Photo by C. Roe

We had a disaster last week – a disaster entirely of our own making.  A disaster that, with a little more resolve, could have easily been prevented.

We know it’s a bad idea to let Birdy take Teddy out in public places.  Normally when we go to the shops or a cafe or to church, we insist that Teddy stays in the car so he doesn’t get lost.  But last week Teddy went to daycare.  And as anyone, even an Octopus, could have predicted Teddy was left behind at daycare.  I know.  Shocking case of parental neglect.  But wait, it gets worse…  It was a FRIDAY!

You know what that means, don’t you?  Two long days and three long nights without Teddy.

But hang on, why am I calling him Teddy, like he’s just some home brand generic teddy?  He has a name.  It’s January.  Birdy named him herself when she was two years old.  My husband and I were quite impressed.  Birdy was born in January, so it’s a pretty cool name for her teddy.

I bought January when I was pregnant.  My husband, who has a more pessimistic mindset than me, wouldn’t let me buy any baby things for about the first six months, in case it didn’t work out.  But I was so excited I just had to get something, so I allowed myself to buy just one teddy for my unborn baby.  That teddy turned out to be January.   That baby turned out to be Birdy.  I’m pretty attached to them both.  So naturally I was quite pleased that January became the teddy she bonded with and cuddles every night.

I was very attached to my teddy as a child.  He was blue with hardly any hair and he was called Peter Bear.  I remember a few distraught times (after I’d got in trouble for something) when I was genuinely convinced that Peter Bear was the only person in the world who really understood me.  Fortunately that conviction never lasted too long.  But he was there for me when I needed him.  That’s why I always hoped that Birdy would also have a special teddy to be her unconditional friend.

Well,  you’ll be glad to hear we survived the weekend without January.  Birdy even managed to sleep OK, but not without a few tears before bed each night.  Any time she got upset about something, she’d ask for teddy and then cry even more because he wasn’t there. And I actually found it harder to calm her down her without that simple, dependable comforter that I automatically turn to when she’s upset.  I felt almost as pleased as Birdy when January finally came home again.  I’ve made him promise to never run away again.

Do your kids have a special teddy or comforter? Have you ever left it behind in a hotel, playground or at a friend’s place?  Did you have a special soft toy as a child that you still remember?