressive, given that our house is only 1,100 square feet and he is not allowed in two of our three bedrooms.

This isn't the first time Bunny has been misplaced. In fact, it’s not unusual for me to tuck my son in at night and for him to then frantically realize Bunny isn't in bed. “WHERE. BUNNY.” he demands. And with that statement I am sprinting out the bedroom door, combing the house for the little blue jacket and fuzzy ears. I usually find Bunny in the last place my son was playing before bed…in the couch cushions where we were reading books or sitting on the potty chair where he watches my son brush his teeth. Though on occasion we have had to really hunt for him. Like that time he was wrapped up in the living room curtains. What was Bunny even doing in there? What game was he playing? Death by fabric suffocation?

Anyway, I couldn't find Bunny anywhere this time. I offered my son a teddy bear as a replacement and he gave me a huge Maude Face and I had to watch his small face crumple up. I promised to spend the whole night looking for him while he slept but I still heard muffled, soft sobs through the door after lights out.

When my husband got home from work soon after he found me looking in all the usual places and he silently started pulling the couches out from the walls. We spent an hour looking. No dice. So I spent the remainder of the week having to remind my son that Bunny was gone. Two year-olds seem to have very selective memory…like he can remember that 6 hours ago I promised him a cookie after dinner but every 20 minutes he looks surprised and exclaims, ‘Oh! I go get my bunny now.” And then he is crushed when he can’t find it. Again.

Even more mystifying was that by Thursday night he stopped asking for Bunny. He was fine to settle into bed with his bear, who has always been second fiddle. So it took only three days for him to move on? Seriously???

I mean, Bunny has been with my son since he was 5 months old. Bunny has been tucked under his baby arm through meals and diaper changes; Bunny has withstood being shoved into our toy fire truck and cooked in our toy kitchen; Bunny has been with him all night, every night, through every fever and head cold, and even through those nights last winter when my son had the croup and he couldn't breathe and we were so scared. Bunny was there.

My baby son and Bunny (awkwardly) napping in 2010
And all along I thought my son needed him because he’s a lot like me. The world scares him a bit. He finds busy, loud places overwhelming, not invigorating. He needs a little extra hug and some extra reassurance to go sit with the other kids on the blanket at Story Time at the library. That was me. He is me. I am him. That’s why I know the reason he even has a lovey is that it helps him manage the world around him…it gives him some safety when he is feeling unsure of himself. Hell, I was so hesitant as a small child that I had two loveys and I needed them both by my side well into Kindergarten. His Dad and Big Sister are fearless. But us timid folks gotta stick together, loveys and all.

So now I have to ask...where's the loyalty, kid? Days later I'm still frantically searching the house and you've just moved on. This morning I was still searching, desperately checking inane locations in the house, like the top cabinet full of cleaners (why would Bunny be there?). I took a moment and realized how crazy I was acting. My son is okay without Bunny, so why am I still looking? I was standing on a chair in the kitchen searching behind the bottle of bleach for a plush toy and I realized that I wasn't really looking for Bunny...I was looking for my baby boy. And all I saw in front of me is an almost-three-year-old who can wash his own hands and get his own cup of water and, oh dear Maude, he doesn't need Bunny anymore and soon he won't need me either.
 
This motherhood thing really gouges me sometimes. I have bent over backwards the last three years teaching him to stand alone, walk, run, feed himself, make his own choices. And now I feel sad and lonely for my baby who used to need help with things. He used to need me. Siiiiiigh. I have to go find my loveys now.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012

32 comments:

  1. We have that bunny. DS has never touched him. He is sitting on a shef collecting dust. I can always send a replacement bunny to a mom in need...

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  2. I am a ridiculous puddle of mommy mess now. So sweet!!

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  3. I wanted to add, we lost a lovey before. My in laws found him at their place and it took a week to get him back. Trust me when I say, the reunion is sweet.

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  4. Thankfully it wasn't lost when you were out in public! Losing it in your house means it will be found eventually. My youngest son lost his blankie for a whole week in the house. We finally found it shoved into a teeny, tiny drawer in his toy toolbench. Look in every small place you can. Jewelry box, tupperware drawer, in the towels, in his pillowcase. I know exactly what you guys are going through!

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  5. This is so sweet, and brings back sniffly memories for me, too. My daughter's lovey disappeared when she was in 2nd grade; it was traumatic for her, even though she wasn't in constant contact with it any more. It reappeared when she was in 8th grade; it had been put into a storage tub with a bunch of really old stuff that was shoved away....I've never seen her so happy to find something. Here's hoping that Bunny shows up for you today.

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  6. My 3 year old has a lovey, and I think I am as attached to that ratty, dirty thing as she is. I wish I could have back all the hours that DH and I have spent looking for it, and yes, we lost it in the house before for months. Fortunately, we had a backup. We eventually found the original (under the mattress on the bed - how?), and by then she wanted the backup. If you need to process this more, read the Knuffle Bunny series by Mo Willems - be warned that the third, Knuffle Bunny Free, will make you cry.

