library · slice of life

Losing Little Teddy — Again

“Where’s Teddy?” I asked Isabelle as she followed me into the library’s family bathroom.

Her eyes darted down to her arms. Teddy wasn’t there.

“I dunno,” she said.

Oh sh*t! Not again! 

This tiny teddy bear — whose been so loved that its head is hanging on by threads — was lost again.

“Where did you leave her?” I asked Isabelle leading her out of the bathroom back to the stacks.

She shook her head.

For the love of G-d! 

“Do you remember when you last had her? Was it by the toys? Was it when you were sitting with Yonatan over there? Was it at the checkout desk?”

“I don’t,” she paused, “remember.”

“What are you looking for?” asked a mom with a baby strapped to her chest.

“My daughter lost a small, tan teddy bear,” I replied.

She crouched down and helped us search the floor with her baby in the carrier.  How kind is that?

We searched for a minute, but nature was calling.

“Mommy has to go to the bathroom, Isabelle. We’ll come back in a minute.”

As I led her away by the hand, she sniffled and started calling, “Teddy! Teddy! Where are you?”

“She’s not going to answer,” I snapped.

Isabelle’s lip quivered. I softened my demeanor.  “I promise I will help you look for her as soon as I use the bathroom.”

Isabelle was weepy while I took care of things.  “We’ll find her,” I reassured. But I wasn’t so sure. What if some kid had walked off with Teddy and placed her where we hadn’t been?  What if some kid had taken Teddy home.  What if Teddy was gone — and I mean seriously gone — and we had to go home without her.  She’d been lost in the supermarket and at a Bat Mitzvah. We’d already lucked out twice with Teddy being returned. What if we didn’t get her back this time?

Once we were out of the bathroom, we enlisted one of the librarians to help us. I showed her a picture (one of the many) of Isabelle holding Teddy — who is like an appendage — so she’d know what to look for.  Then we split up.  We retraced our steps from the art area to the book stacks to the play space to the benches to the circulation desk.

And that is where, on the way to the circulation desk, we found Teddy. She was nestled into the corner of an orange chair just waiting to be discovered and loved again.

I dropped Isabelle’s hand and raced ahead — as if walking slowly would somehow diminish me finding the bear.

“Isabelle! Look who I found?”

I grabbed Teddy with my hand and pivoted around to Isabelle holding the bear out towards her.

“Little Teddy!” she shrieked.  She rushed over and enveloped the bear in a hug, kissing her all over.  “It’s okay Little Teddy. You’re all right. I’m here now.”

Shortly after their reunion, I laid down the law. “This is the third time Teddy has gotten REALLY lost, Isabelle. You can’t keep taking her inside of places with you.”

“But I love her,” Isabelle said.

“I know you do. But searching for her is taking years off of my life.”

Isabelle looked at me perplexed, but a few passers-by chuckled. They knew what I meant even if my four (and a half!) year-old didn’t. I changed my line of reasoning.

“You don’t want Teddy to get lost again and feel sad, right?”

“No,” Isabelle said.

“Well then, for her sake, you have to leave her at home or keep her in the car when we go places. We don’t want her to keep getting lost.”

“Okay,” Isabelle said. She kissed Little Teddy again.

And while she agreed — for now — with me, I have a feeling this is a conversation we’ll be having again soon.


27 thoughts on “Losing Little Teddy — Again

  1. Oh Stacey do I know what you mean. Both of my grandchildren have security blants, geeky geeky and bwa. Overtime we can’t find those blankets all of the adults have a nervous breakdown. One time I suggested cutting geeky geeky in half and always leaving half home. My grandson was appalled at the idea – “MeMe, you DO NOT cut geeky geeky.”

  2. I love the picture…Waterlogged (sp?) App? And the story and your wisdom. Of course Teddy is REAL. I pray that Teddy is never truly lost for all or your sakes. oy……

  3. Oh my goodness, I so remember those “Have you got teddy?” panicky moments. I would rather have lost my wallet! He was the key to our serenity! So glad you found him, he is part of the family.

      1. This sounds like an important book for your daughter. As you probably know, it’s very difficult to get an agent for kids books, unless you’re famous. And the traditional publishing route is a tough one for picture books. You should go it alone and publish it yourself. I just did that with “Wowwy and Me” a picture book for my now grown daughter about her favourite stuffed toy, like Teddy. Such a wonderful family gift and legacy. Good luck with yours.

  4. Stacey, replace ‘Teddy’ with the word ‘Clifford’ or ‘Monkey’ and this is a slice of my life! I have the same rule… Clifford and Monkey wait in the car. (Sometimes, I make up silly stories about how I saw Clifford peeking in the lunch room at work, just for fun.) Loved your telling of this story – every detail you included was perfect.

    1. Oh, the agony of losing a stuffie! It’s terrible!
      Notice the profanity? I was so ticked it happened again. (I thought of editing it out, but seeing as I thought it, not said it, I decided to keep it in. Trying to keep it real.)

  5. Oh no! I loved this Slice as I could relate. Megan is constantly losing her favorite toy of the moment and then we have to search- usually in the middle of the night. Rapunzel, stuffed dog Sparkle and Sparkle 2 (also a stuffed dog), Rainbow pony, etc. Maybe she could take a picture of Little Teddy with her places and leave the real Little Teddy at home! 🙂

  6. I do love the picture, Stacey. Imogene has a blanket that’s not replaceable, & oh my, we have looked for it. Now she has to leave it at home, new rule, & after a day or so, it’s worked. Good luck with “maybe” letting Teddy stay at home to mind the house while you all go places?

    1. She’s able to go to her new Tu/Th afternoon preschool without a stuffed animal (since they’re not allowed there), so I know she can do it. I’m going to have to lay down the law.

  7. Oh, Stacey, I feel your pain! Ours was a beloved doll named “Puffy.” Puffy went with us EVERYWHERE until the day we lost her at a giant super store! Once she was recovered and my blood pressure returned to a reasonable rate we agreed Puffy would have to stay home and babysit the cat when we go out! Puffy is nearly 22 years old and she still resides on my daughters bed shelf, all day and I believe in the bed some nights..SHHH!
    I am so glad you found Teddy!

  8. Yes! First thoughts? A picture book! Ugh, the agony. Our rule has always been leave it at home or in the car — I was not going to be on the hunt for TWO missing anythings! Relieved you found your, er, Isabelle’s Teddy. 🙂 (And that watercolor photo is adorable!)

  9. Too funny! Years ago, a dear friend’s niece had a doll named G*d. One day, Betsy and I took this little girl and G*d to the supermarket and lost her. Pretty sure you could hear her screaming about losing G*d from one end of the store to the other.
    Like several others, I love the Waterlogue picture. I want to try that app.

  10. Stacey, your post is one that I can relate to easily. I am glad that Isabella and YOU found Teddy and your mommy talk worked out the problem for NOW.
    What a great redo of your original photo with Waterlogue (I am assuming that is the app you are using).

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