Once I parked the car in the carpool line at Joe’s school, I started to look through Charlie’s school bag. “Oh Charlie! This is adorable!” I said, while holding up the sweetest little, tattered and well-loved doll.
“That’s not mine.” Charlie said. “That’s Sarah’s doll. She must have put it in my bag by accident. She needs that doll. She is always upset in the morning, and the doll helps her.”
“Was Sarah already gone, when I picked you up at school?” I asked.
“Yes.” Charlie replied.
I envisioned a poor little girl, getting home and finding out she left her baby doll at school. I wondered how she would face the night, and I wondered how her parents would face the night. My own experience taught me the night would not be a good one for Sarah or her parents.
Many years ago, Rob and I brought home our first child. Okay, so only 6yrs have passed since we brought Joe home, but it feels more like 10yrs – at least the first three weeks did.
Joe was a crier. He didn’t battle colic, he just battled being happy. At the risk of sharing too much information I tell you, if Joe was not attached to me and nursing, he was crying. If he fell asleep while nursing, he would wake up and cry the instant I tried to put him down. The kid didn’t see his crib until he was 16yrs old.
Fine, I’m exaggerating. Joe was probably 6 months old before he slept in his crib for the first time. Dazed and confused I was pregnant again before he was 10months old, but that fact is not important right now.
I was not a fan of pacifiers. The instant my grandparents held Joe in the hospital, my mother-in-law stuck a pacifier in his mouth, and I immediately removed it from his mouth. Well, immediately in the sense that I had to remove all the IVs, monitor lines, and pull myself up to a standing position while heavily drugged. I suppose it was more like 10 minutes by the time I got to Joe and snatched the pacifier out of his mouth.
Try though I did, I was unable to keep the pacifier away from Joe. The nurses used the pacifier, the grandparents used the pacifier, even my own husband used the pacifier … and then he let Joe have it.
Long story short, in addition to bringing Joe home from the hospital, we brought home one of the pacifiers. I was not proud, and I was going to try and not use it; however, that pacifier became a security blanket for my husband and me. When I took a break from feeding Joe, the pacifier took my place. All was well, at least for the first few days.
Then, one night, we lost the pacifier.
Joe was in tears, Rob was in tears, and I was in tears, as we stumbled around the house at 1am, looking for that frickin’ frackin’ pacifier. Rob called the hospital, asking if we could make the 25 mile drive to pick up a pacifier from the maternity ward. We’d bring cash – lots of cash. Seriously, he did call, he did ask, and dang blast it – they said no.
I called back and asked the nurse to read the name on the pacifier, then I went to the internet – at 2:30 in the morning – frantically looking to see if I could find this little latex wonder.
“Eureka!” I exclaimed. “I found it! And they have next day delivery!!”
Fast forward eight months: Joe wants nothing to do with the pacifier. He was done with the pacifier before he was three months old. He moved on to better things – snugglier things – Joe moved on to Giraffey. I’ve written about Giraffey before today. And, as I type, my 6yr old son is in bed with Giraffey.
One night, we left Giraffey at Grandma’s house. Joe was not amused. Rob and I flashed back to the night without the pacifier. Before he could call Grandma, the phone rang. It was Grandma; she had Giraffey, and she was going to meet us half way. Grandma understood. She got it.
When I found the tattered baby doll in Charlie’s bag, I understood. I got it.
When I received an email from Sarah’s Mom, sent to everyone in Sarah’s class, I understood. I got it.
When I phoned Sarah’s Mom and told her we had it, and she told me that she and her husband checked the dumpster behind the school make sure it wasn’t thrown away, I understood. I got it.
When my husband got in the car to take the tattered and well-loved baby doll back to Sarah tonight, he understood. He got it.
We are parents. We get it.