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  7. My younger munchkin lost her lovey at Grandma's house. Fortunately, we had learned after frantically searching for older daughter's lovey to purchase two identical loveys for daughter 2 that we rotated (so it would be gray and smelly too). When she came home from grandma's devastated without her lovey, we staged an elaborate scene in which grandmom supposedly came to the door with 'found' lovey so our daughter wouldn't know about the spare. (More for us, I think.) 11 months later, Grandma found missing lovey in a fondue pot at the back of the kitchen cabinet. I was so relieved to have the second one returned! Lovey has been in all sorts of random places around the house--including tucked into the vacuum cleaner compartment so here's hoping you find it soon!

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  8. My oldest son, now 24, had a bear - BoBo. We spend many hours hunting for BoBo before naps and beds. But what I remember most vividly was the night he had gone to sleep and I was settling his younger brother in the crib. I walked into the hallway to find BoBo on the floor, I picked him up and promptly went to oldest son's bedroom, sure that he was awake and waiting for BoBo. When I found him sound asleep without his bear, I cried for almost half an hour. He was growing up and I wasn't ready! Parenting is full of bittersweet moments.

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  9. As I read this post, I realized I've committed to making an hour drive to retreive the beloved "pink blanket"... which she hasn't even asked for in days.

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  10. You will find Bunny! My dd had a favorite Lamb, named Suzie, who was left at the Charleston SC aquarium while on vacation. The aquarium closed for the night before we realized where she was. Several frantic phone calls and an anxious drive back across town, we were knocking on the aquarium front door. An incredibly understanding custodian, Michael, met us at the door with Lamb and a crazy story of all her adventures that afternoon. At the end, he also handed us a few Polaroids of Suzie the Lamb at the exhibits and a stuffed penguin to remember the trip. My dd, now 10, still talks about Suzie's adventures! But she also realized that Suzie had a life without her. Always a good lesson!
    WHEN you find Bunny, celebrate his return and regale your son with his crazy adventures under the couch or behind the dresser. xoxo

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  11. Well that made me weepy. Did you check inside the recliner? Sometimes stuff gets swept inside under the legs and then stuck there.

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  12. I'm jealous of all the moms with kids who have small sized loveys. My son has autism, and his lovey is SOOOO important to him. The problem is, the darn thing is about 2 feet tall. It's a giant stuffed dog. That things has been lost, both in home and out of it, that I know make it my regular routine to know where it is every day. I feel for you. Hopefully you'll find it soon.

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  13. My daughter has a blanket - her "yellow" - which we have lost time and time again. The worst was at the zoo. It was in the stroller when we went in to the petting zoo, but not ehen we came out. I was frantic. We found it on the walk to lost and found on top of a trash can. That was the last time yellow got to leave the car on outings.

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  14. I think us mommies need to start a site where we can list any "extra" lovies so that when someone loses one they can search for a replacement. Because isn't it always the one lovey that they don't make or sell any more or that they lose? My mother-in-law got a stuffed dog for our son as soon as she found out we were expecting. How were we to know it was THAT dog that he'd get attached to and love forever and ever? And whenever he goes missing (which happens a few times a year at least!) it's tragic. And our son is almost 6! And of course no one can find a new doggie. My MIL has bought a "replacement" stuffed dog several times over the years and so far none of them are even close. We need a "Lovie replacement site" for things like this! :) Because what are the chances that someone somewhere has the exact same doggie that my son so dearly loves but their kid doesn't play with and so on and so forth?

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  15. We lost my nearly 18 month old's Bear a few weeks ago. It. Was. Awful. Eventually he was sated by having a binky in his mouth and one in his chubby fist, but it took quite a few nights of work. Naps had to take place in the car. And then we found Bear, sitting in the middle of the playroom floor one afternoon. Hubby, my daughter, and I each looked in there 3 times a day and no dice. But there he was, just chilling. I'm convinced it was a poltergeist prank.

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  16. My sister made my son a stuffed replica of Toothless (Took-a-lith) the Dragon from "How To Train Your Dragon" complete with shiny black scales, flappy wings, large green femo eyes and everything. It is the scariest of all loveys... and he can't sleep without him...

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  17. Bless your heart it made me cry reading. It's like you want them to hit milestones and grow up but then they do and you realize you can't stop it and they are getting older by the minute and it sort of hurts. You want them to need you forever. I totally understand and feel your pain. Now please share your lovie......

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  18. Please read The Velveteen Rabbit! Bunny has become real. :)

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  19. My five year old has just actually attached to a lovey. We've had bunches of stuffed animals over the years, and not one blasted one has he been interested in for more than a day. Until this year. Shellcrush the turtle now goes everywhere with us, although Voldemort does agree to leaving him in the car when we go into the store. But, as a child who had a series of loveys over the years, I want to tell my favorite lost story. When I was five, I had Floppy, a small puppy with floppy ears, who went EVERYWHERE with me, including on a family vacation to the beach. In the rush to leave the beach on our last day, I didn't notice Floppy was not packed in my bag until we got home. Weeping and wailing and MONTHS of hysterical crying later, I finally moved on to a new lovey. An entire year later, we returned to the beach - and ended up staying in the exact same condo. Where I found Floppy on the floor on the laundry closet. I found out years later that my big sister had hidden Floppy from me somewhere in the condo that last day, but felt bad after the hours and hours and buckets of tears, and when we went back, she retrieved him from his hiding place and dropped him on the laundry floor for me to find.

