My daughter Willow has a soft toy bunny, called …. Bunny.
In fact, I bought Bunny for her while expecting. It is the first thing I ever bought her.
I think every other child must also have a bunny that looks the same but no, not true – and that is the whole message of my story: THEY ARE NOT THE SAME!
I remember being told pre-children that it’s important to get a duplicate of the favourite soft toy, in case of washing or loss, as it will save drama and heartache – and the child will be none the wiser.
Hence early in Willow’s life, I bought and introduced ‘Back-up Bunny’.
I remember gloating to a friend that we were lucky enough to have a generic bunny, so it was easy to have a back-up.
My friend was jealous because her son was inseparable from his rag doll ‘Stinky’ and because Stinky was a gift from the UK, she had no hope of finding a back-up easily and was terrified of the event where he might lose his beloved comforter.
Bunny #2 used to stay home clean in bed whilst #1 went daycare and everywhere else.
For months I managed to keep them separate, and it worked – there was a bunny everywhere and for all occasions until Willow reached 2 ½ yrs old.
“That’s not my bunny she screamed” and angrily discarded #2 out of her bed.
Hysterics ensued until #1 was found and in arms, she can even tell in the dark just by feeling #1’s well worn bottom labels, that this is her bestie, her confidante and favourite.
The imposter is still not allowed back and shunned from any interaction.
I can tell the difference, #1 bunny (pictured right) has a slimmer face, slightly pointier nose, and now, is a little more thread bare and floppier than #2.
This total bunny #2 rejection happened only a couple of weeks before the oft-feared calamity happened and #1 did actually disappear.
It was in the middle of moving house a month ago, I was distraught. I couldn’t sleep.
I was looking under the car at 10pm at night in the rain with a torch. I tried to console myself and Willow by saying how much Bunny #2 needed love now that #1 had gone.
Day 3 and Willow seemed OK, a brief “Where’s my Bunny” but Teddy had stepped up into the role and she found another softie to take to bed – all was OK.
But I was so sad.
I couldn’t work it out. Where could it have gone? How could I have not noticed it falling in a puddle? Poor Bunny was somewhere, cold, miserable, desolate...and lost.
Day 7: We were having dinner at my Mum’s.
Willow calls out “Look I’ve found Bunny!”
What the???? Risen from the dead. All hail Bunny #1.
Willow had stashed it under my Mum’s piano keyboard cover a week earlier…either she’d forgotten or is so incredibly clever to curate the whole drama and watch me lose my mind over this damned piece of faux fur.
So to my relief, Bunny #1 is safe in arms again, I am considering counselling to manage my separation anxiety just in case next time we aren’t so lucky.
But my message to all new Mums out there and the moral of my story is:
Don’t fret if you don’t have a back up comforter, its highly likely that the chosen item will be the only thing that your child will bond closely with and most likely nothing will be able to take it’s place.
But in case of loss, I promise your child will get over it, they are often far more adaptable and resilient than we give them credit for.