slice of life

There’s no substitute for Muttsy. Or is there?

We returned home to Pennsylvania this afternoon after being away for the Passover holiday. On the way from my in-laws’ house to my parents’ house, we received this from Linda, my mother-in-law:

Oh. My. G-d.

The dog she was referring to is Muttsy, which is one of four stuffed animals Ari sleeps with in his crib each night. However, Muttsy the Dog is the one he cuddles underneath his arm when he goes to bed. It’s always Muttsy under his arm.

Thankfully, Ari was fine without Muttsy during his stay at my parents’ house. He happily slept with a stuffed Panda that was mine as a child.

However, when it came time to put Ari down for a nap this afternoon — at home — the first thing he said as I carried him over to his crib was “Dog!”

“Why don’t you sleep with Ducky? Or Lion? Or Giraffe!” I offered.


Kiddo, I thought, your dog is in Connecticut and won’t be here until your grandparents come in two weeks.

But then another thought came to mind. Isabelle has the same dog! What if I gave Ari Isabelle’s Muttsy?!?!? It’s worth a try!

Years ago, my parents purchased three stuffed Muttsy dogs from FAO Schwarz and had them wrapped up for their future grandchildren. They gave the first one to Isabelle on her first birthday. They gave Ari his Muttsy on his first birthday. (And the third one went to a friend’s baby recently since I am not having any more children!) Isabelle never took to Muttsy the way Ari did so her Muttsy looks brand new despite being out of the box for six years since it spends most of its days inside a drawer in her playroom.

I dashed downstairs and started looking through the playroom bins without asking Isabelle for permission. (Because all I needed was for her to get possessive over a stuffed animal she never plays with.) After about two minutes, I found Isabelle’s Muttsy. I gave it the once-over and brought it upstairs. He will never know, I thought.

And quite frankly, I don’t think he did. But it was also in the way I sold it when I walked into his room. “Look who I found!” I announced.

“Dog!” Ari grinned. He grabbed the dog from me, tucked it under his left arm, and said, “Night-night!”

I have a feeling we’re going to survive the next two weeks.

slice of life

Lost… Again!

After Isabelle brushed her teeth last night, she declared, “I can’t find Teddy!”

I groaned audibly. Anyone who knows us well knows this was a common theme. Teddy’s been left behind at Giant and at a Bat Mitzvah. But just like Knuffle Bunny and Trixie, Teddy and Isabelle always get reunited.

We searched Isabelle’s bedroom. No Teddy.

I encouraged Isabelle to check her play room for Teddy. She did. No Teddy.

I told Isabelle to sweep the upstairs of the house for Teddy. She asked me to come. I refused. I reminded her that Teddy was her responsibility. (After all, she is seven-years-old!) Still… no Teddy.

“I can’t sleep without Teddy,” she whined.

“Yes, yes you can. You lost her in the house two weeks ago and slept just fine without her. Sleep with Schleppy.” I told her.

“But Schleppy isn’t Teddy,” Isabelle retorted.

“You slept with Schleppy every night until you replaced Schleppy with Teddy. So, yes, you can sleep with Schleppy.”

“Fine,” she pouted.

I used my best bear voice to impersonate Schleppy, who gave her a small guilt trip, “Why don’t you love me anymore, Isabelle? You used to snuggle with me every night!”

“That’s you, Mommy, right?” she said.

“This has always been my voice. Are you doubting I’m real?” Schleppy asked Isabelle.

Isabelle smiled and played along, “I know you’re real Schleppy. You can sleep with me tonight.”

“Thank you,” I — I mean — Schleppy replied.

We said our prayers and said good night.


Before Ari woke up this morning, I walked into the laundry room to place some items in the hamper. Right there, on top of the drying rack, this is what I saw:

“Teddy! You’re found… again!” (Yes, I talked to the bear. But you have to understand, if you had to deal with your child losing her own teddy bear in your house, you’d talk to a stuffed bear to express relief too!)

I set Teddy outside of Isabelle’s door since she had already left for school. However, once Ari found her in the hallway, he took it upon himself to give Teddy kisses.

I sent Marc a photo of Ari hugging Teddy. Together, we decided Isabelle would not be happy about Ari playing with Teddy. Therefore, I placed Teddy on her bed so she could reunite with Teddy after school.

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.

rituals · routines · slice of life

There is such a thing as too many stuffed animals!

Cozy? I wouldn't be.
Cozy? I wouldn’t be.

“Only three stuffed animals may sleep in bed with you.”

That’s what I told Isabelle when she got a big girl bed.  And for a good two or three weeks, that rule was followed.  But slowly, slowly, very slowly, more stuffies found their way to her bed for nap time and bed time.  At first it was four.  Then the number crept up to five.  By the time she insisted on bringing six furry creatures to bed, I threw up my hands and remembered the to pick my battles.

But now, NOW, things are getting out of hand.  Now Isabelle lines up her animals just-so every night.  Each of them has a spot on the bed.  Most of the time she lays them face-down since she sleeps on her tummy.  But tonight, she flipped them on to their backs as she methodically laid them across her bed.

“Where are you going to sleep?” I inquired.

She pointed to a spot on the far edge of the bed next to the guard rail.  “Right here,” she replied.

“That’s not enough space for you.”

She gave me a look.  A look that said, yes-it-is, I-know-better, and C’mon-Mom all rolled into one.

I sighed.  At least the other half of the stuffed animals were sitting in a heap on her glider tonight.

After a few careful maneuvers, Isabelle wriggled herself in-between Corduroy and Nugget, while tucking Lynnie bear under her arm.  None of the animals were crushed or laid-upon.  I don’t know how she would want to lay like that, but in order to avoid a toddler tantrum, I buttoned my lip, covered her with a blanket, and kissed her good-night.

A half hour has passed since I tucked her in.  I just checked her on the monitor.  Guess what?  She’s not sleeping yet.  Perhaps there is such a thing as too many stuffed animals!

Head over to on Tuesday for more slices of life.
Head over to on Tuesday for more slices of life.