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  20. That is why we have 4 identical loveys!

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  21. My little guy went to bed last night without his cup of warm milk for the first time in his 3 1/2 years. This is in an effort to help him wake up dry - but it slayed me. For the same reasons you talk about. I'm weepy for us both.

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  22. I just registered my three and a half year old for school in the fall. He's usually so shy and won't leave my side and when we got to school he left me without a blink to take a tour of the school with the principal. *sigh* I'm feeling all the same emotions, sister! You spend so much time training them not to need you ALL THE TIME and when they finally don't, it's a little bit sad.

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  23. My oldest daughter who is now 19, had a blankie- a crib quilt that I had made before she was born. She slept with it every night, took it every day to her grandparents, kept it in her backpack at preschool....you get the idea. It was faded and smelly and falling apart by the time that she took it on a sleep over when she was in 4th grade. When she realized she hadn't brought it home the next night when it was bedtime, we called the friend's parents and the mom told me that she had THROWN IT IN THE TRASH. And the trash was burned.
    There are no words for the anger and the sadness that I STILL feel. She was devastated and we sobbed together for hours. What on earth would make someone think they needed or should throw away something that clearly didn't belong to their child just because (in her words) it was smelly.
    I honestly have a knot in my stomach just typing this, that is how upset I was, and still am. I occasionally see that mom (who I was actually friends with at the time) but I will never forgive her for that.

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  24. I am getting all weepy now. I remember losing my own lovey on vacation (in our hotel room) when I was about 7. My parents drove back to get it- thank goodness we didn't get too far away- and it was sitting in the front window waiting for me!

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  25. oh this made me sad all over again!
    when my pink one just started to talk, Pink Puppy, her buddy, was one of the words she practiced over & over & over.
    And then one day I wasn't feeling well, and we had a rental car, and she got to take Pink Puppy when we went to pick up big brother at camp, even though I learned early on with the wonder boys to not let lovies out of the house .... and Pink Puppy disappeared. Searched the house... searched the rental car (even a second time after we returned it).... drove along the 5 mile route to camp s.l.o.w.l.y, looking on the side of the road in case he had jumped out of the window. Searched the camp parking lot three times and the lost & found box for weeks.
    Nothing.
    And sobby baby... wailing & sobbing, and calling for Pink Puppy the next few days every time it was sleepy time.
    Tore. My. Mom. Heart. Out. Every. Stinkin'. Night.
    I wailed & sobbed, too.
    Still to this day -- three years later -- I still look for Pink Puppy when we move a piece of furniture or I open a box that's been in the basement for awhile or we scoot the washer out for some reason.
    And still, to this day -- because in my heart of hearts I know it was on the roof of the car and flew off as we headed home -- when I find myself on the route we took to get to camp, I STILL scan the side of the road for a pink miracle.
    (found replacement Pink Puppy online, and have the company web address in my bookmarks just in case.)

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  26. My son is 6.5 and while he isn't outgrowing his Pooh Bear, or Green Blankie - he is outgrpwing me. When we go the park, I'm benched unless there is nobody else to play with. He no longer wants/needs my help doing bog boy things and I'm lost being unneeded!

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  27. We have "Cookie". My 5 year olds bear. It was a gift to me when I was pregnant with him and he hasn't gone without him that whole time. I dread the day he moves on. I just might have to start sleeping with Cookie then.

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  28. I'm a new mom, little one is only two months old so we are not at the lovey stage yet. I remember my own loveys, I had several who I would rotate who went with me but all slept on my bed. I don't remember ever losing any but I was almost 13 before I stopped sleeping with them all. I still have them packed away since I don't currently have room to display them, my husband thinks its odd but he leaves me alone about it. They all hold special memories for me, especially of people who are no longer here. I hope little one does find a lovey but I know I will also cry when she reaches those milestones.

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  29. My 5-year-old daughter has a stuffed Cat in the Hat and a pink polka dot blanket that she sleeps with every night. My aunt and uncle bought her the Cat in the Hat at Kohl's when I was pregnant with her, and just last year they finally had it at Kohl's again, so they finally bought a backup, although the 4-year age difference between the 2 is pretty noticeable. The blanket was a baby shower gift; I don't remember who from. I love the idea of a lovey replacement site! We have had several close calls when we almost lost our daughter's loveys; I specifically remember leaving it on a chair at a restaurant. Luckily, it was still there when we went back for it! Now, it doesn't leave the house anymore, so I'm not as worried about losing it. I, too, had a favorite stuffed dog and a blanket when I was little, and they are both still in my closet. :-)

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  30. Laughed OUT loud at this. "when your husband says he'll be home by 7 and then you call him at 7:15 and he's still at his desk" homicidal tendencies YES! good read

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  31. Laughing OUT loud at this--> "when your husband says he'll be home by 7 and then you call him at 7:15 and he's still at his desk"

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