I see this text come through from my husband as I’m trying to scrape Lady off the floor of Target.
Oh, no, I think. Visions of Man lying at the bottom of the stairs or cut with a knife flash through my head.
The buzzing in my hand brings me to, “I CAN’T FIND TIGER!!!”
OMG, it’s worse…sooooooo much worse than just a broken leg! Tiger is missing!
As I’ve done so many times before I begin to go through my mental checklist of all the places we’ve been and where I could have possibly seen him last.
Lady, by the way, is still on the floor.
Who is Tiger? Tiger is the single most important friend in Man’s life. He’s an Angel Dear blanket head which has become a permanent fixture hanging from his mouth. He was a gift bestowed to us at his birth. I want to lavish this person with love and thanks for providing us with a tool that so easily soothes our Man. Simultaneously I want to punch this person in the face for attaching us, like a ball and chain, to a single object that Man needs daily.
When he’s upset, who does he turn to? Tiger! When he’s tired and wants to lull himself to sleep, who is there? Yes, you guessed it. Tiger. You can literally watch his eyes roll into the back of his head and hear the soft moans of ecstasy as he shoves the first piece of tattered cotton into his mouth and begins sucking away. This smelly, disgusting, ragged piece of cloth is part of him.
Tiger had a really bad week last week.
After the Target incident we were all on edge a bit more. It had been a close call; it took about an hour of searching to finally locate him behind a couch in our loft space. By then Man had worked himself up pretty well so you can imagine the Hoover-like sucking that went down when he was finally located. I’m betting he even closed his eyes and groaned for a bit while letting his mouth get reacquainted with the fibers and nuances of Tiger’s coat.
Later that week, after being on vacation for a while, my cleaning lady returned. She, like all family members and friends, has been schooled in Tiger etiquette: if we find Tiger anywhere in the house it goes directly into my hands or into his bed. Now, I’m not sure if she was just in such a cleaning frenzy after not being here for so long, or, if Lady, in her efforts to “help,” may have done it, but somehow Tiger was thrown away.
That evening, after a long day of playing and fun, Man went in search for his Tiger. He was, of course, nowhere to be found.
The house was pretty clean so a quick cursory glance told me that this was going to be a real search. If the house was clean for the first time in three weeks, it no longer was. I did a thorough dumping of everything in sight, until finally I reached the moment where it was time to dig through the garbage. All worked up and freaked out, I was standing in my garage digging and praying. It was like that scene in Parenthood where Steve Martin and Mary Steemburgen are looking for their kids’ lost retainer while he panics by their side.
It didn’t matter how covered in crap I was—when I saw that thing a little tear of relief rolled down my cheek.
Finally, with Tiger washed and hanging gently from Man’s mouth, he gets into bed for a story with Bubbie. I sneak out of the room and head upstairs. Suddenly, Man is by my side again. “Bubbie doesn’t know the goodnight song, mommy – come sing.” We head downstairs to begin final preparations for night night.
All tucked in, I reach for Tiger.
“Where’s Tiger?” I ask, already in a complete panic. Is this happening, AGAIN? It was at that moment that I completely LOST IT.
We began by pulling apart his room; it wasn’t in, under, or behind the bed. It wasn’t in the sheets, duvet cover, or pillow cases. No drawer held it, and no closet door hid it.
I retraced his steps up the staircase, into the kitchen, and then back down to his room. At one point he handed me his magnifying glass and called me Inspector Gadget. I believe I threw it across the room in frustration; it wasn’t my finest parenting moment.
This thing was gone. I looked in my room, risked waking Lady to check her room, upstairs, downstairs, all over, and it was just gone; I mean it vanished into thin air. Where the F could it have possibly gone on a quick walk from his bedroom to the kitchen and back??? Maybe it finally ran away, so tired of being Man’s plaything? I could think of no logical solution.
It was at this point that I went into Defcon Five. There was shouting and blaming and maybe even some crying. I threw Man in the car and drove him to sleep, not even wanting to deal with the mess that would be getting him to sleep without his precious “Tigey”.
Magically he slept through the night. As if the same magic that had stolen Tiger from us the night before was working again, in the daylight it revealed Tiger, wrapped in a similarly-colored sweater in a pile of clothes sitting at the bottom of my bed. He had obviously looked for me in my room before coming upstairs to the kitchen.
The moral of the story, my friends: put a tracking device on your kids’ “fuzzies,” “loveys,” “suffies,” or whatever it is they have, because trust me; you are equally as attached to that thing as your kid is.