As I write these words my family has been thrown into crisis. A calamity of Biblical proportions has befallen us. There have been recriminations, denials and ultimately tears. We are just starting to formulate contingency plans and make some sense of it all.. The thing that we have been dreading for so long has happened; the day that we prayed would never come has dawned. Yes, my darling daughter’s favourite toy, her companion in life, “Little Tigger” is missing.
Little Tigger is no ordinary toy. He is Meri’s “special toy”. He goes everywhere with her. When she wakes up he is the first thing that she looks for, as she toddles around during the day he is tucked under her arm, she cuddles him to her bosom through the night. Little Tigger is the littlest member of our family. Meri sits him down at meal times and has recently started to put a bib around his neck and feed him (he is particularly fond of pizza); she lies him down in the middle of the morning and places a blanket over him to put him to sleep; she pats him on the head when he has been good and she wags her finger at him and tells him “No!” when he has been naughty (I can’t think who she learnt that from). He is bedraggled and careworn from all this affection and his colour has faded from the monthly machine washes he is put through but Meri loves him. She really loves him.
How did it happen? Well, we have just spent a very enjoyable few days in London. Arun had a clinic at Great Ormond Street and so we decided to make a long weekend of it. So, on Wednesday afternoon, I packed the kids up into our car and we all went down to London to stay in our flat. We had a lovely time and did some of the things that London does so well. We went to the British Museum to look at the Treasures of Heaven exhibition. Meri’s behaviour in the exhibition marked her out as anything but a treasure and heavenly (but that may well be the subject of a future blog). We bumbled around the boutique shops of Upper Street and I managed to get out for a couple of lovely meals at very nice Islington restaurants.
We were on the M1 this Sunday morning on the way back to our house in Bedford when we realised we had a problem. Clare uttered the now infamous words, “Where is Little Tigger?”
With a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach I realised that Meri had not had him when I had put her in the car. I also knew that I had not packed him with the other toys because she was still playing with him when I had done the packing. Little Tigger was missing. He was either in the flat or in the car park of the block of flats. We didn’t know which.
We are going through the usual cycle of grief. It started with Denial (“I probably picked him up and packed him with the travel cot by mistake), moved to Anger (“You were the one that did the packing!” and “you’re the one that checked the flat!”), switched to bargaining (“I’ll never let him out of my sight again if we find him”), developed into depression (“We’ll never cope without him”) and finally acceptance (“It was bound to happen sometime”).
However, we have not abandoned all hope. I have called a couple of friends who live in the same block of flats to see if they can have a look for him and Clare is planning a mad rescue dash tomorrow morning before she goes into work. I have started to put a new Little Tigger toy through the wash in the hope that I can get the imposter’s colour to fade enough to fool Meri that it is her Little Tigger but I don’t hold out much hope of this plan being successful. I am considering approaching the media to put out a tearful appeal for his return and Clare is working her contacts to see if we can mobilise the SAS.
My beautiful daughter is asleep right now. If we have lost Little Tigger I am not sure I will ever be able to look her in the eye again. I may have to resign my position as Dadtalk blogger because clearly I will have failed my children in the most irresponsible way.
We await news with baited breath. So, if you live in the Islington area of London and see a sad looking faded orange cuddly tiger with chewed ears and scraggly tail please try and tempt him over with some ham and pineapple pizza and give me a call. My daughter’s happiness depends on it.