Jasmine’s favourite toy is small, pink Jellycat rabbit.
We refer to him as ‘Bunny’. And we call him a ‘him’ because I don’t want to reinforce stereotypical views that pink is ‘only a girls colour’. But that’s a subject for another day.
Jasmine has had Bunny since she was only a few days old, he was chosen for her by a friend of our family’s young son.
When I lay Jasmine down in her cot at night, the first thing she does is reach out for him, before her head and body has even touched the mattress.
Bunny has brought Jasmine comfort when she’s been ill or teething.
Bunny is often soggy from where Jasmine sucks his ears and bites his nose. And, depending on how long ago he was washed, he generally doesn’t smell too fresh either.
Despite my best efforts to convince Jasmine to leave bunny at home when we go out, she grips onto him tightly and alas, he goes everywhere we go. And up until now, it’s been fine.
But on Saturday the 25th April 2015 – Bunny went missing.
I think every parent goes through the ‘Oh sh*t, we’ve lost our kid’s favourite toy’ stage at some point. I didn’t think it would happen to us quite so soon. Some people get lucky, and thanks to social media, often get their children’s much loved, tired-looking toy back. Some find replacements easily. And sometimes it’s not that much of a big deal.
It was an average Saturday, the sun was shining and our town centre was buzzing. There’s always lots of people around on Market Day. We’d only been in town a couple of minutes and headed into Debhenhams to find Stephen some clothes to wear for a wedding we have coming up. It had been no more than 10 minutes since we left the car park and we’d only walked a few hundred metres.
As Stephen browsed the shirts, I pushed Jasmine around in the pushchair behind him. I glanced down to see her small, empty hands. Bunny had gone.
“Bunny’s gone!” I said, pointing towards Jasmine’s lap.
He glanced down and spotted the same pair of empty hands that I had. No more words were needed. We zoomed around that men’s department 5, 6, 7 times! We frantically brushed aside any obstructions – people, fallen garments, hanging rails. My heart was beating a million miles an hour. I had to find that damn rabbit. After several panicked minutes we came to the conclusion that Jasmine must’ve dropped Bunny before we had entered the shop. The last known sighting was in the lift at the multi-strorey car park – where I had specifically instructed Jasmine to ‘hold on tight to Bunny’. *sigh*
Back to the car park we headed, carefully re-tracing our steps as we went. We argued about whether or not we had walked to the right or the left of the hot dog van. We were wasting precious time. There were people everywhere. I glanced at the children we passed, ready to snatch Bunny back from anyone who may have picked him up. We looked on walls and pillars but there was no sign of him. We’d made it back the car park and we ere empty handed. Bunny was gone. Lost. Never to be seen again.
“Well, this does not look good.” I said to Stephen, feeling extremely downbeat. “The first 24 hours are the most critical, if we’re ever going to find him.”
Stephen laughed. I laughed – even though I was being semi-serious. I realised how ridiculous this all was.
Jasmine hadn’t quite worked out what all the fuss was about but we knew she would notice Bunny had gone eventually. I knew things wouldn’t be the same without him.
We immediately went and bought another small, pink Jellycat rabbit. An exact duplicate. As I placed it next to the till, Jasmine put her arms up to reach out for it… “Uh! Uh! Uh!” – the noise she makes when she is desperate to hold Bunny – and I felt a bit sad. Because this wasn’t the Bunny she knew and loved.
His fur was clean and soft. He didn’t smell like Bunny. He wasn’t the Bunny from all the photos we have from her first year on this earth. He wasn’t the bunny that was chosen for her when she was a few days old.
But she didn’t know any different.
I passed him over to her and she immediately nibbled his nose (just like she always does) and then hugged him tight.
I know I’ve a terrible habit of anthropomorphising things (remember Jeffery?). But I can’t help it.
My daughter lost her favourite toy and I was more upset than she was.
And I can’t help but wonder where he ended up?
I just hope Bunny is making someone as happy as he made Jasmine.