This week, whilst out on an innocent, everyday shopping trip to the local mall with Little Miss O, Mr O and I found ourselves in the midst of a mini-drama.
As a parent you become accustomed to the fact that the threat of a toddler related mini-drama is a constant one. Whether it’s an exploding nappy situation in the middle of a restaurant, a total bat-shit-crazy meltdown in the supermarket, or a display of highly embarrassing and inappropriate behaviour in front of strangers (Mummy, why does that woman have a beard?) you are always on high alert.
But this week we were floored by the level of the mini-drama. This week the absolute unthinkable happened. We bloody well lost ‘Bunny’.
Bunny, to give you a bit of background, is not a ‘real’ rabbit in the eyes of most. He’s made of cloth for starters. He doesn’t really like carrots (although according to Little Miss he does like biscuits and chocolate.) And he’s pink (we believe he’s ‘in touch’ with his feminine side.)
He and Little Miss have been ‘best friends’ since she was a few weeks old. Despite having a million other soft toys to choose from there was something about Bunny that Little Miss fell in love with from the start. And for the last two years he’s been her constant companion. She sleeps with him, eats with him, talks to him, won’t go anywhere without him.
And we bloody well lost him. In the sodding mall. One minute he was there, sitting on her lap in the buggy. And the next minute, faster than you could say ‘what’s up doc’ – poof – he’d vanished.
‘For the love of God’ I hear you cry ‘why don’t you have a back-up bunny?!?!’ Well we do. We have two in fact. But as any parent of a child who has a favourite ‘comforter’ will tell you, kids ain’t stupid and they can sniff out an imposter a mile away. (Quite literally because no matter how many times you manage to sneak the original one into the washing machine it will always stink.)
So now here we are. An ashen-faced Mr O (he was pushing the buggy, so you can see if this doesn’t end well exactly where the blame might lie…) a now slightly tearful Little Miss, as the reality of losing her soul-mate starts to kick in (he’s my best friend in the whole wide world, sob) and me, trying to stay calm and not go down the blame route (well you were pushing the sodding buggy FFS…..!!!)
We re-trace our steps and find ourselves in Boots. It’s a sizeable shop. And it’s busy. But we manage to collar an assistant and plead for help. She’s lovely. And a mum. And she totally gets it. She rounds up the troops and before we know it we have a full-scale man/bunny hunt underway.
We search aisle after aisle and my heart starts to sink. And I think of poor little pink bunny, lying lost underneath the tampon stand forever more. Or being swept up with the rubbish and being doomed to a life in a dumpster. Or worse still, being snatched up by some horrid, monster of a child who will draw on his face with felt-tips and tug his ears till they fall off. (Like that little sh*t that abducts ‘Ted’ in the movie).
Suddenly, one of the troops shouts ‘HE’S BEEN SPOTTED!!!’ ‘Someone saw him lying here on the floor a few minutes ago!’ Relief floods through me ‘He’s in here!!!’ I shout ‘HE’S IN THE SHOP!!!!’ And then I see him. Our sweet little, smiley faced, pink bunny. Sitting a-top the Clinique counter. I guess he really is in-touch with his feminine side after all.
It’s only later, after much jubilation and bunny hugging has taken place, that I realise quite how special Bunny is. Not just to Little Miss, but to me. Every important event – he’s been there. Nearly every photo we have of her – he’s in it. He’s not just a toy. He’s part of the family. And one day, when she flies the nest and is way too grown-up to fall asleep with Bunny clutched tightly in her chubby little hands, I’ll probably fall asleep with him in mine.
A few days later, her and I pop back to the mall. ‘Now listen’ I say as I strap her and Bunny into the buggy ‘hold on tight to Bunny. We can’t lose him again. Poor Bunny must be so scared after he got lost last time’ She leans forwards and gives me a sympathetic pat on the arm ‘Mummy’ she says ‘he IS just pretend remember…..’!!!