Monday, January 14, 2008

I can top that

I came across an article yesterday that included stories from parents about the time they searched high and low for a treasured lovey. You know what a lovey is, right? That one blanket/pillow/animal/scrap of cloth that your child carries around with her during the day and cuddles up to sleep with every night. It's the one thing in her life that can make anything better, it has the power to drive away the monsters under the bed or comfort her as she leaves her favorite Grandma's house. Not every child attaches to a lovey, but for those children that do, losing it is the worst possible thing that can happen.

When K was only a few months old, I bought a stuffed rabbit from an on-line toy store that was going out of business. The rabbit was motion sensitive and whenever K would wake up and start moving around at night, a light would come on in the rabbit's chest and nature sounds would start playing. We christened it Bunny and it wasn't long before he became K's favorite toy. And then he became indispensable. She carried that thing everywhere, pushing it in her doll stroller and serving it tea, and insisting he be in every picture she took. She developed a habit of holding his ear in one hand while she sucked her thumb and stroked his other ear lovingly. That habit got him taken away for 2 weeks when she was four so we could break her of the thumb-sucking, but otherwise he is her constant companion.

When K was 5, the time finally came for us to travel to China to complete the adoption of her little sister. We would be gone for almost 3 weeks and there was no way K could possibly undergo a trip halfway around the world, involving 9 plane rides, 4 cities, a whole bunch of strangers, and a strange culture, *and* get a new little sister without the help of Bunny. So she packed him in her carry-on and off we went.

Bunny was an invaluable companion as K's new little sister didn't take to well to her and K took the rejection to heart. He also helped calm her after all the attention she got from various Chinese strangers on the street--they loved her blond hair and freckles and she was constantly getting pulled into pictures and kissed on the cheek. Bunny made it through most of the trip without incident until the last week. It was city #4 and hotel #3. As most other adoptive families, we stayed in the White Swan hotel while the US part of our paperwork was being completed. You have never experienced *service* until you stay at the White Swan. Each floor is equipped with an attendant who presses the elevator button for you to descend (even coming inside and pressing which floor you want to go to) and they meet the elevator when you come back and direct you to your room from memory. If Bunny was going to get lost in any hotel, this was definitely the place to do it.

One morning we had gone down to breakfast, and when we returned K started looking for Bunny and couldn't find him. After a few minutes, Mr. at Home and I joined in the search with no luck. K was getting upset, so I started making jokes like, "Maybe Bunny decided to take a bath" as we checked the tub. We were all laughing, but anxious, too, as that rabbit was nowhere to be found. Mr. at Home started thinking and remembered that K hadn't had Bunny all morning, which meant he was still under the covers from last night, but housekeeping had already come and changed the sheets. Bunny had probably been rolled up in the dirty sheets and taken away. Uh-oh.

Mr. at Home and K went out to the little attendant's stand to explain what happened and ask if the laundry room could be notified to look for Bunny. A few minutes later, a maid came by and changed the sheets on our bed. Hummm, I don't think they understood. Remembering K's penchant for taking pictures of Bunny, I found a picture of him on my camera and we took it to try explaining the situation again to the attendant with his limited English. This time he understood and hooked us up with the assistant manager, who thankfully spoke much better English. The manager was *very* apologetic and assured us they would do everything possible to locate Bunny.

Throughout the day, K was despondent and frequently asked about Bunny. We assured her that of any hotel at which we had ever stayed, this one was the most likely to find and return Bunny. That night we got a call from the manager saying they had not yet located him, but they were continuing to search. The next morning, Bunny was the first thing on K's mind. Mr. at Home assured her that he would be returned today and if he wasn't, then we could search Ebay at home to see if we could find another. As soon as we opened the door to go down to breakfast, the floor attendant rushed over and handed K her Bunny. It was the happiest moment of her life.

Of course, we still did an Ebay search after we got back home and K ended up with the *entire collection* of Fisher-Price Peaceful Planet Soothing Sounds animals. The new ones are valued members of her stuffed animal menagerie, but not one of them is nearly as important as Bunny.

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