A couple of weeks ago, we went out to dinner at a favorite local restaurant. The reason it is a favorite is because it is very kid friendly - kid menus, cups with lids, booster seats, high chairs, and there is also a general store attached that is filled with over-priced toys, beer, wine, and assorted knickknacks and gadgets.
I was getting the boys out of the car, and I suggested to Oscar that he leave his beloved Bunny in the car, so he would get lost or be forgotten.
"But Bunny is a little baby and he'll cry and cry if I leave him in the car!"
Not wanting to start our outing out with dramatics, I just let him bring the damn Bunny into the restaurant.
"Okay, but you better keep an eye on that Bunny."
We had to wait about 20 minutes for a table. My mom agreed to buy the boys a toy from the general store, and I told them that would be fine but their behavior had to be OUTSTANDING, or there would be no toy.
Needless to say, their behavior was only moderately good, but even moderately good is significantly better than their average restaurant behavior, so I took Miles over to the store while my mom waited at the table to pay the check. They met us in the store two or three minutes later.
After much hemming and hawing and toy testing, they each settled on an item. I think Miles got a train and Oscar got a car or an airplane. We paid and left.
We live about a five minute drive from the restaurant, and as I was unbuckling Oscar from his seat he says to me,
"Where's my Bunny?"
"I don't know where your Bunny is Oscar. You are in charge of Bunny. Did you bring him to the car?"
The tears welled up in his eyes, and his voice got shaky.
"No. I forgot him. I forgot Bunny! WAAA!"
We got back in the car and headed back to the restaurant. My mom went in to look for Bunny. As she was leaving the car, Oscar asked, "What if Meme does not find my Bunny?"
I told him, "Well, then you are just going to have to live without your Bunny."
"I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT MY BUNNY!"
It was tragic.
Meme did not find Bunny. She talked with the owner, and told her of Oscar's preference for death to life without Bunny and he was very sympathetic and promised to make efforts to find Bunny.
I went in and searched after my mom and I did not find Bunny either.
I left our name and number so they could call us if they found Bunny, but I was not terribly hopeful. Locating the thing in that general store, which has has a huge section dedicated to stuffed animals, was just and impossible task.
Let me tell you, I was angry at my child. I was furious. He lost that Bunny and now bedtime was going to be awful. If he had just left the damn thing in the car, he would be home in bed and we would not have this problem.
And Oscar was devastated. I had no idea how he was going to survive.
I had a back up Bunny in the basement so I brought that up. My mom told Oscar that the back up bunny had been living in the basement and was very sad because he did not have anyone to love him like Oscar loved Bunny. Maybe Oscar could love the new Bunny until he found his old one?
Oscar decided that the back up bunny was his Bunny's dad, and he would love it. It was not his Regular Bunny, and it did not "smell right" or have the right worry spots, but it would do. He was very brave. He went to sleep with his new Bunny.
In the morning he woke up and lost no time asking me for his Regular Bunny.
"You don't have Regular Bunny anymore. He was lost in the restaurant. You have the New Bunny now, Bunny's dad."
He cried a bit and then held his new Bunny.
"He does not smell right."
"He will eventually."
"He does not feel right."
"He will, Oscar, once you've loved him for a long time."
The day went on and I got a call from a friend and I had to help her get her fool of an almost-ex-husband out of jail. It took all day. Seriously, do not get arrested. It's a major pain in the ass for the people who have to get you un-arrested. Nelson was home with the boys. They checked the restaurant again for Bunny. No dice.
Anyways, she and I were heading back home after a very long day, when I got a call from a local number that I did not recognize. I took the call, and it was the restaurant. They found Bunny!
The store clerk told me she was restocking the wine shelves in the back, and she found him, placed high on a shelf. If she had not restocked that day, it could have been weeks before she found him.
My friend and I went down to the restaurant and retrieved Bunny. It was nice that something so great happened on an otherwise monumentally shitty day.
I have never heard such a shriek of delight from my child as when I presented him with that Bunny. He was beside himself with joy.
Since then, he has done a great job with leaving Bunny in the car when we go somewhere, and he even leaves him in the car DURING SCHOOL. That's huge. He never wants to forget that Bunny anywhere ever again, and neither do I.