Do you remember your special security lovey from when you were little? Mine was a blanket, named Old Faithful. My mother threw Old Faithful away when I was five, and I am still a little (very) scarred. She claims that the blanket was ripped to shreds; I think she was jealous of the love that Old Faithful and I shared.
My daughter’s lovey is named Puppy. Her world begins and ends with Puppy. (Which means mine- and my husband’s- also does). As a result, we have a LOVE-HATE relationship with Puppy, especially during moments of crisis. We love love LOVE him when He can stop Emma from having a full blown shit fit. (I used to judge parents when their children had public meltdowns. After a harrowing trip through Airport Security, I Learned To Stop Judging Others.) Because of his magical abilities, there is no replacing Puppy. This is where hating Puppy comes into play… if Puppy is MIA, we are up the creek. And we don’t have a paddle.
Until recently, we imagined our worst nightmare as parents to be the “Night Without Puppy”. In two years, we haven’t had one. Not one single Puppyless Night. We had a couple of close calls, but have been able to deliver the goods—Puppy—every time. We have a wonderful lady who watches Emma while I am at work. Miss Sherri loves Emma like she is her own- and really, who wouldn’t love the adorable, perfect angel that is Emma? – and would do anything for her. We left Puppy at her house one Friday after work, and didn’t realize it until Emma was ready to read her bedtime story. Thirty six (seriously) frantic phone calls, twenty five minutes, and one hysterical little girl later, Miss Sherri came flying into our driveway, Puppy in hand. All four of us (Miss Sherri, Thomas, Emma, and I) were in tears. We renewed our vow to Always Have Puppy At All Times again that evening- vows that we take as seriously as the vows we took before Church and State almost six years ago.
A couple of weeks ago, we were invited to a friend’s house for drinks. For simplicity’s sake, we will call him “Mr. Bruce”. We had a wonderful time, enjoying good company and delicious drinks. We had such a whirlwind of a time that we didn’t notice we had left one of our own behind. We didn’t notice, in fact, until it was bath time. Casual questioning, “Where’s Puppy?” was replaced by frantic searching, “Puppy, where ARE YOU?”, which was replaced by the dreadful, sick stomach sinking realization that Puppy wasn’t at home with the rest of us. Thomas and I quickly set up a strategy for dealing with the oncoming crisis, which we named Operation Save Puppy. We were hopeful that we could contain the disaster, and that it would not progress into the Puppy Games, with only one man left standing at the end. My first move was to phone stalk Mr. Bruce. (I have only phone stalked one other person with such perseverance as I did Mr. Bruce. His name was Cory, and he was a super cute Sigma Chi I met my sophomore year at IU. We had gone out once, and I just knew he wanted to be my boyfriend! What I didn’t know was that he had caller ID… Life Lesson: Calling a boy more than twenty (yes, you read that correctly) times in one day is Not A Good Idea… especially when you have a class that meets four times a week with that potential boyfriend as it makes for a rather awkward semester (of course I did that in the first month of school)…) Six phone calls in five minutes did not gain us any ground in Operation Save Puppy. Because I know Mr. Bruce, I know that he will sometimes put his phone on silent, which renders him as good as dead to the rest of the world. In an attempt to escalate our defense, I dispatched Thomas to go to Mr. Bruce’s house. How fast he drove, how many traffic laws were broken, is not an important part to this narrative. Thomas made record time to Mr. Bruce’s, but to no avail. Mr. Bruce wasn’t home, and because he lives in a gated community, Thomas was unable to park in front of his house and wait for him to return home. When Thomas called with an update—no entrance—he did not take my suggestion to break into the community by scaling the fence, waiting for a neighbor to come home and sneak in behind them, or to call random names on the directory to see if someone would buzz him in. (I sort of questioned his dedication to the cause at that point, to be totally honest.). We had to face the music: we were going Puppyless…
To her GREAT credit (and possibly our superior parenting skills?!), Emma did a great job that night. (Also, she was so tired she couldn’t see straight, so that helped.) We deployed “Puppy Number Two” as a stand in, and, along with Corduroy the bear, she slept through the night.
The next morning, she was having none of it. We were awoken to her best attempt at negotiations skills…
“Mommy I need your help!”
“I need Puppy Number One!”
“Puppy, where are you?”
Again, because I know Mr. Bruce, I knew he had been awake for at least two hours that day; Thomas was again dispatched on Operation Rescue Puppy. (He was also instructed that drinking Bloody Marys with Mr. Bruce wasn’t part of our overall strategy, and to HURRY home with the precious cargo.) He made record time, and was back, triumphantly carrying Puppy on his shoulder. Things had deteriorated in our house while he was gone. Emma wasn’t buying “Puppy is on vacation! At the beach! Just like Mommy and Daddy!”, and had been in tears since I had gotten her out of her crib. When she heard the magical sounds of the car pulling in, she dashed to the door, where she formed her own Welcome Home Puppy committee.
We all learned several lessons that day. Emma proved herself, yet again, to be an easy going, flexible, delightful little girl (which is great, because I don’t think my husband could handle two difficult, always-my-way sort of gals.) We survived the night without Puppy, and lived to tell. And, we again revowed to never let it happen again!
Note: I know you are saying to yourself, why don’t they just buy ten Puppys to have as back up? Trust me- we so would if we could. Puppy was part of a Valentine’s Day gift Emma received when she was four months old. He was a $1.99 Walgreens special for the holiday, and so isn’t stocked regularly. Internet searches haven’t proven fruitful either…